“We wanted to create a product that we stood behind. We wanted (to use) high-quality ingredients and pay close attention to what was going into our products.”
It was a warm August evening and a group of Toronto’s media had gathered at a private residence in Yorkville to be introduced to a new company on the cannabis scene, Olli. It seems like nearly every day there’s a new company popping up in the Canadian cannabis scene, but there’s a lot of excitement behind this one, and for good reason.
Olli is a partnership between award-winning Michelin-starred, restaurant-trained Chef Adrian Niman (The Food Dudes) and world-renowned tea sommelier Richard Guzauskas (DAVIDsTEA) alongside co-founder / CEO John B. Aird and co-founder / COO Sarah Gillin. This team is planning to take the Canadian edibles frontier by storm.
In preparation for the second wave of recreational legalization in Canada (anticipated for fall 2019), the dinner gave media and influencers a look at what was to come for the Olli brand, including how it plans to produce a product that epitomizes health and wellness while providing unparalleled quality and taste. I spoke with co-founder and COO Sarah Gillin on the phone after the dinner to chat about how Olli started and what the future holds.
“I tried the fruit chews last night, and they were delicious. I know they were unmedicated, but they were so tasty!” I tell Gillin on the phone. She thanks me and explains, “we wanted to create a product that we stood behind. We really wanted it to be different than other edibles that we’ve seen. We wanted (to use) high-quality ingredients and pay close attention to what was going into our products.”
The attention to detail shows. Although I’ve only been able to try some of their products (unmedicated), the flavor profile doesn’t compare to any other edible I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying out. It definitely is a higher-end product, and it would likely appeal to both entry-level canna-curious consumers and seasoned cannabis users. Gillin explains, “we’re striving to make products that are as all-natural as possible. It’s not always possible but where we can, we will. So we aren’t using any artificial coloring or any preservatives in any of our products.”
As the legalization date draws closer, one of the biggest things that Gillin and her team will have to compete with is the fear that some people have around edibles dosing. She shares, “a lot of people are scared about the edibles that hit the market previously. People don’t trust them,” referring to edibles that were previously available on the illicit market. However, she hopes that with all the new products coming out, people will take the time to experiment and explore. “It’s about finding products that you trust and can incorporate into your life going forward. Products that make you feel good.”
Part of the work that Gillin is trying to do with Olli is break down the stigma around cannabis use. She wants to create products that are inclusive and friendly and promote safe and responsible cannabis use. But she also wants to change the narrative and story of who is using these products explaining, “especially, as the COO of this company, I think just being able to change that narrative is really exciting for me.”
Olli doesn’t plan to officially launch across Canada until 2020. Until then, we look forward to following their journey online.