Brand ambassadors are people with a special knowledge or expertise about something who enjoy products and then recommend them to their communities. They are a powerful tool in the marketing tool box and can sometimes yield great power with their endorsements. They are creative and have larger followings across social media platforms and websites.
Leighana is a brand ambassador who writes about cannabis products. Her Instagram feeds (yes multiple) feature fun and creative images of both products and of the writer herself. She's written for Her(B) Life for the past few months and covers everything from dabbing to date night and takes inspiration from her work in an Oregon dispensary. We wanted to find out what its like to build a following and become a brand ambassador for cannabis brands.
What does it mean to be a brand ambassador?
To be a brand ambassador is to help put a brand’s name out in the world and to let people know about that company or product; but to me, being a brand ambassador is more than that, I intend to be more that. I will only support companies I truly believe in and I want my audience to know that. I will always be truthful and honest with people, which is why I have and will only work with companies I believe in. I feel this is an important trait in today’s cannabis legalization. People want honest information and answers, I want to help supply them with those answers.
How did you get into it?
It was actually fairly recently that I became a brand ambassador. I have been working in a dispensary for about two years now, where I am currently the Assistant Manager, so I very obviously started trying all the new products, familiarizing myself with what was on the market. After about a year and a half of ‘researching the market’ and attending various cannabis events and science talks, I decided to start blogging and sharing what I’ve learned with people who wanted to know about cannabis. For a very long time and even still a lot of my work has been free or for trade. I photograph and support the brands I do because I believe wholeheartedly in their products and them.
You write for HerB Life, who else do you write for and what other topics do you cover?
I write for another blog/store called Illegal Tendr. They’re a dope blog that covers topics from music culture to 70s psychedelia and focuses on creating content for the growth of society. I’ve written a piece about festivals that you can find on their blog, and we are also collaborating on some juicy stuff that will be released soon! I also have a growing collection of articles I’ve written on the blog I created, Cannablissed Collective.
I have mainly written cannabis articles and a festival preparation article but I am looking to expand my style to include other topics like fashion, lifestyle, mental health, and whatever else I am moved and inspired by.
What is it about cannabis you like to write about and why?
I just love cannabis. I’ve spent and still spend a lot of time researching cannabis, going to science pubs, cannabis events, and trying a lot of new products, I am very fortunate to have been able to obtain the knowledge I have and I want to share it with people. I’ve always loved writing, so writing about cannabis was perfect. I love to write about anything I know with certainty, I will not write something if I don’t know it to be 100% true. There are already too many contradicting statements online and I don’t need to add to the uncertainty.
Do you ever get pushback from people in your life for working in the cannabis industry?
Yes, unfortunately, not so much at all where I live, I’ve never dealt with someone belittling me for cannabis here in Oregon, but I do still have family members with very outdated looks on cannabis and they cannot be reasoned with, which is upsetting, but there are much worse things.
What has it been like transitioning with an Oregon dispensary from medical to recreational?
Difficult, the market saw a huge lack of product once we switched from medical to recreational. Slowly but surely companies are coming back online and getting back into the dispensaries, but at this point, it seems there’s more dispensaries than there are cannabis products in the state, minus flower. There’s an excess of flower. We also saw extract prices skyrocket after the market switched, however that’s arguable because the prices went up after extracts were required to get tested for pesticides which I personally am in support of and would rather pay more money to know I’m getting pesticide free dabs.
To say the least, it’s a bit messy right now, but I have faith that Oregon will figure it out. Any state that starts to regulate a substance that is still considered a schedule 1 drug is definitely going to have its hiccups along the way.
What is your favorite part about cannabis?
The terpenes! I love the different profiles each strain has. My favorite thing to do is try different strains and decipher what terpenes are in them. I have become very fond of them which has allowed me to dial in what scents and tastes I prefer. Limonene, for instance, is my all time favorite terpene.
Any brands or companies you’d like to shout out to?
Most definitely! Obviously, I want to shout out to the HerB Life, you were the first blog I started writing for and hold a very near and dear place in my heart.
Kandy Pens. They’re a dope vaporizer brand with vape pens for dabs, flower vaporizers, even build your own cartridge supplies. I am obsessed with their company because out of all the vaporizers I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot, theirs was the best and the highest quality. They also didn’t have break the bank prices which I could really appreciate.
You can use coupon code, LEIGHANA25 for 25% off their products today!
I’d also love to give a shoutout to Swallow.la, they’re a new online edible directory that I am helping with. If you love edibles and have a hard time finding good ones, or maybe you have a food allergy, this site is for you! It’s got a wonderful search system that allows you to pick and choose different things you are looking for, like vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and so much more! It’s available in California now but we’re working to get Oregon and other states up soon!
Your Instagram feed is so good. Who takes the pictures? How do you plan your shoots and where do you get your ideas?
Thank you! The pictures are a combination of different photographers. All the product photos I take, and you can find most of those on my blog’s instagram, @cannablissedco. There isn’t any one person who take pictures, my boyfriend takes a lot of them actually, but I recently did a shoot with an amazing photographer Mariah (@muh_riah). She was so fun to work with and we got some really amazing content! I’m looking forward to releasing it soon and shooting with that lovely lady more!
For most of my product photography, the shoots don’t take a super long time to plan, I just choose what products I’m photographing that day, then I just get all my supplies ready and go to town. For some of my more creative shoots, I don’t plan them until the idea has come to me. I have found it’s better to let things naturally inspire you, we are women, we eb and flow. If I were to work on content all the time regardless of inspiration I wouldn’t have quality content.
What is the number one tip you have for anyone wanting to become a BA?
Don’t expect to make a bunch of money doing this and don’t expect to blow up online right away. There are a lot of people out there who want to be brand ambassadors, it’s not an easy thing to do. Just be patient and remember to have fun! That’s why I only go with products I actually love, because then I don’t feel bad when I don’t get paid because I had fun shooting with the product and trying the product.