I can think of no better person to launch my series of interviews with female trailblazers in the Canadian Cannabis Industry than Trang Trinh , CEO of TREC Brands.
With an Honours business admin degree from Richard Ivey School of business, Trang Trinh is an industry trailblazer who was previously the lead of Deloitte’s Mergers & Acquisitions division within the cannabis sector before this. Trinh brings years of business and negotiations experience along with a passion for social activism to the core ethos of TREC as CEO and founding director. In fact, TREC stands for Trust, Respect, Equality and Compassion, values that are at the core of what this socially conscious cannabis company is striving to enact. With an eye to attaining gender equality in the company and an effort to reduce wasteful packaging, this is a company that should serve as a business model going forward.
TREC launched two premium cannabis brands, WINK and Blissed but I am most interested in Blissed, a female focused brand creating cannabis oil products designed and marketed for the canna curious woman. The first ones for offer will be Balance, a high THC oil and Breathe, a high CBD oil. These will be available for purchase online in Ontario at first with other provinces following suit. Eventually, they also plan to add edibles like chocolates and baked goods as the law allows.
The brand will focus on wellness and self care, ensuring that 10% of all profits go towards making a positive impact on society in some way, through a variety of causes. They even encourage the public to share any charities or causes that are meaningful to them as a potential recipient of their help.
Trang Trinh is one of few cannabis female CEO in a male dominated industry so I was curious to pick her brain about where she sees the future of the cannabis industry and the role of women, both as customers and as people working in the industry and shaping the direction of this exciting new industry
Where do you see the Canadian cannabis industry in five years?
“Canada has had the unique opportunity to be a pioneer in the global cannabis industry and there’s so much to look forward to.
I think we will move in the direction of more consumer education around cannabis – we need more education in order to properly regulate and destigmatize cannabis. At TREC, we openly promote our advocacy for more education for both new and seasoned cannabis users – whether around dosages, effects, active ingredients – to promote safe and informed usage.
Also, I hope the industry will move in a more socially-conscious direction focusing on the impact that we are leaving on people, the environment and the communities that we are apart of. At TREC, we have committed to donating 10% of all gross profits to causes that matter to our consumers. With legalization we saw many companies rushing to push out products with a profit-first model but I truly believe focusing on building a socially-conscious brand is not only the right thing to do, but what our consumers demand.”
Do you think that women clients will dictate the direction that the cannabis industry moves towards? I am particularly interested in the area of edibles and the fact that women want to ingest vs smoke – they want to drink teas and eat more sophisticated foods as opposed to gummies etc.
“There’s a huge gap in the market right now for female-focused cannabis brands. With Blissed, we are addressing women in the 35+ age demographic to empower their cannabis usage, break down stigmas and create an educational hub for women to share their experiences. Our first products for Blissed will be two cannabis oil products but we will expand into edibles such as premium chocolates and healthy baked goods as regulations allow.
With the second wave of regulations allowing for edibles, extracts, and topicals this will be a huge step in making the industry more accessible for everyone, particularly women. That’s also why it will be so important for brands to use their platforms to help eliminate stigma – we find a lot of women are actually hiding their usage right now. With Blissed we want to help break down barriers and empower women to be unapologetic users living their lives and using our products to unwind and as a form of self-care.”
What do you do to mentor young women coming up in the industry?
“Prior to working at Deloitte, I helped found Shaping Her Esteem (SHE), a not-for-profit organization focused on creating and building confidence in young girls. I became more involved in mentorship when I worked at Deloitte and led the women’s employee resource group (canWIN) where I focused on changing the way we recruited, developed and retained top talent women. Now in my time at TREC I am also a part of Girls E-Mentorship, helping girls in high-school develop important skills as they transition into university/college.
Extending a hand to empower and enable women to find their place in the industry is extremely important to me. I continue to pursue my mission of equality and building a values-based culture at TREC Brands, which stands for Trust, Respect, Equality and Compassion.”