Diddy's Portfolio Manager Launches Her Own Cannabis Company, Calls It 'Once In A Millennium Opportunity'
By Javier Hasse and Natan Ponieman.
Before entering the cannabis industry, Dia Simms spent 14 years working side-by-side with rapper and entrepreneur Sean Combs, better known as Diddy or Puff Daddy. She eventually became president of Combs Enterprises, self defined as “a portfolio of businesses and investments built and cultivated by the music mogul in 2017.
A few weeks ago, Simms went on her own, to launch BRN Group, a cannabis tech company with specialized focus on distribution and branding. The CEO talked about the company’s mission in an exclusive conversation with Benzinga.
“We are focused on building and managing cannabis brands, developing interactive and personalized e-commerce experiences, and providing relevant insights to inform and engage customers in this burgeoning market,” she told Benzinga.
From Diddy’s Right-Hand-Woman To Cannabis Entrepreneur
Simms launched the BRN Group after identifying what she considered as a “once in a millennium opportunity” in cannabis. She told us she realized the potential of the plant after seeing its effects on her mother, who’d been suffering from chronic, debilitating pain for 30 years as a result of multiple sclerosis.
“We have an opportunity to bring something to the forefront that does good for people personally and economically,” she said.
“We offer our partners decades of proven experience in branding, e-commerce and distribution – all in one place. We’re here to help turn great products into legacy brands," she said, who firmly believes that any company that isn’t evolving ahead of the market, thinking bigger and pushing what’s possible is going to get left behind.
During her 13 years at Combs Enterprises, Simms learned a lot about what it takes to establish legacy brands. “To be successful, a brand must be able to organically and authentically tap into culture. It is not enough to follow trends, a brand must set them."
The company saw great success with CIROC Vodka taking the brand from 60,000 cases per year to 2 million cases annually.
Working With Market Allies For Mutual Growth
“Our focus is very squarely on ensuring that this exciting new marketplace benefits diverse populations both as entrepreneurs and as consumers,” Simms said, as she explained how the group’s mission is to “help shape and evolve the cannabis industry.”
For that reason, they’re working with brands looking to do the same.
“Whether that’s a licensed producer in search of a high-return market for product, an existing cannabis company looking to elevate and scale, or an influencer interested in creating their own branded offering.“
The company has a diversified revenue base consisting of royalty, technology service, creative service and distribution income. The CEO expanded on how federal legalization would affect her business and the industry at large.
“Right now, the legal cannabis market in the U.S. is inherently fragmented. Once it’s legal nationwide, we’ll have a much larger data set for research, enabling clearer and more robust analysis."
In addition, Simms believes legalization will allow marketers and industry professionals to look more closely at the consumer market and medical benefits.
“For the first time, we’ll be able to create an industry standard for measuring everything from strain potency to pesticide content, which is essential for legitimizing the current market and providing a solid foundation for growth.”
Photos courtesy of BRN Group.
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