Millie Montana is an advocate for recreational cannabis use that’s untethered to stoner stereotypes. The Michigan businesswoman is CEO and founder of the Guilty Pleasures by Millie and Millie Montana Industries—which quickly made headway and appeal to newish smokers who are also thoughtful about what they consume. Millie Montana basically puts out 10 fires a day, deals with constant regulation changes, sets up new or updates departments, brand, and product development, oversees every aspect of the business, and still manages to have fun while handling all these things.
Tell us more about your business, what are the products offered?
Millie Montana Industries is my manufacturing company which currently processes Hemp/CBD, runs the manufacturing and distribution necessary for the Guilty Pleasures by Millie brands, and is currently building out a 151 acre grow operation. Guilty Pleasures by Millie is a branding, marketing, and sales company that develops products, designs packaging and marketing assets, leads marketing campaigns, and handles all the sales. We offer a large selection of 62 products between our CBD and THC options. We have 26 THC edible products we currently sell through Guilty Pleasures by Millie and Cannatropics brands. We did a soft launch on our CBD brand, Mudira, with terped CBD isolate and are ready to offer 36 different CBD personal care products
What skills do you need as a CEO and president of a big company?
A CEO needs to be able to pivot and improvise very quickly, multi-task efficiently, wear multiple hats at once and be able to jump from thought to thought without getting frustrated and confused, problem-solver on the fly, quick with numbers, persistence and patience, but the most important skill is confidence.
What do you like the most about your job?
I don’t even know where to start because there are so many reasons why I love what I do. My original motivation to even start this business was to push for legalization to help the people who wanted an alternative medicine that they could also enjoy their life with. What is appealing about taking a prescription pill that takes your pain away but has side effects like addiction? At least with Cannabis, you can eat an edible for pain and still have a functional SAFE time.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
Tell me about what you’re working on now. My Guilty Pleasures by Millie team and I are currently working to fully launch our Mudira brand. We are working with another company to manufacture a few products and the rest will be made in-house at our Millie Montana Industries facility. We are also working to get our growth to an operational point. Our goal is to have plants outside by June this year.
What are your future goals?
I would love to have a few sustainable Cannabis businesses before Federal Legalization happens. The ideal situation would involve Guilty Pleasures by Millie expanding into other states and having Millie Montana Industries vertically integrated in the Michigan market.
What would you advice our followers who have want to start their own brand?
A lot of times, the motivation to start a brand comes from a creative side… which is great but a brand is still a business or otherwise, it would be a hobby. It costs a lot of money to make money so get your business organized by figuring out early on what type of workflow you are going to set up. Figure out what different departments will be necessary to make that happen. Be realistic with yourself about how many hats you can wear and do not be afraid to allocate responsibilities. If you are good at the creative, then hire a CEO or operational manager to keep things in line. You have to learn to open up to the idea of other people giving you suggestions, ideas, not doing things precisely your way, and understand that there is a whole a** business that needs to operate to have a successful brand. Everyone tells you to write a business plan before you start your business, it is one hundred percent true and extremely helpful. Don’t get intimidated by the idea of organizing and structuring your business, it doesn’t need to be an elaborate 50-page document. Also, don’t get attached to any plans because plans always change. Be ready to adapt quickly and improvise when necessary.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever received was to not put all of your eggs in one basket. This can be utilized in so many scenarios and it reminds you to minimize your risks.
Share two advice for female entrepreneurs.
Connect with people, network, get to know other business owners, don’t be afraid of your competition because there is such thing as friendly competition. Also, always be true to who you are and don’t let the ignorance of a man bring you down or intimidate you into being less than you are.
What has been your key (or keys) to success?
I have faced failure so many different times but perseverance and determination have pulled me through.