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Meet Goldie Solodar of City Sessions Denver in Uptown (17th Street)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Goldie Solodar.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Goldie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Hi! My name is Goldie (aka the Knower) and I am the founder of City Sessions Denver. Back in 2013, I was fed up with my job as a small business consultant. I felt like my creativity was being stifled and my upward mobility was limited. Coincidentally, this was the same year adult use cannabis became legal in the state of Colorado and the doors of opportunity opened… Good timing, huh? Well, I certainly thought so… and I am going to tell you how I bootstrapped and grew my business from nothing to something in a brand-new industry, based off two words I heard from a budtender that hit me right in the gut…

CANNABIS TOURISM

Like many people with great ideas, this one got my creativity flowing and I moved with it. I started by laying a foundation… First, I took myself to Seattle, Washington to the MJBiz Conference where I got educated on the current state of the industry. Second, I wrote a business plan to do party style bus tours. Third, I stepped outside my comfort zone and called over 200 businesses to affiliate with me. I heard a lot of No’s, but 50 businesses bought into me and my concept and agreed to partner.

May 2014 rolled around. At this point Colorado was five months into the legal Adult Use market, I had quit my job and I had yet to run a tour.

Then I had an OH SHIT moment – What the hell did I get myself into, how am I going to fill a bus?

Minorly freaked out, I decided to get a degree of separation and went back east to clear my head. During this time, I explored my options and adapted my business plan.

A few days before I was to return, I received a call from a gentleman who owns a competing tour company. He said, “I read a blog article that you wrote about a grow house tour, who are you and what are your intentions.” I asked for a meeting.

When we met, I explained I was going to begin running private tours out of my Honda CRV.

I know what you are thinking… For Real?! Yes, For Real. And a few days later he referred me business and I got started. Boom! Just like that my foundation baked (literally) and I caught my big break.

I ran my first 60 tours out of that CRV and was learning (in real time) that cannabis does not discriminate and everyone has a different interest in the plant. Let me backtrack and mention my background is in anthropology, which is the study of people and cultures from an outside perspective. With the cannabis industry being in its infancy, I began to aggregate data based on the demographics we were hosting and City Sessions rapidly evolved into a private boutique cannabis tourism company that services four demographics: First Time Consumers, Regular Consumers, Industry Investors and Medical Patients. From all the questions asked over the years, the mission of the company evolved into an educational experience platform whereby we teach our guests how to select products and strains based on a desired effect they are looking to achieve or an aliment they are looking to combat.

We at City Sessions believe that cannabis is a quality of life plant and thus our guests have an elevated educational experience while on our tours. The customized experiences we provide take our guests behind the scenes of the cannabis industry into commercial cultivations, extraction labs and dispensaries as well as out to explore colorful Colorado (food, art, nature, and beer).

Wow, it has been nearly five years since I took the leap of faith and started City Sessions Denver. It took hard work, discipline and a whole lot of passion and I am pleased to report that I love what I do!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Let me start by letting you know that cannabis is federally illegal, so no, it has not been a smooth road. I have had bank accounts shut down as well as my social media accounts. I have been gouged by commercial car insurance, paying double for my policy. This is all due to the word CANNABIS that appears on my website.

In addition, because I operate in the cannabis space I can not tap into traditional marketing. No pay per click advertising, no boosted posts on social media and no google ads. I have had to build my business solely on word of mouth, reviews and blogging to increase my placement in the search engines.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about City Sessions Denver – what should we know?
City Sessions Denver is a boutique cannabis tourism company that specializes in private custom tours of the Colorado cannabis industry. We service four main demographics: first-time consumers, regular consumers, industry investors and medical patients. The mission of City Sessions is to provide a full education around the plant and product line so our guests feel confident selecting products and strains based on a desired effect they are looking to achieve or aliment they are looking to combat. We believe that cannabis is a quality of life plant and through education and personalized experiences, are helping to shape the conversation and culture around it.

I am most proud that I stayed true to my convictions as it pertains to my business model with an emphasis on education. Cannabis education, in my opinion is greatly lacking, with people constantly telling me they cannot find the information they are seeking. My business model started off by catering to the professional consumer and is gaining traction organically with the mass population who are starting to come around to the possibilities of cannabis. With that said, year over year we see return guests that bring back their friends and family for the education and the truly unique customized experience we provide.

My competition has taken a different approach to their business models in that they provide a social “how high” experience. These experiences are fun and geared to the already existing consumer who is comfortable with cannabis. Some of my competitors have been showcased on mainstream television, showing groups of people “hot boxing” buses. In my opinion, this does nothing positive for the industry and perpetuate the stigmas that have always been associated with cannabis prior to legalization.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Every year I partner with brands that I personal vet for quality, invitation, consistency and customer services. These brands make up the City Sessions community and we showcase these establishments, brands and products while on tour. City Sessions would not exist without this community of exceptional brands that open their doors to us and bring forward the best that the Colorado cannabis industry has to offer. These brands have received the City Sessions Seal of Approval and I feel confident recommending them time and time again to guests and non-participants alike.

I also have to give credit to my team over the years. With City Sessions being my first business, everything was new. Navigating business and a brand new industry was not an easy task and I am so grateful for my first associate Sarah F, who helped to organize the foundation of the business, while also hosting tours and building our brand reputation. I am also so grateful for Clayton S. who came to City Sessions with five years of industry experience. He has taken a load off my plate, owning his position as an expert guide and sounding board to me. This company would not exist without my team that shows up every day and passionately pushes City Sessions and our mission forward.

Pricing:

  • Cannabis Education Tour (2 hours) – $200 for two people + $100 per additional person
  • Half Day Private Custom Tour (3.5 hours) – $375 for one person + $75 per additional person
  • Full Day Private Custom Tour (6.5 hours) – $700 for one person + $100 per additional person
  • Half Day Industry Investor Tour (3.5 hours) – $500 for one person + $150 per additional person
  • Full Day Industry Investor Tour (6.5 hours) – $1000 for one + $250 per additional person

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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