33 minutes | Nov 18th 2020

Jeffrey Radway Uses the End of Prohibition to Launch Michigan’s Largest Vertically Integrated Cannabis Company 

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Welcome to another episode of Action & Ambition with your host, Andrew Medal. Today’s guest is Jeff Radway.

Jeff Radway is the CEO and co-founder of SKYMINT Brands. (Formerly Green Peak Innovations). Before launching Michigan’s largest vertically integrated cannabis company, Radway built and sold J. America, one of the largest privately-owned licensed apparel companies in the U.S.

You’re going to love this episode. Let’s get to it!

Were the exits that Jeff had previously change anything for him in his life? (1:37)

  • Jeff considers his first exit to have been life-changing. 
  • When Jeff was in high school, he started a landscaping and lawn keeping business, and he sold it to his partner to pay for college. 
  • He says he was too young to realize back then how much work he had put into that business and didn’t translate the same work ethic in College. 
  • He screwed around through most of college and blew all of the money he had earned on paying for it.
  • His second exit taught him a valuable lesson as he had exited with shares. The company ended up filing for bankruptcy, so he barely received any of the earnout/payouts. 
  • At the time, he thought his career was made, and his life was over. 
  • Sometimes the things that hurt you the most end up teaching you the most. So by his third exit, which was the most recent in 2016, Jeff was relatively prepared for the best and the worst.
  • The third turned out successful, which was also life-changing because Jeff and his wife were building a house in the Caribbean, and he was ready to retire. 
  • He lasted about 24 hours in retirement before starting Green Peak Innovations; now, SKYMINT Brands. 

What path got Jeff into the Cannabis Space? (3:32) 

  • Jeff was in the apparel industry for almost 30 years, and so from 92 to 2016, Jeff got up every day and competed with Nike.
  • It sounds a lot more glamorous than it was because Nike is terrific at everything, from distribution to branding to design and import. 
  • The business Jeff was in had to figure out how to be different and meaningful to retailers and make more margin for the retailers because ultimately, Nike was Nike. 
  •  Despite their large competitor, Jeff’s business did well and a much-needed resource for retailers. 
  • And so after almost 30 years, Jeff told his wife that he was ready to be bored for a couple of years. 
  • However, Jeff went to a Trade Show in Las Vegas. And as he was standing in Las Vegas and waiting for his Uber driver who got lost, Jeff thought Ubers have to be better. 
  • They have to deliver dry cleaning. They should provide food, and then Jeff thought, hey, they should provide Cannabis. 
  • Jeff’s wife was in the health care industry, and she had been talking about CBD and Cannabis lately, although Jeff himself knew nothing about it. 
  • Jeff messaged his much younger Nephew, a government affairs expert, and medical healthcare lobbyist, and said, why doesn’t an Uber deliver weed? Thinking he was making a joke. 
  • Jeff’s nephew texted him back, saying it was becoming legal in Michigan and that he was helping put together the bill and legislation, we will be passing the bill. I could get you into contact with the technology companies if Jeff were serious about it. 
  • Jeff quickly fired off questions at his Nephew to get all of the information. He was too excited as he realized the possibilities of what he had just thought of and discovered. 
  • It was funny because Jeff was at the trade show in Las Vegas to ‘hand over the keys’ of the business he was currently in and retired with his wife to the Caribbean. 
  • And so Jeff’s nephew got him into contact with everyone he needed to know and helped him get everything he needed to get started. 

Does Jeff have any tips when it comes to building and scaling a company? (20:32)

  • Jeff joked that the podcast name says it all, Action and Ambition. 
  • You have to take action, and it’s not always going to be the right action. 
  • Someone told Jeff once, you fire the gun, and then you steer the bullet, and he thought that was a very accurate analogy. 
  • There isn’t time to be perfect, but you never lose sight of where you want to go, what the visions and goals are. 
  • In Jeff’s case, they started hiring their executive team from the beginning, gathering an elite group of people with fantastic experience, and that helped SKYMINT grow so fast. 
  • High growth requires high risk, and there is a certain amount of insanity, pain, and fun that goes along with it. 
  • Jeff believes in systems over people, but in this case, they had to build out manufacturing and science, government affairs, legal, merchandising, product, marketing, and retail operations. 

SKYMINT

SKYMINT are purveyors of premium crafted cannabis. They have developed a portfolio of the finest cannabis brands available for health, healing, or just getting high on life. Whether you want to get off of pain meds, restore your appetite, relax into a more restful sleep, or unlock your higher self, SKYMINT has the products you want and need to enjoy the absolute best cannabis experience. 

Resources

Connect with Jeff: LinkedIn

SKYMINT: Website

Connect with Andrew: LinkedIn

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