I got the chance to interview Roy Jossfolk, Co-Founder and COO of HotBox. I have to admit – I was pretty excited to interview Roy. I’ve been a fan of their YouTube channel for a while now. Roy stars in most of their videos, and he’s always entertaining to watch.
The company started with a subscription box, but they haven’t stopped there. They are still young, but they’re already doing some really exciting stuff.
Mary Janes Diary (MJD): HotBox has been around for almost a year and a half. How has the company evolved since it was created?
Roy Jossfolk (RJ): We originally wanted to create a subscription box to give people new products to try out on a monthly basis. It didn’t take long before we ended that program because we recognized there was a much larger problem that needed to be solved. I had spoken to hundreds of companies and realized they were having just as much trouble with exposure as the customer had with finding their products. On top of that, there was very little consistency between products available, even at shops that were within 10 miles of each other. This is when we decided to create HotBox Magazine, our information source for all things available at shops and galleries around the world.
MJD: I’m starting to see more and more products with a HotBox Approved Logo. In fact, I recently reviewed the Nail Crown which has the logo stamped into it. What exactly does it signify?
RJ: HotBox Approved was something we created to help consumers and shop owners identify products that are safe and have reliable customer service. This is one of the biggest issues in our industry, no accountability or standards for products. We have heard many complaints about shops and customers buying products and when something goes wrong they get very little support. At the end of the day, either the shop loses or the customer loses and the company who sells these products just keeps moving along. When you see the HotBox Approved seal on a product or its packaging, you can trust that we have thoroughly tested the product and have asked the tough questions about the company. While no one is perfect, companies like Nail Crown are more than willing to make sure both the shop and customer win, at any cost.
MJD: I know HotBox is big on safety from watching your youtube videos. What are some safety aspects you look for when deciding to approve a product?
RJ: This is probably the toughest aspect about the process and requires a lot of scrutiny and research. First thing is always how much support for the product does the company provide. Many companies are in their infancy and do have some R&D issues at times, however it is how you handle those issues is what we look at most. Second is, how safe is this product from a material standpoint. This is hard because a lot of companies are just ordering products from china and rebranding them. While we do not feel this is a bad thing, it always gives us that sense of questioning its’ safety. If you look at the products we have HotBox Approved already, many of them are American made and if not, we have done research on how likely that product is to be impure. Take Nail Crown for instance, we know that it is Platinum Cured silicone and after some research found that there really isn’t anyone producing and distributing this silicone in the USA. China is about the only place you can get this product made. Same with vaporizer pens, while you can assemble and produce a few of the parts, you can not manufacture batteries in the USA so that part has to come from china. We are still researching more everyday and as we learn more we will follow certain standards.
MJD: What has been the biggest challenge of starting and growing HotBox?
RJ: Probably just getting everyone to take a chance on a new company and concept. Many of our partners agree there needs to be some standardized testing or “consumer reporting” done on the products in smoke shops. They are trusting us to take this idea and turn it in to something that will help mature this industry. We do not accept money for reviews, especially good reviews. Many other magazines and companies charge just to review the product and I think that puts pressure on them to always say something positive. For us, if your product is unsafe and not as advertised, we have no problem letting the company and consumers know.
MJD: What does the future hold for HotBox?
RJ: Moving forward, we just want to keep creating more platforms for product creators and shops to use in order to get in front of targeted consumers. This includes our HotBox Shop Finder application, white labeled magazine for customer retention, commission free wholesale catalog and continuing to HotBox Approve more products. We are also in talks with several investors in which we are going to do our first round of funding. This will allow us to hire more staff and continue to push our mission.
MJD: Which do you prefer – indica or sativa?
RJ: I love sativa. Every morning I like to have a nice bowl or joint of some strain of sativa. Jack Herer is probably my favorite strain followed by Sour Diesel. I feel like sativa really gets my creative juices flowing. I have even had people ask me if I just smoked sativa before a call because I sounded so passionate and inspired. I love it!
HotBox is bridging the gap between cannabis-related companies and consumers. They’ve got a great website so I definitely recommend checking it out: https://thehotboxmagazine.com/. After you check them out let me know what you think in the comments below.