“Grow with trust” is the motto of Erven, a data and technology company recently launched to help cannabis brands and retailers create sustainable growth through actionable insights. Founded by culture curator and entrepreneur Solonje Burnett, founder of Weed Auntie, and revenue operations expert/information architect Angela Bacon, Erven is a unique enterprise created with the pillars of ownership, community, trust and transparency in mind. Even the name inspires anything and everything you want it to be - plants (herb or erva), the public good (erven can mean “to serve” or “to inherit”), and city living (“urban”).
What Is Erven? Data And Technology For Cannabis Brands And Retailers
On October 25th, Burnett and Bacon introduced their brand in a special event at Ludlow House on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The happy hour not only marked a welcome for a dynamic new company into the space, but also featured the convergence of cannabis industry experts and brand representatives working in the harmony that Erven itself embodies. Friends and powerhouse players such as Meryl Montgomery of Barbari, Jessica Gonzalez of Rudick Law Group, Mary Pryor of Sheba Baby and Coss Marte of CONBUD were in attendance. Amid waves of good energy, powerful intention-setting and breathwork, and grapefruit paloma mocktails from oHHo, an excited throng gathered to experience a bit of the most high-tech communal bonding ceremony that New York has yet offered.
A standout of the evening was the “high seat” round of conversations, envisioned by Burnett and moderated by Bacon with leaders in East Coast businesses. Jesse Wexler of Cova Software, Nicola Stephenson of oHHo, Mike Conway of Union Square Travel Agency, and Anne Forkutza of Dutchie explored topics of inventory management, point-of-sale systems, analytics, commerce, and menu management.
Erven Founders Solonje Burnett And Angela Bacon On Building A Collaborative Data Platform For Cannabis
Following the launch, Honeysuckle caught up with Erven’s founders to learn more about how this collaborative data platform will meet the demands that cannabis operators need, including increased security and greater communication possibilities.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: What inspired you to create Erven?
SOLONJE BURNETT: Erven was created through deep listening. When Angela and I met in December of 2021 at NCIA [the National Cannabis Industry Association conference] in San Francisco, she was already developing a consumer facing product that would help people find the medicine they needed at a discounted price. I was deeply impressed by her brilliant mind and we immediately knew that we’d collaborate on something. After a few months, I began introducing her to the community I’ve cultivated in the cannabis industry over the past 5-plus years on discovery calls. We kept hearing from brands that their biggest issue was communication. Silos and bottlenecks, unanswered emails and overwhelmed inventory managers. Not being able to get the data they needed to take the action necessary to grow their babies to their fullest potential. We soon pivoted the product and name, and have been working on Erven ever since.
ANGELA BACON: Erven started as a project to fill a gap in cannabis advertising, by helping retailers publish promotions directly to verified users. The goal was to create something that helped cannabis companies better communicate with customers. But, after digging deeper with cannabis brands and retailers, we realized there was a much deeper issue of communication between brands and retailers, that subsequently led to product and experience gaps for customers. So we pivoted, and built a platform that helps retailers securely communicate product and performance data with brands. By focusing on closing the communication gap between retailers and brands, beginning with product data, we can enable these companies to reduce operational overhead, decrease missed revenue opportunities, and ensure the right products are reaching the right customers.
What does collaborative growth mean to you in terms of Erven's mission for the cannabis industry? What does that vision look like?
BURNETT: Holistic integration. Erven aims to foster togetherness by addressing the industry’s systemic ineffective communication, as well as lack of trust and transparency in a space that is founded on both secrecy and insecurity. We want everyone to win as a unifying agent. We understand that collaboration enables growth. As a federally illegal nascent industry, we need to do better and work differently.
How should New Yorkers expect AI and emerging tech to be shaping their cannabis experiences?
BACON: As with other industries, I believe we can expect AI to have an influence on every part of the cannabis supply chain. From helping producers and distributors forecast product and inventory needs, to assisting customers in choosing the right products, AI will shape how we interact with cannabis. Erven is currently working on ways to leverage AI to enable businesses to anticipate inventory needs, customer preferences by segments, and execute more accurate revenue forecasts. As businesses, the expanded capabilities of AI present us the opportunity to scale in ways that have not previously been explored, especially by such a nascent industry.
What were your favorite parts of the Erven launch event?
BURNETT: I immediately think of two fave moments from our launch event. They are essentially the bookends of the experience. The first was the top five minutes of the program where I had the privilege to ground those who gathered with us at Ludlow House in a meditative breathwork practice focused on interconnectivity and openness. The second was once everyone left, Angela and I had a celebratory dance moment in the restroom to Rich Baby Daddy - and one of the employees walked in on us twerking. Nothing but joyous giggly goodness.
BACON: I really enjoyed moderating the panel with our guests. It’s been a while since I’ve spoken publicly, and so I really enjoyed engaging with the speakers and the audience and, at times, having an opportunity to inject a little humor into what we were discussing. Also, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know so many New York operators. Everyone is so open and excited about what we’re doing.
Which words of wisdom from the speakers stood out to you?
BURNETT: Regarding words of wisdom, oHHo Co-Founder Nicola Stephenson said that you can’t live and die by data alone. As a marketer and brand builder, she put an emphasis on also trusting your gut when developing products. I agree and believe that the blend of technology and human intuition is necessary in all facets of brand building.
How can those in the cannabis industry get started with Erven?
BACON: Erven integrates directly with the retailer POS, and communicates the data securely via API to brands through our portal. Getting started as a retailer or brand is really easy. Our implementation team handles the integration and product onboarding for retailers, and fully enable brands with product onboarding and training. To get started, retailers and brands can schedule a demo and discovery session with us at our team link.
For more about Erven, visit erven.ai.