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Forming Vendor Relationships

,  October 22, 2021  Written by David Melnick
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Let’s face it, there are a lot of vendors in the cannabis industry and what is best today may not be what is best tomorrow. Selecting the right vendors can have a major impact on a dispensary’s customers and the overall business. Therefore, conducting research beforehand is key to avoiding as much potential headache later on as possible. 

In this post, we dive into a few of the general considerations Feel State takes into account when selecting vendors. While not a perfect system, it has helped us (and others) and taught us a few lessons along the way. 

Company Ethos

Questions to Consider: Where do the vendor’s values lie? How does the vendor treat its employees? Do the employees like working for this vendor? 

Items we Look For: Vendors with core values rooted in integrity, honesty, and transparency are preferred as those align with what Feel State believes in. An additional strong attribute are those who take care of their employees including empowering them to obtain personal and collective ownership over the business.

Relationship Management Style

Questions to Consider: How does the vendor conduct themselves over email, through text communication and/or in person? Are they professional? Do they seek to make a positive impact the cannabis industry or are they just looking for a quick sale by any means necessary? 

Items we Look For: It cannot be stated enough, but operating with respect, warmth, and honesty should be the modus operandi. Vendors that demonstrate punctuality, transparency, and effective proactive communication are just some of the actions that convey these ethics.  Since everyone has a preferred way of communicating (text, phone call, or email), vendors who work to establish a mutual understanding beforehand will help create a foundation for a long-term excellent business partnership. Additionally, it is preferred to work with those that look to positively serve the cannabis industry beyond merely selling their products.  

Education Materials

Questions to Consider: Does the vendor provide educational materials about their company and products? Are they willing to send representatives to help educate patients and dispensary staff in person? 

Items we Look For: The more information a vendor can provide, the better it is for all parties. Helping dispensary staff become knowledgeable about a product will provide additional benefit to the patient and to assist in selling the vendor’s product. Ideally, vendors will allow dispensary staff to attend facility tours, will come in and complete staff education training, and hold pop-up events to interface with patients while the shop is open.

 Proficiency in Paperwork

Questions to Consider: Are they organized and prepared? Does the vendor have all of the necessary paperwork prepared for a transaction?

Items we Look For: In a highly regulated industry where everything is tracked, this is a very important topic. To help mitigate potential problems, we will provide vendors a list of the documentation required for them to have either before or upon time of intake. This traditionally includes an invoice, test results, a one-sheet on growing practices/product information, and sometimes branding materials/logos for promotions. 


Questions to Consider: Does the vendor have product liability insurance?

Items we Look For: Product liability insurance for a vendor is an absolute must. In the case of a consumer purchasing product from the dispensary and having a negative experience that leads to an accident/injury, this helps protect the dispensary and the vendor in the case of additional action. 


Question to Consider: Will the branding appeal to a wide range of customer demographics?

Items we Look For: Prefer branding that will appeal to a wide audience. High end branding communicates high quality. And high quality products are a cornerstone of a reputable dispensary.

Social/Marketing Presence

Questions to Consider: Does the vendor have a large presence on social media or other online channels? Can the vendor help drive people to the dispensary?

Items we Look For: This is incredibly important in establishing an identity to the outside world, thus helping one stand out, convey their mission, and attract traffic to the dispensary. We seek to utilize vendors who’s branding and marketing strategy complement that of Feel State.

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