We had the good fortune of connecting with Evan Kennedy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Evan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father was a small business attorney. He helped out so many entrepreneurs and had his own small practice. Throughout my childhood he would tell me repeatedly that I should work for myself, that I don’t need to work for a corporation, and that I should value independence.
When I entered the workforce, I started working at a variety of advertising agencies. I learned a lot of skills and cut my teeth on some fantastic brands over the years, but his voice was ever present in the back of my mind. I’ve always searched for something that I could call my own. Once I met my cofounder Ryan and we came up with the concept for Alive & Kicking, that voice moved from the back of my mind to the front and became very loud. It was at that point that I knew I needed to do this.
For us, cannabis and CBD is a passion. We want to get it into everyone’s hands and help people find the right product for them – even if it isn’t our product. Between this passion and the deep desire to create something that’s our own, we grew Alive & Kicking to where it is today.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Alive & Kicking is a CBD and cannabis brand based out of Los Angeles, CA. We design our products for every day people to enhance every day life through plant based wellness. For us, Alive & Kicking is a mindset. It’s utility. It’s a sidekick. It’s a CBD experience that can finally fit into our everyday social lives. We hope it’s the same for you.
We’re most proud of our unique approach to the CBD category. Most people will find that our products don’t look or feel the same as other CBD products in this massive category. Our first product is a CBD pre-roll that is unlike anything else in the market. It looks like a very thin, discreet cigarette. Most pre-rolls in the CBD or cannabis space tend to be large and too much for people. Our pre-rolls are skinny (like super skinny) and adorable. They’re designed to be sessionable and social. No more passing around a wet joint or staring off into space completely couch locked. Alive & Kicking wants to help people be that – Alive & Kicking. Since then, we’ve launched an array of awesome products. Our Nano Hemp Liquid Drink Mix utilizes nano processing to create a potent CBD additive you can mix into any drink, hot or cold. We also launched bigger pre-rolls for those who want a more fuller experience along with incredibly high quality CBD & CBG jarred flower.
Starting a company is never easy and starting a company in a regulated industry without having deep pockets, well, can seem almost impossible at times. For the past 2 year, we’ve mostly bootstrapped our company from the ground up – adding more and more product types as we’ve grown. It’s been amazing watching the fruits of our labor grow and turn into a sustaining business. One of the biggest lessons learned is that regulated cannabis in California is really, really hard for boutique brands. Hopefully regulation and stigma can change in the near future and things can become easier to operate.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a proud Long Beach local and I’ve lived off and on in this city for a while and so I’d probably give my friend a full day tour of the city. Here’s a run down of what we’d do: – Head down to Rosie’s Dog Beach with my dog Zoey to toss the ball around and let her jump into the ocean. It’s always packed with furry friends and a great time.
– Head over to Chuck’s Coffee Shop – “Home of the Weasel!” and fire down some breakfast (pro tip – get the Weasel)
– Bike the strand up to downtown and enjoy the views of the harbor
– Grab some day drinks at some of Long Beach’s finest dive bars – Joe Jost’s, Reno Room, V Room, Murphy’s, The Pike, the Firkin, and many more
– Head over to Cambodia Town and grab some amazing food for lunch at A&J Seafood Shack
– Check out the Aquarium of the Pacific and stare at how cute the otters are (they need to bring in a capybara)
– Head over to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
– Go home and order a pizza from Milana’s Brooklyn Squares
– End the evening at The Bamboo Club for tiki drinks
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Huge shout out to both my wife and my co-founder’s wife who are ever supportive. They’re both always willing to jump into the business and help however they can. Without their support, none of this would be possible. Then a massive shout out to Drew Moss and Matthew Kittay. Both guys have been huge supporters of ours since the very inception of the brand. They’ve provided amazing insight, guidance, feedback, and support.