Humboldt Stories: Branding Humboldt’s Finest



Humboldt Stories
“It’s not Weeds, it’s real.”
By Sharon Letts
“Did she say eight?” Caitlin asked, fidgeting with the coffee server.
“Eight-ish, I think she said. She talked so fast,” Nick laughed. “She’s New York all the way, you know? Manhattan, Dahling,” Nick mocked.
“I just hope we’re doing the right thing,” Caitlin said. “Seems like packaging and branding right now is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. If Prop. 19 would have passed it wouldn’t be so much of a problem — maybe.”

“Maybe… with the Feds still pulling raids here in Cali, who knows?” Nick countered.

“Just wish we had a magic ball — or bong,” she laughed. “Something to show us the way to market this stuff. I mean, we can’t all live in Washington or Colorado, can we?”
“Well, that’s just it, we are stuck here in Cali. What do we know?” Nick asked, bewildered.  “We’ve got as much marketing experience as my uncle George who parks his truck in front of Jack’s garage to sell his tomatoes!” Nick laughed at his own example.
“This country was founded on truck farmers!” Caitlin said defensively. “And your uncle is a dying breed. I’d be happy truck farming for the rest of my days, that’s for sure. And, I like the way his truck is painted.”
“That’s just it,” Nick pressed on, “we can have our own special paintings; they’ll just be on little boxes.”
Nick loved the old-fashioned side of Caitlin. She was his guide and anchor to the future. He love how much she loved the apple orchard and the thought of bringing it back. Albeit, with the bud nearby for fortitude.
The knock on the door came with a high, singing voice, “Hallooo? I’ve arrived!” The voice exuding confidence rang out from behind the door.

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Caitlin looked out the window and saw the kind of woman she had only seen on television – “Sex and the City,” Caitlin turned and half-whispered to Nick. Opening the door, Caitlin said, “Welcome to Humboldt!”
Jackie Wellbaum made the trek from New York to the “outpost,” she said, of “the lost north” as she called it, because she “smelled green.” 
With a skirt cut up to there, and bling dripping from her neck and wrists, Wellbaum entered the room like she owned it.
“Nick, Caitlin! – call me Jackie, and know that I am going to change your world forever.”
Nick and Caitlin helped bring into the house what seemed like an endless array of bags, boxes and cable, with Wellbaum creating a virtual computer station with multiple screens set up on the coffee table.
While Wellbaum tinkered, Nick told her his tale.
“I’d like to improve my marketing operation, but have no idea where to start,” he said. “Wholesale prices have fallen drastically in this saturated market. We’d like to supply more product to dispensaries, but we need packaging and just don’t know where to begin.”
“We only know what Humboldt people like,” Caitlin added. “You know, you put it in a zip-lock bag or a mason jar, and that’s the end of it. If we’re going to market to people in San Francisco, we need to know what they would like. We heard you can you help with that.”
Wellbaum carefully removed her Hermes scarf from her neck and draped it over her Kelly bag. Her eyes were fully set on the couple looking to her for answers.

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She leaned in closer and in a low whisper, said “Tell me about your ladies. How do they make you feel, how do they make other people feel?” 
Nick and Caitlin looked at each other, and Nick said, “We’ll, we raise some of Humboldt’s finest right here, outdoor and organic — in the sun. Taste comes first, then pleasure or relief – depending on what your needs are.”
“Many are sick and need the bud and products made from the bud and trim for medicine,” Caitlin offered. “We’ll make hard cider, salves, lotions — all kinds of by-products, as well as bud for recreation.”
“When you say ‘pleasure and recreation” is that the ‘high’ part?” Wellbaum asked. “Don’t people also use the word, ‘euphoric’? It’s such a lovely word.”
“I think the best way to know what I’m saying is to try it yourself,” Nick said, pulling a redwood carved box out of a drawer filled with papers, a grinder, and a lighter. “This is some of our best; it’s called ‘Truth, and is an Indica. It’s intention is to chill.”
Nick rolled up a fatty, and handed it to Wellbaum.
A minute passed. The clock ticked louder, the music sounded better, and Wellbaum’s citified edge slowly left the room.
Wellbaum had made pitches a million times before, but never while medicated. In many ways, her thoughts were clearer, everythig seemed new and wonderful. She sat upright and began with new found inspiration.
“I see you creating a product that’s all your own,” she explained. “I’m seeing a handsome young man, smoking your blend on an African Safari, seeing wild beasts for the first time in his life. His girl is with him, but distant. After smoking your safari blend, this guy can finally find his own wild beast and get his game on.”
A collective “Wow” could be heard from both Nick and Caitlin as they sat wide-eyed, waiting for the next wave of inspiration.
“For advertising, we’ll start with a video clip on YouTube demonstrating the angst and alienation of a young cubical culture worker in San Francisco, weighted down with student loans, drifting through the foggy streets of the city, wondering how long it’ll be before he’s begging for change like the guy on the corner twitching for more crack. Suddenly, he pulls out his nifty box of Safari’s, your branded blend, takes a drag, and within minutes his bleak black and white existence slowly begins to turn color.”
Nick and Caitlin just stare at this vision of make-up, hair, and pumps and are simultaneously rendered speechless.
Wellbaum continues without missing a beat.
“Within minutes a fresh, pretty young woman comes along on a bike with a puppy in the basket!” You know about the puppy in a basket, right?” Blank stares gazed back at Wellbaum.
“Puppies mean love, my friends. L-o-v-e… LOVE!”  Wellbaum said with the confidence of one who has looked the toughest ad campaigns in the eye and conquered them all.
“Get back your roar!” Wellbaum roared at her captive audience, lifting one six-inch stiletto heel onto the edge of the coffee table, her tight, short skirt hiked up to an intimidating high.
“His roar is in our Safari blend?” Nick asked.
“His, hers, anyone who tries your Safari blend can find their own roar!” Wellbaum continued. “The puppy is transformed, as is the man! And the woman is HIS for the taking!”
Nick and Caitlin listened like they had never listened before. Wellbaum had them, at least for now, with dreams of pretty people driving fast cars, chasing other pretty people, while their hair transformed into wildly flowing manes — all of them roaring with visions of Humboldt’s own in little painted boxes.
Sharon Letts
Editor’s note: Sharon Letts began her love of gardening in Southern California by her mother’s side, watching as she buried fish heads at the base of roses.

At 24, Sharon hung her shingle, “Secret Garden,” planting flower beds for dainty ladies. Gardening led to producing and writing for television with “Secret Garden Productions.”

Today Sharon makes her home in Humboldt County, cannabis capitol of the world, where she continues to write about gardening and all that implies, advocating for the bud, and writing for many magazines, including Toke of the Town.

Her series, “Humboldt Stories,” is a fictional account, based on fact, of the Humboldt grow scene. Tag line: “It’s not Weeds, it’s real.”

She also pens “Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine,” touring the Golden State, following the Green Rush.