CEO Colin McIntosh Talks Sheets, Giggles, & Cannabis!

Sheets & Giggles
Colin McIntosh is a former employee of Bridgewater Associates (one of the top American investment management firms), and currently the Colorado-based CEO/Founder of Sheets & Giggles, one of the highest crowd-funding bed sheet companies that are making the “bedroom fun again”. While Colin’s business keeps on heading upwards, we wanted to pick his brain about living in the now-legalized cannabis state of Colorado and how that is relating to the economy and entrepreneurship overall.
 
1. When were you first introduced to all things cannabis?
  • When I moved to Seattle in Feb. 2014, it had just been legalized in Washington state. I remember the first time I walked into a cannabis shop to check it out; I thought a police officer was going to pop out from behind the counter and scream, “GOTCHA!” Having lived in Seattle and Denver for the last 4.5 years, I honestly barely remember what it’s like to live in a non-legal state (I grew up in Florida, where possession can still ruin your life).
2. Having your company Sheets & Giggles based in Colorado you have seen first hand what the new laws bring forth to the economy. What major changes in your region have you seen/experienced?
  • Nearly everything I see, I love. Tens of thousands of new jobs created; drug dealers effectively put out of business; large increases in tax dollars available to the school system (tax money from cannabis outstrips tax dollars raised from alcohol in CO); new ancillary industries popping up (packaging, marketing, events, tourism). On top of that, I use medical cannabis for my herniated C4/C5 disc, which causes me terrible chronic pain from inflammation. Topical CBD/THC salves have been the best anti-inflammatories I’ve ever used; I used to get an epidural injection once every 6 months into my vertebrae, and I just hit 12 months without one thanks to CBD. Perhaps most importantly, (almost) nobody gets arrested and put in a literal cage anymore for possession of a plant, and police and the judicial system in CO can spend their time and limited resources on more important items. Tangentially, I think it also leads to better police-community relations.
3. Are your products “smell resistant” to people who may smoke in bed, or at least safe against some residues?
  • Haha, unfortunately, we haven’t tested this exact scenario yet. Give me a few hours and I’ll get back to you. (Seriously though, don’t smoke in bed – super dangerous.)
4. Have you started to trade or invest in pot-related stocks? If so, which?
  • I did a few years ago, but I’m terrible at picking stocks. It takes a lot of time and scrutiny to pick the right ones, and I don’t feel like adding another stressor to my life and keeping an eye on market swings. I have a few still in my portfolio, but I can’t remember which ones; I’d recommend complementary industries with innovative tech that can be widely applied like store management software, packaging, growing technology, etc.
5. As an entrepreneur, why did you decide to create your products and base yourself in Colorado?
  • Colorado is an extremely entrepreneurial, collaborative environment. It’s less cutthroat than somewhere like the Valley or NYC; everyone has a “give first” mentality that results in great mentorship and information sharing across companies in the region. Everyone wants to see each other succeed, and I love that about CO.
6. Will you be expanding ever in the future to include hemp materials in your products?
  • Sheets & Giggles initially did look at using hemp to make bed sheets, and the answer is probably not, but you never know. Our lyocell sheets are made from the cellulose found in eucalyptus bark, and they’re insanely smooth and breathable on top of being sustainable. You could technically make cellulosic fabric out of hemp as well, but the feel of the fabric would be different (not as suitable for sheets). In this industry, feel is everything, and it would be great if one day we could figure it out. We’re actively looking at hemp for our packaging and future apparel lines, however.
7. Any advice to others wanting to start their own company?
  • I usually harp on three main pieces of advice:
  1. Before anything else, build a profitable business model and go-to-market strategy that you strongly feel makes sense. Then, build your product around that model and strategy. Do not do it the other way around, which is how most companies get founded: people spend time and money building a “thing” and then try to build a business around it, only to find out the “thing” doesn’t have market demand, sustainable margins, a large enough audience, etc.
  2. Test your idea first with some Facebook ads aimed at target demographics. Build a simple landing page that describes the product with a goal of capturing emails (maybe spend $1 – 5k getting a website set up, doing some photography, and running some ads). See if you convert emails for pre-launch leads, and at what rate and cost are you converting leads. If you don’t hit your goals, find out what’s wrong. It’s better to kill a business idea fast or to tweak it so it works than to go all-in and launch a product without proof that the market wants it. More data is always better.
  3. Don’t overextend yourself and chase every channel. It’s easy to lose sight of your channel strategy when new partners come in and dangle large POs (you’ll always be hungry for cash and wins to put on the board), but you need to stay focused and hone in deep on your best 1-2 channels at first. There’s a real risk in going too wide and too shallow with your channel strategy.
8. Any other pot-related thoughts you want to leave us off with?
  • Kind of a personal thought: some people still have a misconception that if you smoke pot, you’re lazy. Weirdly enough, nobody thinks that you’re lazy if you go to 3 happy hours a week (they call it “networking”), or if you go out for bottomless mimosas on Sunday. The fact is that I smoke; my entrepreneur friends almost all smoke; I know investors who smoke. These are people who work 16+ hour days, who work weekends, who don’t sleep at night (I’m writing this at 3am), and who put their entire life savings on the line for a chance at building a business. It really bothers me that some people are ignorant enough to label pot smokers as “lazy” when some of the hardest-working, most successful people I know smoke pot (often to just relax and “turn off” for a few hours). Frankly, the most daring entrepreneurs in the country right now are in the cannabis space: they’re building an entire industry out of nothing with very real personal and professional risk.

Written exclusively for Pot Stock News by Jamie Calden

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