Nancy Whiteman capitalizes on the edibles market
2019 CEO of the Year Finalist: Nancy Whiteman has grown Wana Brands to be the biggest manufacturer of cannabis edibles in the state
Nancy Whiteman | CEO
Wana Brands, Boulder
2019 CEO of the Year Finalist
Nancy Whiteman, 61, breaks the mold as CEO of one of the biggest manufacturers of cannabis edibles in the country.
She’s not some stereotypical bearded hippie in a tie-dye, for one. And her background is in marketing, not horticulture.
“What I focus on every day is: How do we build the brand?” Whiteman says. “How do we make sure Wana is the most innovative and most forward-thinking edibles brand in the country?”
The strategy has made Wana the state’s largest cannabis-infused edibles manufacturer, and it continues to grow. “We are tracking 40% year-over-year growth,” Whiteman says.
Wana products are now available in Colorado as well as Oregon, Arizona, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio, and just launched in California, “the world’s largest legal edibles market,” she says. The company works with partner contract manufacturers and licensees in other states. “Our gummies are No. 1 or No. 2 in every market,” Whiteman says.
A new hemp-based line, Wana Wellness, is hitting the market, as the catalog continues to expand on the THC side.
Emphasizing quality and consistency through lab testing from Wana’s 2010 start gave the company a leg up as more and more regulations took hold. That mindset continues to guide the company toward an unclear future that may or may not include federal cannabis legalization.
“It’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” Whiteman says. “The thing that gives you longevity is a strong brand. I feel that if we build that, we can pivot to whatever is coming.”
This article is part of ColoradoBiz Magazine's annual CEO of the Year feature. Read more about this year's winner John Hayes and the other finalists: