Case Study – Artemis Link
Getting in on the Ground Floor
How a brother-sister team combined their business experience with the right technology to take advantage of a new and promising market.
Colin Hobbs always wanted to be a salesman.
“My major was psychology, and I wanted to understand the motivations people had for buying,” Colin says. “When I finished college, I dived right in, going door-to-door for a telecom company, and just climbed the ladder from there.”
Colin’s hands-on, post-graduate education in mastering sales channels led him to a VP role for a medicinal cannabis extracts company in California. By the time Oregon opened its cannabis market in 2015, he had
developed an encyclopedic knowledge of plant varieties and growing methods, and the acumen to build and manage distribution channels.
“Having those sales skills and that knowledge was perfect,” Colin says. “ There are many cannabis enthusiasts in the industry with the drive to start a ‘cannabusiness’, but far fewer with the business acumen to sustain a thriving sales channel while managing other aspects of their business.”
So, in 2016, Colin joined forces with another experienced entrepreneur—his sister, Whitney Hobbs—to launch Artemis Link, a boutique wholesaler and distributor of cannabis products for the Oregon market. Whitney’s previous work with a brewery startup was critical to the ongoing success of Artemis, bringing hands-on experience in business processes and marketing to her collaboration with her brother.
Most of all, Whitney saw how distribution would be the deciding factor to many manufacturers’ ability to reach critical mass, so it was her drive to help small producers in this new market achieve their goals that shaped Artemis’s business model.
“While we knew we belonged in the cannabis industry, we recognized that our skill set was best suited to be the outsourced sales and distribution channel for talented and gifted growers,” Colin says.
Big Growth Potential
It took patience and time to get Artemis Link off the ground.
“As it is a new and regulated industry, the rules continue to develop,” Colin says. “The constant change means a lot of people have gone out of business.”
Those that do stick it out are poised to tap a lucrative market with few competitors experienced enough to cultivate a serious business. The US legal marijuana industry grossed about $7 billion in 2016. Analysts expect that to top $20 billion by 2021. Oregon alone saw $393 million in cannabis retail dispensary sales in 2016. And in the four months following the launch of Artemis Link in April 2017, the company accumulated $1.5 million revenue for wholesale delivery and distribution services.
“We’re a small team and we do a tremendous amount for our size,” Colin says. Artemis Link’s three-person team—Colin, Whitney and one staffer—delivers for 16 cannabis producers and distributes for 135 retailers, a customer set that represents 25% of Oregon’s current market opportunity.
The Right Solution
With a small staff spending a lot of time on the road to cover their territory, Artemis Link needed a way to manage sales and stock accurately and on the go.
“Simply by being in the cloud, Cin7 lets us track everything anywhere we go,” Colin says. “If I make a sale while I’m on the road, and my sister makes a sale at the same time, we won’t oversell, and that’s a huge saving in time: that ease of knowing what we have is a tremendous value, and that mobile functionality is the number one reason we needed Cin7.”
Colin saw how other solutions fell short. Software designed specifically for the cannabis industry were inadequate to managing B2B operations, while competing solutions like TradeGecko and Fishbowl fell short in areas such as security and multi-unit measurements.
“They only worked with integers, while we needed the ability to track in decimals,” Colin says. Furthermore, Oregon requires cannabis providers and distributors to use software called METRC to track and trace cannabis products for regulatory enforcement, a solution that only tracks in metric measurement. However, Artemis Link tracks its inventory in pounds, and Cin7 gave them the ability to track in multiple units of measure for business purposes and regulatory compliance.
How Artemis Uses Cin7
Artemis Link relies on Cin7 to track their products by strain. Whitney and Colin use Cin7’s production jobs module and sales and purchase order tracking for day-to-day operations. Whitney says Cin7 lets her quickly see stock on hand and outstanding balance in sales orders. Colin sees Cin7’s extensive reports library as a notable advantage over competing solutions and one that enhances his company’s B2B relationships.
“Twice a month, I use the ‘Sales by Customer’ report to show where all the products are going, segmented by farm and producer, and I send those reports to our clients,” Colin says. “By using these features in Cin7, we can share valuable information with our growers, and that shows them how seriously we take our relationship.” Colin expects to add two or three more salespeople over time as the company grows.