Women in business is always something that should be celebrated, which is why Christina Casile takes such pride in her company Design 710, which provides services that help new investors break into the cannabis industry.
Legal cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the United States today. However, most of the legal cannabis businesses are owned and operated by men, even though women use cannabis and cannabis-based products almost as frequently as men.
Fortunately, within the past few years the number of women in the cannabis industry who hold leadership positions has been on the rise. Ancillary businesses, which support the cannabis industry, provide another viable path for women seeking entry into this male dominated industry, providing valuable input when it comes to serving the diverse interests of the cannabis consumer. Indeed, the number of women who have been consuming cannabis in recent years alone has risen exponentially, so it only makes sense that the industry reflects its customers.
Christina Casile runs Design 710, a women-owned business that assists both new and experienced businesses navigate the ever-changing cannabis industry. Christina takes extreme pride in the services that her company provides, and believes that the ability to assist cannabis entrepreneurs gain a foothold in this growing industry will help create a more equal playing field.
“At Design 710, we work as a ‘one stop shop’ for investors trying to get involved in the cannabis industry, whatever that may mean for them. We can help them write out proper applications, and ideally get the business going from start to finish.”
Christina is a certified Interior Designer with 20+ years of experience in the industry. She received a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Philadelphia University and honed her skills as an interior designer with several large architecture firms in Philadelphia. Her extensive experience in business led to her acquiring a slew of skills in a variety of market sectors including healthcare, research and development, government, education, sports and entertainment, overseeing dozens of multi-million dollar projects.
Design 710’s story explains how Christina first established herself in the cannabis industry when she was recruited to join a team of experts assembled by Philadelphia-based attorneys and advisors Moriconi Flowers, Ltd. to assist clients in obtaining permits to grow, process, and sell marijuana. Moriconi Flowers intended to coordinate a group of diverse professionals to act as strategic partners to support marijuana permit application projects and identified Christina, and Design 710, as ideal to provide building/zoning code analysis, budget and schedule development, and interior design services to their clients. “I have a lot of experience working with the retail and healthcare industry in general, so that overall helped me on this journey with cannabis and business. At Design 710, we work a lot with the attorney’s and consultancy teams that were initially involved in creating cannabis businesses for the state because they provided the initial plan that would get it all in motion,” Casile explains.
When it comes to cannabis specifically, Casile explained how the market was so niche in years past that it made sense for her to get in quickly and help others do the same. “Our company focuses on the cannabis industry because it’s been so up and coming in recent years. More and more states are legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults, and even more are legalizing it for medical use. So to get in on a new sector of business right as it’s developing, and to do it in a way that can help others who want to get involved but don’t know where to start, has been extremely gratifying.”
But what separates Design 710 from the numerous other cannabis companies out there today? Casile discussed that the firm’s ability to help clients in almost every aspect of their business is what differentiates them from any other business in the industry. From the moment of inception through the application process and continuing until construction is completed and the doors are open, Design 710 has successfully provided valuable services to cannabis hopefuls which have allowed them to fulfill their dreams.
“The whole ‘one stop shop’ aspect of our company is why I think we’re so successful in this new sector of business. When one opens any kind of business, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of all the officials that you need to be in contact with to make it happen. So, the fact that we can be used as a universal resource for our clients has led to a loyal customer base that will hopefully keep growing.”
“As a woman in business, Christina takes great pride in the success of her Design 710, especially considering its success is dependent on the success of other entrepreneurs trying to get involved in the cannabis industry.”
When it comes to the actual process of working with people to create new business opportunities in cannabis, Casile explained how if the client understands the commitment necessary every step of the way, there is almost nothing they can’t accomplish.
Design 710 is built to assist clients during the entire licensing process. Every new inquiry begins with a meeting to determine what the prospective client wants to do and frame potential ways to make it a reality. Do they want to be involved in cultivation, manufacturing, or retail, the “plant touching aspects of the industry, or are they interested in providing ancillary services? “Basically we want to get a general understanding of their goals before we do anything else.”
Regardless of whether a state has a medical or adult use program, or both, in place, each has its own rules and regulations which must be understood and considered from the outset. Whether it’s a cultivation, manufacturing, or retail business being sought, state and local laws will dictate where the business is located and how it will be run. Thus, if a state law or local ordinance requires a cannabis business to be a certain distance away from a school, daycare, or park, for instance, Design 710 works with its clients to ensure they are properly positioned for success. This applies as well to security and traffic concerns, and any element of the facility’s design which must meet local construction and aesthetic requirements.
“Once a client identifies a location which meets regulatory requirements for property setbacks and licensing, we’ll go in and survey the space and draft potential layout options for the space. This also helps us get a greater understanding of what our clients actually want, which makes it so much easier to make their dreams into a reality.”
After that, assuming everything works out in terms of acquiring the property, Design 710 will then work closely with the client, engineers, construction workers, etc. on making the space come to life. The whole process can be overwhelming and take a while to complete depending on the application approval time, including the state’s cannabis licensing process, construction and operational timetables, but that’s generally how it normally works where a brand new license is concerned. For an existing license holder seeking to add a location under a specific state’s program rules, the process can be shortened.
This strategy has led to extreme success for numerous Design 710 clients throughout the past few years. Design 710 and Casile herself has worked as the interior designer for countless projects, including 5 dispensaries she opened with Restore Integrative Wellness Center in the greater Philadelphia area over the last 3 years, a large cultivation and manufacturing facility she designed and oversaw in Pennsylvania for DocHouse LLC, and a “vertical” operation consisting of cultivation, manufacturing, and retail space in Massachusetts currently under construction. Over the last 4 years alone Design 710 has provided design and licensing assistance and consultation services for projects in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, as well as projects being planned for the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands.
Design 710’s successes overall have included designing the project for the winning application and first dispensary to open in Philadelphia, designing the project for a winning grower/processor applicant in the Delaware Valley, and designing the winning project for an additional marijuana dispensary permit holder in the Philadelphia area.
“The cannabis market was relatively small when we first started, so Design 710 has been able to grow as the cannabis industry has throughout the US. It’s been really fun and interesting to see all the new developments, and work with new women and leaders who have the same drive for business as we do.”
“I’m a woman in business which in general is still such a feat, especially in this specific market. I’m so proud to be able to say I run a woman-owned interior design firm specializing in retail and production strategy, brand creation, and customer communications.”
Casile also explained how she really believes in the benefits of cannabis and its proven ability to help alleviate numerous physical and mental symptoms for individuals, which is what makes her job that much more rewarding as well.
“The work we do really is inspiring. I truly believe in the product and all the health benefits that cannabis has proven to provide for so many around the world. Obviously there’s always going to be some push back. We attend a lot of town meetings where residents are adamant about keeping cannabis out of their communities, but those are just opportunities to further educate and inform citizens that everything we do is for the greater good of not just the investor, but for the community. Also the fact that everything we do is completely in accordance with local, state, and federal laws, helps alleviate some of that resistance.”
With almost a decade of experience working with the healthcare industry on various construction projects before entering the cannabis space, the fast-growing industry has been no different. “I view these businesses almost like a pharmacy, people are coming in to get medicine that will make them feel better and it works. We’re not only helping the economy by establishing new businesses at a local level, but we’re also helping real people find solutions that can alleviate their symptoms,” she explained. Adult use projects are similar in that the spaces need to be welcoming and capable of serving a variety of consumers, with the same security and safety requirements being met.
“The goal of Design 710 has always been to create beautiful spaces that people want to keep going back to for their cannabis needs. As competition in this industry continues to grow, we want to continue to create beautiful and simple spaces that patients can go into and feel safe and get them in and out as soon as possible. We want to create safe spaces where people can feel protected and confident in their experience.”
Casile explained how in the future she hopes to expand her services and help clients all throughout the US start their own cannabis businesses as it gets further legalized in more states.
“Our goal is to help people open and operate successful cannabis businesses in as many states as we can. New states come on board in terms of cannabis every election cycle, so it’s just about paying attention and hopefully creating new bonds to open even more spaces all throughout the US. The economic impact of these businesses is clearly substantial, so it’ll be interesting to see how much larger it grows in the coming years.”
Casile concluded our interview with a powerful message about what it meant to her to grow such a successful business as a woman in this new industry and be able to help others do the same.
“Being a woman in business in general should be celebrated. Focusing on women, minority, and veteran owned companies has allowed us to work diverse political and business leaders, which is great because we’re able to help a lot of different demographics who have the same goals as the rest of our clients. It’s inspiring to see how much growth the business world has endured within the past decade in terms of women being represented as successful leaders. To use my own position and services at Design 710 to bring other women and business leaders together to create successful companies is extremely gratifying, and important.”
To learn more about the amazing work Christina and her team does at Design 710, click here!
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