Cierra, the owner of Living Skies Cannabis Retail Store truly has a way with her customers that seems so unique from many other dispensaries, and it definitely shows.
Earning the title as one of the province’s favourite dispensaries, and also being quoted as one of the youngest dispensary owners in Canada, Cierra Sieben-Chuback proves that there is so much more than what meets the eye — both when it comes to how she runs her business to what sets her apart from the rest.
Cierra mentioned that “the timing couldn’t be any more perfect” for her. Toward the end of her studies at the University of Saskatchewan, she had the opportunity to draft a business plan for what would eventually become Living Skies Cannabis. So with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, she made what seemed to be impossible at the time, possible.
So, for 4/20 this year, we’re highlighting Living Skies Cannabis and all the ways she’s been rocking it at retail ever since she opened their doors for the very first time. Cierra sat with us and gave us some insights into how she does business, but more importantly, what she’s doing to win the hearts of the people of Saskatoon.
Being genuine is what makes you so unique
I think that being real is so important, and it seems so simple to me. People appreciate being down to earth and honest about your experience and opinions on products. When I started out, people didn’t take me very seriously… I suppose I don’t look like an aggressive business person, I mean, I’m a young and fairly small girl and my voice doesn’t hold a lot of weight — so to speak — so people might have doubted me in the beginning, but as time has gone on, my age has been a real asset as opposed to a hindrance.
Plus I’ve lived in Saskatoon my whole life, so I have a good idea about what people are like here, which helps us serve customers — the same goes for my staff — they all have their own unique personalities, and it keeps our store fresh. Even things like uniforms I leave up to them to choose whatever Living Skies item they feel most comfortable wearing. I want them to embrace being themselves while being a part of a unified team.
Friendly, approachable, and dynamic staff make a huge difference
When it came to hiring, I chose people that I got along with, and I know that may sound silly, but it’s so important. That doesn’t mean that you need to be best friends and spend time together outside of work, but you have to spend every day surrounded by these people and you have to work together as a team.
I can’t do everything by myself, I know that. My staff are in the frontlines every day and they’re the people my customers talk to, so I wanted to make sure that they’re friendly and approachable, and it definitely translates to the service that your customers get as well.
Customers choose when they want help
We don’t want to hover around people, and I also feel like cannabis consumer, in general, know what they’re after and don’t want to be helped, but then you also see new consumers who have no idea what’s going on, they’re nervous in the store and they want to so desperately talk to a budtender.
It’s just being able to visually assess the customer’s needs and gauging that before diving into a sales spiel because not everybody needs that or wants that, and that could deter someone from coming back to your store if they felt bombarded. Customers are very different and you have to treat them like so.
Ditch the script, for real
It’s easy to get into the habit of saying the same thing over and over again but we remind ourselves to keep conversations new and to change it up sometimes because we don’t want to sound like a robotic store, ever. We are people, we have personalities, and our customers love that.
Make some buds!
I’ve been so lucky. Most of my employees are almost all the same original employees from day 1, and because of that, our customers have gotten to know the people who work in the store.
It’s really nice to see customers who come in and have an employee they love to communicate with, so they seek out that person. It’s really cool that my staff have made such an impression on our customers!
Online ordering is great to have
We’re living in the age of ‘Skip the Dishes’ and ‘Amazon’, so people expect that you can get things delivered to your door same-day or in a matter of days. For some people, it seemed obvious that this option was available and more shocked if we didn’t have it, but you also get a lot more customers who are like ‘wow, that is SO cool, I’m going to try that next time I’m in a pinch”.
Customers, I think, will always gravitate toward the in-store experience, but having delivery is definitely an asset. It’s a great option for the people who want cannabis, but can’t necessarily get down to the store. Maybe they’re at home sick, or maybe they have a professional career and don’t necessarily want to be seen in a cannabis retail store just yet (which is completely ok!) Despite the stigma beginning to relax, some people just don’t want to leave their houses, which is completely ok!
Having the online store makes our presence bigger in a sense — you can be almost anywhere and get your cannabis delivered right to your door.
Make your marketing fun and relatable!
We use Instagram fairly often and we share the same content with our Facebook. It’s always something that our followers are going to want to engage with online and will keep Living Skies on their mind — plus we’ve found ways to show off featured products in subtle ways that keep things new and interesting for our following.
Reach out to your community
We attended Hempfest, which is a little cannabis trade show that goes around the country. We had a booth set up and it was really successful for us. We had a ton of people excited to get to know more about us — and we got to connect with a lot of customers that had already been in the store and a lot of new potential customers.
We do want to do more community events, but it’s been a busy first year of business for us. So once we figure out our pace in the store and what we’re legally allowed to do within the community, we’ll be looking to do more!
Never close the doors on future possibilities
It totally depends on what the City of Saskatoon decides to do, but it would be so nice to expand the business in some way, whether that be a consumption lounge or other retail stores. We just don’t know yet at this point in time, so we’re just sort of waiting and seeing how the rules evolve and change. The hope is to one day expand the business in some way, shape, or form, but we just don’t know exactly what that might be yet.
It’s been such a pleasure getting to know Cierra! If you’re living in Saskatoon, check out Living Skies Cannabis retail store or visit the store at 208 3 Ave S, Saskatoon!
Verda makes a point to keep the power in the retailer’s hands, after all, it’s their store!
Learn more about how your store can benefit by adopting Verda, including live menus, online ordering for in-store pickup, and home delivery where regulations allow.