Spotlight Series: Tweedledoob
If you've spent any time at all on Instagram looking at cannabis feeds you likely have come across Tweedledoob. The Canadian cannabis photographer and social media consultant has built a personal brand that is trusted and respected throughout the global cannabis community.
She is a writer, a product designer (check out her online shop featuring collaborations with Rodger Beck) and a photographer who has an Instagram feed featuring many other well known creatives in the space whom she collaborates with and supports (yay for collaboration over competition!)
Today we are very pleased to introduce you to Marly AKA Tweedledoob.
How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
I had already used cannabis for over 10 years when I moved to Toronto in 2012 to go to the UofT to study Philosophy and Buddhism. I quickly discovered the city’s cannabis lounges - a safe social space to bring & consume your own cannabis - I was instantly hooked! I got a job at a lounge shortly after and over 4+ years became part of a community that I previously didn’t know existed! A few years in, my friend @SpliffsMackenzie got a job at the same lounge - she already had about 10k followers on instagram and convinced me to start an account. I was just learning to use my camera manually (thanks, YouTube!) and within a year my instagram started to take off. I started getting photography jobs for local cannabis companies and with steady growth on Instagram I started doing paid promotion & social media consulting for cannabis companies. It’s been a wild ride - I never would have expected my passion for cannabis to get me where I am today but I couldn’t be happier with where I’ve found myself!
Tell us a little bit about your product or service
Right now I am dividing my time between a lot of things! I still do product and event photography, but as of lately consulting is taking over. I also have a shop on my website with a bunch of tweedledoob merch which I’m looking to continue expanding, a gallery of photo collections, plus a general blog and new one specifically about mental health. It’s a topic that has personally affected me and too many people I know, so I’m passionate about helping where I can.
What time does your day typically start and what does a normal day look like to you?
The beautiful thing about full-time freelancing is that no two days are the same! I’m not naturally a morning-person, but I try to get up early and get my day started on a positive note. I like to get my emails and administrative tasks done first thing, then I celebrate the new day with a sativa joint and coffee! From there it can be any combination of writing, product or event photography, meeting with clients, working on my personal brand - between consulting, retail, blogging, photography, and social media stuff I keep pretty busy! I love juggling several projects and being able to make my own schedule but it has definitely been a learning experience full of challenges! I wrote a bit about this journey on my latest blog post, depression and procrastination have definitely played their respective roles in learning to effectively manage my time, but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has made a huge difference! Being excited and loving what I do keeps me going!
What is your vision for your company going forward?
This should be a simple question, but for me it’s somewhat complex / I’m still figuring it out! My broadest goal is to help normalize cannabis and reduce the suffering of my fellow humans - I’m dedicated to doing that in any way I can. How exactly I’m going to do it in the future is uncertain, I just have to keep plugging away at it! I will always love taking pictures, but it’s not my goal to do it full time, it is more a way of interacting with and capturing the world and sharing my experiences. Because everything has evolved organically, I didn’t ever set out with a business plan, it just kind of happened and continues to evolve! I’m still figuring out my place in the industry, and because I am essentially a “personal brand” what my future holds is largely dependant on my own personal development.
What would an ideal post prohibition society look like to you?
Every human should have equal and fair access to cannabis, period. Amnesty needs to be given to everyone with possession charges, and in some cases I believe trafficking charges as well. Ideally there will be no more stigma surrounding cannabis use, whether medically or recreationally - although that will take the longest. Laws can be changed with the signing of a document, but perceptions and stereotypes live deep within the human psyche. Those with the most deeply ingrained biases are often the least willing to change their opinions, even when presented with valid evidence. All we can do is continue to be loud & proud cannabis users and demonstrate that we are not only “not bad” for society, we are actually an asset!
What was your first experience with cannabis like?
It was so much fun! I had grown up thinking that all drugs were bad and had no interest in trying cannabis until half way through high school. I had seen my friends get high enough that I realized it was more benign than I had been taught. The only thing I remember was laughing a lot and reminiscing about McDonald’s pizza. We became so fixated on figuring out why they stopped making them that we went through the phone book (remember those?!) and called several McDonalds until we had a satisfying answer. So silly but such a classic cannabis experience! It wasn’t for a few years that I got into it daily, and a few more years until I really realized the mental and physical health benefits!
Tell us about some of the challenges you face working in the cannabis industry
First, I have to say that I feel blessed to be who and where I am. I know I am privileged to live as an educated white woman in a cannabis-friendly city in a country that is about to legalize recreational cannabis! Because of all this, I know I face less challenges than many canna-warriors around the world. Right now, less than 3 months from legalization and the subsequent corporatization of the industry, my biggest challenge is adapting to the big-business world. It’s important to me that I stay true to myself and my message, but in order to stay relevant and really scale up, I know I need to learn to navigate the new corporate industry and become comfortable in the space. It’s kind of daunting, but I’m confident that it will all work itself out if I just keep pushing forward & surrounding myself with people who challenge & support me.
What are some solutions you've found?
Collaboration! I’ve been lucky enough to connect with some wise and experienced people who continue to help me navigate the emerging legal industry. I feel like there’s this resentment among a sector of the community who feel like the corporatization of the industry is inherently bad so they are actively and vocally resisting all big-business. But I think that’s short sighted. Not all corporations are the same and necessarily evil & it’s happening whether they like it or not; I think it’s all about finding people whose values you align with and figuring out how you can work together. Nobody can do this alone, but together we can help bring cannabis to the mainstream and that is so incredibly exciting to me!
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about cannabis?
I know most consumers know this, but I wish the general public knew that EVERY HUMAN has an endocannabinoid system and that it is a key factor in regulating homeostasis. I can’t wait for doctors and other healthcare professionals become fully educated on cannabis to the point where they are comfortable educating people on it’s benefits. At risk of sounding like a snake-oil salesman, I truly believe there is a way for cannabis to improve every human's life at some point - not that everyone should smoke it, but everyone inevitably deals with aches & pains, burns, and other skin conditions that are wonderfully healed by topical cannabis.. plus, there are the many wonders of CBD!
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your product or service?
Because I do so many things it’s hard to pick one, so most generally, I think I’ve learned that as a personal brand, integrity & authenticity are vitally important. Without the earned trust of my followers, my value & relevancy go down significantly. This is why I am selective about what I share & promote - I’m careful to only talk about brands I know, love, & trust.
If you could go back in time and do it all over again, what (if anything) would you do differently?
Nothing! If any one thing was different I may not be where I am today. As cheesy as it sounds, I have always followed my heart. At times I’ve been stressed and depressed about not knowing what I want to do with my life, but in just doing what felt right at the time I stumbled into the cannabis community and finally found my place and my people & I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
What is your favorite way to consume cannabis?
I’m an avid joint smoker! I know combustion is not the healthiest method, but it is by far my favorite.
Concentrate or flower? Why?
I prefer flower most of the time but I do enjoy concentrates and edibles occasionally as well, mostly when I’m in pain or need to sleep.
Do you think cannabis legalization will change the world for the better? Why?
Of course! I’m so excited to see all of the beautiful ways that cannabis will improve the world. The ways are endless! Recreationally it is a far safer alternative to alcohol and other drugs, and even if you’re not using it for medical benefits, you still receive them! What a gift! Socially it is far less destructive as well - people do not get high and fight like they do when they are drinking, and as we have seen in legal states alcohol and opioid use are down, overdoses and suicides are down, and other things like thefts and car accidents are down! ...Plus there’s all the tax money! There are still many nay-sayers now, but I think in a few years time once all the statistics are in here in Canada they will change their tune.
What advice would you offer to another woman who is looking to get into the industry?
DO IT! If you are passionate about cannabis, that’s more than enough to get started. The industry is blossoming and there are an increasing number of opportunities to get involved. If you have a specific idea of what you want to do, dream big then work backwards and break down your goals into small, actionable tasks to do every day until you get there. If you’re like me and know you want to be part of it but still don’t know exactly where you fit it, assess your skills, strengths, and what you love doing and work with what you’ve got! The industry needs all types of people so use your experiences in any way you can to get your foot in the door in any way you can and see what happens!
Connect with Tweedledoob online
Instagram Handle: @tweedledoob
Twitter Handle: @tweedledoob
Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/tweedledoob/