design:retail - September 2015 - (Page 34)

perspectives 034 Taking the High Road MEGAN STONE FOUNDER, THE HIGH ROAD DESIGN STUDIO, PHOENIX "I guarantee that cannabis retail will be the next greatest industry in this country." - MEGAN STONE O changes almost daily, and is incredibly difficult and expensive to start a busines s i n-esp e c ial ly a dispensary. I had to develop a dialogue for this industry about why design is so important to the success of a cannabis retail business, and that my job is much more involved than helping them "decorate," because it just wasn't something anyone was talking about. I spoke at cannabis business training courses, I blogged about good dispensary design, I went to conferences. I landed my first client, Erik Briones of Minerva Canna Group,after about six months, and helped him design a dispensary that really put my business on the map and set the bar for the ideal dispensary experience. NCE THE dormroom mainstay of s h a dy h i p p i e s , marijuana retail is going mainstream as it becomes legal in more and more states. Megan Stone (yes, that's really her name) founded Phoenix-based The High Road Design Studio in 2013 with the goal of "elevating the cannabis industry through professional design." Here, Stone talks with design:retail about challenges in her field and the future of pot retail. design:retail: What made you decide to pursue cannabis retail design, and how did you establish your business? Megan Stone: I have been involved with cannabis retail since I moved to California in 2007. I started off as a patient, but when I went back to school to study interior design, I got offered a job as a bud tender at the dispensary I was going to in Orange County. Eventually, I became the general manager of our two shops. Since I was going through design school, my owner let me lend my skills to our stores. It was notable how much design improved our patients' experiences. And in a sea of shops that were anything but a pleasant experience, simple things like a more efficient layout, new color scheme, fresh floors, a custom feature wall and some thoughtful merchandising went a long way in terms of growing our business and establishing our reputation and brand. Fast-forward to March 2013, when I completed design school and saw the opportunity to bring the benefits of good, intelligent, retail-minded design to an industry that I knew was about to explode. I started The High Road Design Studio SEPTEMBER 2015 DESIGNRETAILONLINE.COM d:r: Is there a stigma attached to designing for dispensaries? Stone: I tuned out the stigma from this industry years ago. I care too much about it and have such a clear vision for how great of an industry it is and will continue to be. I don't have time these days to think about the stigma that might still be out there. I'm too busy changing that. in June 2013 with the goal of elevating the cannabis industry through professional design. It was not an easy start-it wasn't an industry full of retail-minded, brand-conscious, experiencefocused businesses. It also is an industry that d:r: What are your clients looking for as far as designs and establishing a brand? Stone: Every client is different, but if a dispensary operator is coming to The High Road for our services, they are typically looking for a professional retail design program to help their business stay competitive and sustainable-everything from branding and space planning to aesthetic design and security mindfulness to procurement. Medical Photos by TIEN FROGGET http://www.DESIGNRETAILONLINE.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of design:retail - September 2015

design:retail - September 2015
Editor’s Note
Show Talk
On Trend
We Love This!
Designer Picks
Clicks & Mortar
How’d They Do That?
Have You Heard?
Shopper Insights
Shopping with Paco
2015 Portfolio Awards
Retail Design Luminaries
Retail Design Infl uencers
Retailer of the Year
Best Store Designs of the Year
Design Firms of the Year
Best Visual Merchandising Programs
Retail Superlatives

design:retail - September 2015