We sat down with Candice Billy, Sales and Marketing Representative at Mountaintop Extracts, for a talk about the relationships she’s built in the cannabis industry
The Rolling Paper: How did you get started in the cannabis industry?
Billy: I started smoking as a young adult, and I really wanted to get into making edibles. I’ve always loved baking. At the time, everyone was making a lot of buttery stuff, and I wanted to get more into the art of it and do sugar work. So I started making candy puffs and started making cotton candies. And it inspired me to go into culinary school.
I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale for pastry, and I spent about 15 years doing pastry chef stuff and just making fun things on the side.
So I decided to start looking for jobs in the cannabis industry right before it went recreational. Mountaintop was a great start. They’re wonderful people, and it’s really great company to work for. I started out making edibles in their kitchen, doing all of their infusions—everything from the gummies to lollipops to hard candy Tiki juice, their Wonder Bear salve and their tinctures. I had a blast doing all of that.
I helped scale up into recreational. There was immediate demand for pop-ups and events, and all of a sudden, Mountaintop needed a face.
So the company put together a team. We started creating relationships and getting out there. It’s been a whirlwind. I love the connections and the relationship-building. I think it’s awesome to see more people coming out of the shadows. Cannabis is very much a controlled substance still. So it is nice to make those connections with people that don’t feel like they’ve ever been able to access cannabis or talk about it, or they don’t know what they’re looking for. There’s a whole connection that’s created just in empowering them to understand what they want to consume.
What advice would you give to women looking to get started in the industry?
Go with your gut. It’s just the beginning. In the future, we’re all going to look back and say, “Remember what it was like when it was first starting out and we didn't know how to label anything or what the approach was to anything?” I think right now there’s so much opportunity to join a company or to start your own. It’s very difficult, but now is the time to do that.
Also: Make connections because collaborating is important in this industry. It’s not a good thing to constantly be competing. It’s really important that we all work together.
Even established companies like Mountaintop Extracts still go through the same struggles that everyone else has. At the end of the day, we’re all at the mercy of the federal government. That’s really the big struggle here. It takes a lot of heart for us to continue doing what we do every day.
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