Connected California’s Alien Labs started breeding medical cannabis flower with premium genetics in 2015. Since then, the company has exploded in popularity offering recreational flower that consumers have been clamoring for with creatively named strains including Milky Way, Stardust, and Area 41. Few companies (aside from Jungle Boys or Cookies) do a better job of creating and marketing propriety cannabis flower.
Alien Labs gained stratospheric popularity in California following the NIKE Air Jordan (and new collab shoes) business model—limit supply and push demand. The idea is to create the demand through clever marketing and purposely keep the supply limited. It gets everyone whipped into a frenzy, and makes consumers think they’re missing out on something if they don’t pay prices at the top of the price range.
But is the product that good? Having tried a number of Alien Labs products I can certify the quality is there. However, the concentrates are a much better value for the money.
Around the bay area the brand’s eighth jars sell for around $65 – $80. For comparable top shelf flower from award-winning cultivators $55 appears to be the average price consumers pay for good weed. So why would consumers go out of there way to find a dispenser and be willing to pay around 30% more? According the NIKE collaboration projects VP Todd Van Horne, it’s “because consumers want what they can’t have. It’s human nature.” According to Van Horne, the company mastered the art of supply and demand with the advent of Air Jordans. “In the late 1980’s when we were doing some of our best advertising, we had a GOAT named Michael Jordan who’s reputation and admiration were skyrocketing.”
He went on to add, “we could have produced a massive supply of Jordan products, but we played the long game. We created a supply that was far below demand at the time. People went crazy trying to get their hands on limited Air Jordans. Some people even got shot over the shoes. That’s why the brand has the caché it has today.”
Can the same model work in cannabis? I’ve got to hand it to the team behind the labs, they’ve got an ambitious vision and have plenty of the momentum.