Meet the visionaries behind the Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference (LMCC), Jonathan Halata and Jed Wexler, and learn why this hybrid event is the most talked about event for retail, consumers and the cannabis industry. The 3rd Annual Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference is taking place this September 15th & 16th with an incredible lineup featuring thought provoking leaders and innovators in the wellness, beauty, retail and media space. With in-person events on pause, LMCC has created a unique hybrid experience for the industry that combines the intimacy of an in-person event on a modern platform you do not want to miss.
1. The world looks very different now, and while almost everything is on pause, what motivated you to create a “Hybrid” event, what does that even mean and what will that look like for attendees (retailers, media, public, etc.)?
Jonathan: As you may know, nearly all trade events and conferences have been cancelled or have migrated exclusively to virtual for the rest of the year. For LMCC, when the world flipped upside down in March, our team anticipated a longer road to recovery and decided that it was in the best interests of our community to create an in-person and virtual hybrid experience that is tailored to each attendees’ individual objectives and comfort level. With an in-person appointment-only Brand Studio at Hudson Yards, a signature Luxury Box delivered anywhere, and a robust virtual platform that mimics the tradeshow/conference experience, we are really excited to be able to provide multiple touchpoints to ensure our attendees have the best experience.
2. Ok – how and why did you get this all-star lineup between Frederic Fekkai, Bobbi Brown, Karim Webb and Casey Georgeson, as just a few of LMCC’s featured speakers? What is their relationship to cannabis and wellness? Is there anyone else we should know about attending or speaking?
Jed: Overall, I think it signals a move to mainstream acceptance and de-stigmatization of the category and as an ingredient — and the fact that we’re starting to see it go global. And the big names who are joining us are successfully amplifying this idea — started by just a handful of visionaries in the space — that clean, plant-based wellness and beauty are intertwined in their new collections and are actually one in the same — Casey from Saint Jane herself told us that CBD is really being elevated into the clean category —— in its purest form, what ingredient is cleaner than CBD?
Inclusivity and rising star BIPOC-led brands are a crucial part of this year’s LMCC - which speaks to how much more work there is to be done around social impact in the space — but also this next wave of global luxury brands that consumers are clamoring for, all led by dynamic black female founders.
Here are a few examples of our programming around this very important subject:
Business, Beauty, Blackness — Building the Next Great Luxury Wellness & Beauty Brand with BROWN GIRL Jane
Maliaka Jones Kebede, CEO, BROWN GIRL Jane
Nia Jones, Co-founder & Chief Impact Officer, BROWN GIRL Jane
Tai Beauchamp, Co-founder & Chief Brand Officer, BROWN GIRL Jane
Moderator: Julee Wilson, Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan Magazine
Rising Star BIPOC Beauty and Wellness Brands
Mia Reddy, Founder & Creative Director, Dehiya Beauty
Tess Melody Taylor, Founder & CEO, Taylor & tess
Moderator: Jamira Burley, Activist & Administrator
And the very strong business case and a practical guide for investing in BIPOC-led companies:
LMCC x Impact
Investing and Scaling in Diverse-Led/BIPOC CBD, Hemp, and Cannabis Brands and Their Founders
Karim Webb, CEO, 4thMVMT and Sixty Four & Hope
Lorine Pendleton, Partner Portfolia / Rising America Fund
Moderator: Natalie Papillion, Executive Director, The Equity Organization
3. What defines a company as “luxury” and what is your criteria? What is your vetting process like, and do you actually turn away brands? If so, spill who and why ;) – kidding
Jonathan: Modern day luxury means different things to different people. For us, we believe that luxury is NOT about price point – it is a broader, more holistic point of view that encapsulates design, sustainability, inclusivity, sourcing and of course, the strength(s) of the founders behind the brand.
Not to scare off prospective brands, but we do turn away over 85% of the brands who apply for LMCC. We take our vetting process extremely seriously and maintain a rigorous criterion to ensure that only the most authentic brands are showcased each year.
4. The appeal with in-person tradeshows is the touch and feel aspect, and being able to talk to companies one-on-one, how will people get to know these premium brands?
Jonathan: The Brand Studio at Hudson Yards is by appointment and provides our attendees with the touch and feel experience we all love about tradeshows – albeit with a couple modifications like face masks and Bella Folium sanitizing gel as you walk through the door. All of our attendees will be able to speak one-on-one with companies via video.
Our signature Luxury “conference-in-a-box” is just another way for attendees to experience the brands first-hand, as they are delivered directly to their homes and offices. These are beautifully handcrafted boxes filled with full-size product samples and insightful content – they will be the most coveted aspect of the whole show!!
5. Would you say that 360-degree wellness is an overarching theme of this year’s LMCC and can you tell us more about what this means and why it is an absolutely necessity?
Jed: It is, in every sense of the word — from a retail, consumer, and civic point of view. We see these as all inextricably linked, especially with everything going on today. It’s personal wellness, but also applying those same principles to business wellness. These are also linked in our view.
And more than ever 360-degree “wellness” along with social impact are no longer elective, optional endeavors but rather absolute necessities — which has also given rise to a lot of our favorite brands + founders in the space being busier than ever. Which we will discuss in detail at LMCC 2020.
We are making the business case for wellbeing overall. And a big part of wellness is the feeling of being connected and staying connected and being supported, which is especially challenging today — all of which we are aiming to emulate on September 15 & 16 over 2-days of education, connectivity, and discovery.
6. What is it about cannabis, this one plant, that would deserve its very own tradeshow and what does the future of cannabis look like during these times and beyond?
Jed: 3 years ago we launched the very first Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference (LMCC) — and we had a sense we were on to something incredibly special.
Flash forward to today and CBD, Hemp, and Cannabis-related Wellness & Beauty have become an essential springboard into discussions around clean beauty, plant-based wellness, and social impact. And it’s gone global.
It’s also turned into a full-fledged category of design-driven lifestyle brands being carried at Sephora, Space NK, Urban Outfitters, Four Seasons Hotels, Ulta Beauty, CVS, and many, many, others.
The future of this — and because of this and the visionary people driving it — is definitely global, diverse, and broadening into many traditional categories we see every day like family wellness, pet care, active lifestyle, haircare, spa, et. al.
Speed round Svn (7):
One thing you appreciate about the other –
JH - Extremely complementary, mutually exclusive skill sets and strengths.
JW - What JH said along with always unvarnished, clear communication
Music, song and/or band to decompress to –
JH - Olafur Arnalds - Icelandic classical composer
JW - “Orbit” by Nao
Book you’re reading now –
JH -The Whole Brain Child (we have a little one just entering the terrible 2s)
JW - 2 Books. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate (life-changing)
Any new skill learned during quarantine –
JH- How to BBQ the perfect filet
JW - How to run a pre-school and a middle school :-)
Where are you going when this is over and who are you traveling with –
JH -For me there cannot be just one place. We have an around the world expedition-like journey planned with our entire multi-generational family.
JW - a quiet beach outside of the U.S. (or outside of the contiguous U.S.) with my wife and two little munchkin girls.
Leave us with an inspiring quote to get through this pandemic, elections, murder hornets, etc. –
Jed and I chose the same quote: “Nobody knows what’s going to happen. And then we film it. That’s the whole concept.” — Steve Zissou (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
Which is your favorite LMCC brand attending and why ☺ j/k - instead, what are you most looking forward to with this year’s LMCC.
JH & JW: I am excited to (re)experience the camaraderie amongst our brands, speakers, and partners who all share our vision to educate attendees and elevate the category
Get Your Pass
Use Code LMCC30 to get ~30% off Digital All-Access Passes Until 11:59EST September 4.
About LMCC: LMCC is an invite only B2B event and year-round platform connecting crossover retailers, hospitality execs, media, and investors to leading luxury brands + visionaries in the CBD, Hemp, and Cannabis space.