Most retirees would rather take it easy and spend the rest of their days being men and women of leisure. But for Deb Baker and Barb Diner, retirement was an opportunity for them to go into a business that’s mostly dominated by younger men.
According to the New York Times, Baker, a retired high school teacher, and Diner, a former marketing executive, have found retirement life to be quite dull, so the Denver-based duo thought about a venture that they could both pursue which would help supplement their income.
Three years ago, the two found that there were no child-resistant marijuana containers that would comply with Colorado’s regulation. Diner told Forbes that back then, it was normal for a Colorado dispensary to “throw some weed in a baggie and send it out the door.” But the new mandate requires making the marijuana packaging child-resistant, opaque, and bearing a warning. Thus, Higher Standard Packaging was born.
Diner and Baker’s first batch of products consisted of plain white canisters in various sizes with child-resistant caps. The two marketed their products by calling over a hundred businesses mostly in the Denver area, and initially, the ladies were met with some skepticism when they personally visited cannabis sellers.
Baker, 62, and Diner, 56, said that marijuana sellers used to look at them with suspicion when they entered the store. But eventually, they managed to gain their trust, with Diner saying, “We would swear a bit and people would relax.”
Over time, the business flourished and Higher Standard Packaging started selling other items within the first six months of operation. The company now sells tubes, child-resistant caps, and single-serving barrier bags.
The entrepreneurs recalled the time when they received their first payment from a cannabis dispensary, which was a total of $5,400.
“[The payment] was all in small bills and the whole thing reeked of pot,” they recalled. Afraid to deposit it in the bank lest they arouse suspicion, the pair put the money in Baker’s clothes dryer and tumbled it with a few Febreeze sheets to get the marijuana smell out of the bills.
“We literally laundered the money,” Baker said, “and ended up with cold hard cash.”
On their website, the duo explained their reasons for getting into the marijuana business, with Diner saying that what led her was “a desire for doing something completely different and out of my ‘comfort’ zone.”
As for Baker, she said that her 20-something son and 60-something husband are both “amused” and “supportive” of her endeavor.
“I continue to learn something new every day,” she said.
For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on the challenges of running a weed business, as told by a Bud and Breakfast owner.