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Confessions of a Cannabis Guide – Olivia Cooper

Our amazing Guides are the backbone of Embarc, focused on creating a welcoming and approachable experience for everyone who walks through our doors. Our Guides are always ready to offer answers to all of your cannabis-related questions and help you find the best products to meet your unique needs.

We love our Guides because they’re the people our guests rely on most to help get the most out of our store. That’s why we’re so excited to introduce our new monthly series: Confessions of a Cannabis Guide.

Each month, we’ll feature a different one of our guides who will reveal behind-the-scenes secrets, tips for customers to get more out of their cannabis shopping experience, and their favorite ways to choose the best cannabis products.

This week, we’re starting with our amazing Lead Guide, Olivia Cooper. We had the chance to ask Olivia about her passion for cannabis, what she wishes more customers knew, and more about the day-to-day magic of bringing cannabis to the people.

Olivia, tell us a little bit about you.

I’m originally from right outside of Atlanta, Georgia, but my dad moved to California when I was in middle school and I started spending summers in San Francisco. This is when I first fell in love with Northern California. When I was in high school, my dad started suffering from severe epilepsy. After exhausting all medical options, he found cannabis was the only thing that helped and allowed him to get back to his life. After seeing how much he had suffered and how much cannabis alleviated his symptoms, I become fascinated with the plant. I think coming from a state that is still fighting for recreational and medicinal use gives me an interesting perspective in the industry. It makes me that much more grateful to be a part of the California cannabis industry.

What does cannabis mean to you?

To me, cannabis means relief. Whether it’s from a long day, a lack of sleep, or a chronic illness, there is some aspect of the cannabis plant that can help anyone find the relief they are looking for. I find that especially magical!

What inspired you to become a budtender/guide?

I was inspired to become a guide because I believe cannabis can help a lot of people if they are properly educated about it and I’m passionate about making sure that knowledge is shared. As a guide, I hope to help destigmatize cannabis and alleviate that initial “intimidation factor” that can be involved with purchasing cannabis. Cannabis has infinite possibilities and the more accessible it is, the more people it can help.

What does your average day look like as Lead Guide?

As a lead guide, my typical day starts with getting the store ready for customers. Sanitizing and disinfecting, updating the store menu and price cards, and making sure product is on the floor ready to be sold.

Next, I check my email, plan the day’s schedule, and make sure everyone’s stations are ready to go. Before opening, I pre-shift with my team, a time where we go over everything for the day and discuss what’s happening in the store.

At 8 am, we are open and ready for customers. We have some awesome locals we see regularly and many visitors too. I spend most of my day talking with customers, answering questions, and making sure the sales floor stays clean and stocked.

On top of assisting customers and restocking, we work together as a team to ensure our store is cleaned properly between shoppers.

Towards the end of my shift, I check in with the Night Lead and pre-shift the night crew. I make sure everything is ready to go for the night crew before leaving for the day.

What do you wish more consumers knew about shopping for cannabis?

I wish more consumers knew that THC percentage is not the only factor in shopping for cannabis. A lot of people are used to looking at this percentage first and judging the quality of a product based on it. How ‘affected’ we are by a certain flower or strain is not directly related to the amount of THC — cannabinoid percentages and terpene profiles are a much better way to judge how you will react to a particular flower. Cannabis has so much more to offer than just THC and I hope that through increased education, other aspects of the plant get their time to shine.

What new trend in cannabis excites you the most?

Lately, I have seen cannabis brands moving towards including terpenes on their packaging and I think this is really exciting. Terpenes are an important part of the cannabis plant and how we individually interact with it. Consumers being able to see what terpenes are in their favorite strains will help them be more knowledgeable shoppers and more likely to find new strains they enjoy.

I love seeing the industry moving towards being more terpene aware, because it is still not something many consumers know to pay attention to, and I’m excited to play a part in expanding this mindset.

What makes Embarc a special place to shop for and buy cannabis?

Embarc is a special place to shop for cannabis because we make every effort to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. We all really enjoy talking about cannabis. It’s why we chose this job!

Embarc is the perfect place to ask any and all cannabis related questions without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Our guides are educated on our products and customers’ needs, and we make every effort to find a good match every time. We don’t mind explaining every detail of a product or helping you hunt down the exact thing you need— it’s what we do best!

What’s the best part of your day as Lead Guide?

The best part of my day is knowing that every customer that leaves our store is going to have a better day.

Anything else you want to share about being a Guide, how consumers can be more informed cannabis shoppers, Embarc, or cannabis generally:

Being a guide at Embarc is all about education and service. Our goal is to make sure everyone who leaves our store feels they were treated with respect and learned something new about cannabis. Whether you are a first time consumer or long time user, there is always more to learn. I think Embarc is doing a wonderful thing for the cannabis industry with its unique concept. Breaking stigmas and sharing knowledge is how the cannabis industry will thrive through legalization. Education, supporting small farms, and remaining sustainably aware are the keys to seeing the cannabis industry maintain its integrity and quality long term.

Guides like Olivia make Embarc a cannabis retail experience unlike any other. Learn more about our approach and our products by browsing the Embarc website.