We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Burkons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachel, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Although there are probably many misconceptions about the cannabis industry, one of the biggest is that it’s an industry where you can make a lot of money, fast. While there are certainly cannabis brands and businesses that have gone on to become extremely successful, working in the cannabis industry is very difficult. Not only are the costs of operating a compliant business extremely high, but there are operational challenges across the board, ranging from banking and insurance to taxes and competition with the traditional market. That said, it’s an extremely exciting industry to be a part of, with many new opportunities ahead for the persistent people who are in it for the right reasons.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am dedicated to bringing beauty and education to the cannabis space. I firmly believe that this plant has a place in many parts of our daily lives, and that with a little bit of education, we can explore cannabis in new meaningful ways, including the culinary cannabis space. I got here today through lots of hard work. When Altered Plates was launched, I was working full-time, and about to become a mother. It was definitely not easy. It took dedication and perseverance to push through and build our business, no matter how tired I was. It was a challenge to work a 9-5, and then go home and put in a few more hours, or go immediately to an event, but I knew that if I invested in myself, I could make my dreams come true. After two years of working a “day job” and “night job,” I was able to leave my 9-5 to focus on building my cannabis business, and the hard work was worth the reward of getting to be my own boss. I would like people to know that I am truly pursing this career and industry because I love it. The cannabis space is challenging, filled with hurdles at every turn. I have learned to never let the pitfalls get me down (too long), and have continued to push through because I absolutely love what I do. I am excited about sharing cannabis knowledge and education; I am thrilled to be a thought-leader in an ever-expanding space, and I am honored to work alongside so many people and brands I respect and admire. I am grateful beyond measure for each opportunity I’ve had thus far and hope to never loose this gratitude along my career path.
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 love restaurants, so in pre-Covid times, this list would be populated with a bunch of may favorite restaurants. But since we live in a new normal, I would plan the following “perfect day” in Covid land. Start with a drive. There’s (almost) no traffic these days, so I love to get out and go explore! I’d kick things off with a vegan breakfast at Kitchen Mouse in Echo park, and then head over to the LA Arboretum, where I’d look at the peacocks and go for a nice long walk. I love anywhere in LA where I can admire beautiful grounds, and the LA Arboretum just has an old-Hollywood magic to it that I love. From there, we’d get back in the car (so very LA) for a trip to some of my favorite L.A. dispensaries. We’d stop into Serra and The Artist Tree in West Hollywood, and if it was open for lunch, we’d visit the only place in the city where you can smoke while you eat: The OG Cannabis Cafe. This is a must-stop for anyone who loves cannabis, and I sincerely hope they’re able to reopen post-Covid. After a smoky lunch, we’d take Sunset all the way to the beach. I love taking Sunset across the city because you see so many different neighborhoods and famous sights. It’s a perfect drive for anyone visiting the city. Once we hit PCH, we’d head north to Malibu to pick up some dinner to eat on the beach. I used to live in Malibu and Howdy’s Taqueria was a longtime favorite; they’ve recently reopened, and I am obsessed with their veggie burrito. We’d grab some food to go, and head up to El Matador to watch the sunset on the sand and wander around the caves and rocks… maybe sneak in a joint if no one was watching 🙂
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people to thank along my journey, but definitely my family is the most important. Obviously, with Altered Plates being a family business, my parents and brother have been key to my success, but the person I really owe credit to is my wife. We have two small children, and I’m kind of always working, and she not only gives me the time, space and grace to do the work I love/need to do, she is also so supportive of my creative needs and endeavors. Especially since we’ve all been cooped up at home together during Covid, she’s been so great at letting me take the time I need to in order to grow my brand and business.
The Lost Angeleno