Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions. This week we talk to trailblazer Michael O’Malley, CEO of Curved Papers.
1. Tell us about your company
Curved Papers is a rolling papers company founded on my invention, the ‘Easy To Roll’ Curved Edge. Curved Papers literally give you an edge. We just got our first patent. Curved Papers are easy to roll. We have four types of paper at two sizes, and we make 100% organic hemp Curved Papers under a licensing agreement with NORML.
Though rolling papers have been traditionally a tobacco product for centuries, in North America they are largely used for cannabis. We are weed people, not cigarette people, so it was natural for us to focus on our native market. Because of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) of 2007, we couldn’t make the papers here in the US, so we went to Canada. We made the first Curved Papers and great connections up there, and we are becoming a top brand in Canada as a result.
We will go to Europe and pick up the much larger (25x) tobacco market in 2019. European Cannabis is the next wave, so we’re already working on complementing our tobacco relationships with contacts in that market. We have done a bit of work on hemp plastics and other bioplastics for doob tubes and rolling trays. We are an innovation company. I’m an MIT graduate in architecture, but mostly worked as a digital media consultant and software engineer throughout my career.
3. What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?
Ease of use is always good to sell in any market. Of the many ways to consume marijuana, four of the top five are smoking or inhaling. Nobody gets cancer from smoking joints. Rolling joints is a natural tradition. Flower, paper and fire. E-Z Widers are not actually easy, they are just too much paper and the paper is too heavy. Cut corners are still around, and they are good. But the easy to roll curved edge is ten times better. So, not so much an unmet need, but progress in an area where many people will appreciate it, experts and novices alike. Curved Papers is like power steering for rolling a doobie.
4. What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?
I can honestly say the people love Curved Papers. It has been quite gratifying. My kids are proud of me. I mean, I have people with carpal tunnel syndrome, Parkinson’s, and MS dropping their crutches and dancing a jig. Really. It’s dramatic. I have never heard the word brilliant so many times in my life. It’s a trip! Experts like them, too. They are just nice.
5. Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?
We have established a major distribution relationship and gotten a patent recently. We hope to be in 10 cities by the end of the year. On the ‘Find Stores’ page of www.curvedpapers.com, you can see that we have started in Detroit and Toronto, but have a handful of stores around the country in other cities where we have focused for our initial rollout.
Where can readers learn more?
www.curvedpapers.com is our main website. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org any time. Also, our handle is @curvedpapers on many social media platforms. We also have a special website for retailers and their staffs, retailers.curvedpapers.com.