Welcome to this exclusive interview with Bryan Gerber, the visionary entrepreneur behind HARA Supply, the leading global manufacturer of cannabis cones and combustibles. With the pre-roll category on the rise, HARA Supply has emerged as a powerhouse, producing over a billion cones annually to meet the demands of the market's largest MSOs, dispensaries, and renowned consumer packaged goods brands like Jeeter, Stizzy, OCB, and Zig-Zag. Through their relentless commitment to cutting costs, improving quality, and pushing the boundaries of customization, HARA Supply has cemented its position as the go-to provider in the industry.
At the helm of this remarkable success story is Bryan Gerber, affectionately known as the “King of Cones.” Starting with just three co-founders in Las Vegas, Gerber has orchestrated the rapid expansion of HARA Supply, now boasting a workforce of over 2,000 employees spread across 14 international facilities.
His strategic vision and ability to secure significant venture capital funding have propelled HARA Supply to become the top-ranked provider of smoking accessory products, serving both B2C and B2B markets. In this interview, we delve into Gerber's journey, the secrets behind HARA Supply's meteoric rise, and his perspectives on the ever-evolving landscape of the cannabis industry.
What inspired you to enter the cannabis industry and specifically focus on cone production?
I originally started back in 2015 on the smoking accessories side of things. There was a big void in understanding and getting exposure to stoner gadgets. We started with our Hemper subscription box, which was like the dollar shave club for smoking accessories.
Three years later, we began developing our manufacturing side of the business, which became a product development hub with a solutions partner approach to the industry. That’s when we launched Hara Supply, which is the cones side of the business. There was a major cones shortage at the time – we were able to fill that demand, helping to fix supply chain issues and getting brands the highest quality products. Today, we are producing 100 million + cones monthly.
As the largest manufacturer of cannabis cones and combustibles in the world, what steps do you take to ensure consistent quality and meet the demands of the market's largest MSOs, dispensaries, and CPG brands?
When we got into cone manufacturing in mid-2018, lead times were about 15+ weeks to get custom-branded cones in the industry, and unfortunately, we saw a lot of sweatshop models producing lower-quality cones. We came in and wanted to clean it all up – the lead time, the quality issues, and the working standards. HARA Supply has 14 facilities out of India, which are carefully managed by our co-founder RJ – everything is produced in clean rooms and is GMP, ISO, and HACCP certified. Many of the other providers are buying capacity from people in India or Indonesia and they don’t actually own or operate these facilities like we do. They don’t have any control or prioritization capabilities.
With the pre-roll category on the rise, how do you anticipate the future of cone production evolving and what steps are you taking to stay ahead of the competition?
The pre-roll category has been experiencing significant growth, driven by factors such as convenience, product variety, and evolving consumer preferences. As this trend continues, it's likely that cone production will continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of the market.
Many see pre-rolls as a premium product. They want variety, quality and easy consumption. If you look at most of the brands that are #1 in the industry, they offer this category (Jeeter and Stiiizy for example). We make sure to customize everything, from size, shape, color, design, and beyond, to fit the growing wants and needs of today’s brands and consumers.
HARA Supply has helped cut costs, increase quality, and expand customization potential for various cannabis brands. Can you share some examples of how your products have positively impacted your clients' businesses?
We’ve become the go-to solutions partner for the pre-roll and combustible segment, working with the market's largest MSOs, dispensaries, and CPG brands (such as Jeeter, Stiiizy, Claybourne and Viola Brands).
Today, we work with 60% of the top 200 brands in the industry and 17 of the top 30 MSOs are our direct clients. Now that we’ve become the largest cone manufacturer in the world, we’re the go-to partner in the pre-roll and combustibles segment, working with everyone to provide customized solutions, as opposed to a “one size fits all” model.
What role does innovation play in your approach to cone production? Can you highlight any recent technological advancements or developments in your manufacturing processes?
We founded HARA Supply when we saw the automation needs on the manufacturing side of cone production, and innovation is at the core of our operation. For example, after multiple iterations, we have settled on sourcing our paper from a company in France that has been around for over a hundred years, as we think it’s the smoothest and best paper in the world. We have also developed semi-automatic machinery that cut down 15 manual processes to three. Additionally, we’ve invested in a company called Accelerant Manufacturing, which we believe is the best automated pre-roll cone machine company in the market.
As the “#1 ranked B2C and B2B provider of smoking accessory products,” what factors do you believe contribute to your success in both the consumer and business markets?
Since 2015, we have scaled our businesses from three co-founders to 2,000 employees, operating 14 facilities internationally and raising significant VC funding. On the HARA Supply side, our dedication to fostering and maintaining relationships, deeply understanding their needs and turning ideas into premium customized products, is a major contributor to our success, alongside our commitment to perpetual innovation in the pursuit of the highest quality materials.
We also operate HARA Brands, a diversified cannabis accessory and lifestyle brand that designs and sells innovative products for consumers and industry partners in the smoking market. These include brands like Hemper, Goody Glass, KRYO and Smokefiends, through which we offer a la cart shopping for core essentials dedicated to the smoking world, such as bongs, cones, bubblers, dab rigs, dab tools, grinders, rolling trays, vape pens, cleaning products, and more. We provide one-of-a-kind monthly subscription boxes, which include 10-12 items with a value of $100-150 for only $40. In the last five years, Hemper has been listed four times as an Inc. 5000 company, amassing 30k+ subscribers and 1.7+ million customers.
It was a great pleasure to have this conversation with Bryan Gerber, Founder & CEO of HARA Supply. Readers who wish to keep up with what the company is doing are invited to do so through the company's website.