Evoxe President Michael Katz freely admits his company is “not the biggest brand on the block in terms of its physical footprint,” but the comment is not a concession of lesser status. On the contrary, Katz is quite pleased with the presence Evoxe has established in such a short period. Indeed, as a branding and marketing specialist who entered the space as a cannabis novice in 2015, Katz says Evoxe is precisely where it should be. “We need revenue to operate,” he said, “but we’re still in the phase where we’re launching to the non-cannabis market.”
He explained, “The current cannabis consumer—largely male and young—is actually not our metric for success. Our metric is bringing new people into the cannabis space. Our goal is to reach out to patients to make sure they are enjoying our products.”
Those products consist of five vaporizer pens with results-oriented names: Engage (red, sativa), Deep (blue, indica), Stealth (black, hybrid), Balance (white, CBD extract), and Balance+ (white, CBD extract combined with essential oils). Designed to induce desired therapeutic effects, the appeal of Evoxe products is in large part based on the quality of the hardware. Building on the success of its original disposable pen, Evoxe recently launched a new recyclable version.
The V2 “debuted at the Emerald Exchange on November 12, and we’ve been getting universally positive and enthusiastic responses to the new hardware across the board,” said Katz.
Designed and assembled in the United States, the new pens are similar to their predecessors in terms of their design and remain the archetype vape pen combining CO2 extracted cannabis oils infused with high-quality blends of essential oils. Katz still evokes that claim to fame. “We were the first people to come into the vape space with a purpose-driven product, as opposed to offering different versions of something that will just get you high,” he said.
The V2’s attendant recycling program is brilliant in its simplicity. “Every pen a patient brings back into any dispensary that carries us is like a coupon worth $2 off the purchase of any Evoxe product,” said Katz. “For every pen the dispensary collects, we give them a free pen to add to their inventory, and for every hundred they collect we give them 10 percent off their next order. It’s like a fully 360-degree incentivization cycle for everybody to push the agenda forward and minimalize environmental impact.”
The program was set up with every dispensary Evoxe is in ahead of the November launch and thus far, per Katz, “Everyone has been open to it.” The reason for adoption is the fully thought-out incentivizing. Without it, said Katz, the program would fail. “We had a similar program with our first pen that was not as incentivizing,” he said, “and people didn’t really get into it that much.
“You have to build the costs of recycling and being environmentally responsible into your business model to provide a sustainable effort going forward,” he added. “People really care about that.”
As with executives at most established cannabis brands, Katz is planning for the future with optimism. The company will introduce a vape cartridge in the second quarter of 2017 that will be “a closed-loop system that basically solves all of the problems I think currently exist in the cartridge market,” he said.
The primary problem, he explained, lies with the interchangeability of most systems using the ubiquitous 510 threading that can lead to cartridges connected to the wrong batteries, resulting in overheating that can burn the oil and incinerate interior elements. In short, said Katz, “Interchangeability can lead to a decreased experience for the end-user whether or not they know it’s happening.”
Evoxe’s solution, he said, will be “a proprietary interlocking mechanism that will allow the cartridge to work only with devices that are designed to receive it. We’re transitioning to the next generation of proprietary and safer cartridge systems that remove that uncertainty from the vaporizing experience.
“It’s the same philosophy as our current hardware,” he added. “Control the entire vaporizing experience. In that way, I never wanted to have a cartridge for which I could not personally make sure that the patient was putting it into the right battery.”
Evoxe also is exploring the places where people can find and experience their products. Katz explained, “We’re working with a doctor who has a pain-management clinic in Pasadena [California] to incorporate our Balance CBD pen into an insurance-approved program he’s developed for helping people off opiate addiction and pain management.”
It’s all part of the company’s larger purpose. “We present a seamless integration of lifestyle and cannabis to create experiences,” Katz explained. “Our products transcend cannabis in the sense that everybody wants something that can let them decide how they can feel. Ours does that on multiple levels in a natural and safe way.”
But Evoxe has another ace up its sleeve. “What we have that hardly any other company in the cannabis space has is the ability to replicate our formulas nationwide and internationally, so our products are always going to be the same,” said Katz. “There will be an inconsistency in the cannabis space nationally with products that are just not the same, except for us.”