Producing profoundly good concentrates that are promoted with fun, engaging branding is the telltale mark of having made it in the cannabis industry. But behind that forward-facing magic is another important component at play that needs to be considered: company culture. For 710 Labs, exceptional products and the best vibes go hand-in-hand.
“It’s important to us that we hire people that really want to be at 710 and know who we are and what we stand for,” said 710’s CEO and Founder Brad Melshenker. “I think that’s been our philosophy from the start; we want people that want to learn, want to grow with the company and want to be there and not just clock in for a paycheck. It takes time to build that culture and find those people.”
Coming into the company from humble beginnings, Melshenker was determined to do something with cannabis, even if he admittedly got off to a rocky start.
“I connected with cannabis at 16 years old and never looked back,” he explains. “Twenty-three years later, I still love this plant more and more each day. I sold my first eighth of what we called ‘Kind Bud’ when I was 16 years old, so that I could smoke for free. Fast-forward to 2005 when I moved out to LA to get into the fashion industry; that’s when I began to learn the ins and outs of the Prop. 215 model and the business side of the industry. I thought if I could take what I did for the previous eight years while in college and afterwards and do it legally, it would be a dream come true.
“I was acting as a broker between some of the top growers and the best dispensaries in the state, soaking in both worlds as much as I could. Once Obama took office, and Eric Holder announced he was going to leave it to the states to regulate, I knew it was a sign to leave the fashion industry and go all-in. I raised friends and family money in 2008 and built my first grow house in Encino, California. That was a total failure, with me using LEDs before LED technology was sufficient to grow cannabis indoors. But, like all mistakes that are really the path to success, that failure led to the next chapter of our moving to Colorado, where you could be a for-profit LLc as opposed to California, where you had to hide behind the non-profit model to be in compliance at the time.”
With headquarters in both Colorado and California, it’s important to Melshenker that each employee, no matter how recently hired, feels a personal connection to the brand and wants to grow with the company. In an industry that sometimes puts profits over people, this is huge.
“I want to make sure that I build a relationship with everybody in the company; that’s really important to me,” Melshenker said. “I want to get to know them; I want them to understand this is, in a sense, a family. I think it’s important to grow that way with people that you care about and are invested in the company and its success and each other.”
With an early interest in cannabis paired with an entrepreneurial spirit, Melshenker knew he was destined to work with cannabis, but he had aspirations beyond small-time selling and smoking. Once he realized that some states were going to start legalizing the plant, he got into growing and then extraction, and the rest is history.
“Our commitment is to only sell products that 1 would consume,” Melshenker said about the pride and care that goes into 710’s offerings. “Quality over everything is our ethos. Even over making money. And I know every company says that, but we live it. First-rate hash over self-interest is the formula. We throw batches out in the trash if they don’t meet the quality-control standards, literally. There is a lot of creative branding and packaging out there, a lot of mid-grade product, but I learned early in my career [that] high-quality product always sells the fastest and breeds loyalty. Our fans know they can count on us for consistency as well.”
Known for unique products like water hash and Noodle Doinks (a.k.a. hand-rolled joints), 710 Labs has set itself apart from others in the concentrates industry and stands out from the crowd due to the consistent quality of its offerings.
“Quality over everything is our ethos. Even over making money. And I know every company says that, but we live it.” —Brad Melshenker
“This is the product I am currently most proud of,” said Melshenker of 710 Labs’ pre-rolls. “There wasn’t a pre-roll on the market in either California or Colorado that I would want to go buy. I’m not the best joint-roller in the world, although it is meditative for me. I wanted to develop the ultimate joint with the highest-quality flower inside it. No smalls, no trim, no shake, no ground-up, powdery, dry nugs.
“I wanted to develop something that my weed-snob mind would buy. We cut off excess paper for the perfect bud-to-paper ratio. We added in the gluten-free rotini noodle as the crutch/ filter for airflow and stability, and boom, our Noodle Doinks arrived on the market, and we can’t keep them on shelves. Tensecond Tom, who runs this department and helped set up the process since it’s very laborious, is credited for making my vision become a reality in terms of producing these at scale.”
In addition to the company’s focus on creating some of the best products out there, the 710 crew also has an eye on social equity. Specifically, with a location in Oakland, they try to make sure that the underserved community has access to resources.
“We embrace social-equity programs, as we understand and empathize with the injustice that has occurred due to the government’s previous War on Drugs,” Melshenker said. “Specifically in the city of Oakland, where our California facility is, we have two social-equity partners in two of our cannabis licenses, and, in addition, our company also supports the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which helps find jobs and offers community and support for formerly incarcerated individuals.”
710 Labs has also worked with a transitional program for foster youth to help them get real-world work experience. The company has interviewed and hired some folks from this program who have gone on to be huge assets to the team. Unlike other brands that only talk the talk, 710 Labs makes sure to walk the walk when it comes to actual inclusion.
In terms of what’s coming up next for the brand, Melshenker has lots of exciting plans in the works. “We have many announcements in terms of new product lines, like our Rosin Pods, which are dropping in a few months, as well as our Persy Doinks (three grams of flower, one gram of hash rosin),” he said. “Also, we are adding new flavors to our genetic library from the extensive pheno hunting we do for new cultivars.”
Finally, consumers can anticipate future collaborations that have leading creators partnering with 710 Labs. “We will continue to release limited-edition artist drops and collabs, similar to our notable ones with Richard Prince, Camp High and Joe Roberts (LSD World Peace),” Melshenker shared. “I’m very excited about our upcoming collabs with the Elder Statesman and our new line called itsPurpL with Jaleel White that was recently launched. Finally, our seed company, Green Beans, will hit the market in 2022. We are definitely in expansion mode on all fronts, including new states and markets.”
For more information, visit 710labs.com.
Read this story originally published in High Times August 2021 Issue in our archive.