When it comes to women in business, Trang Trinh is a prime example of someone who’s holding her own. A graduate of Richard Ivey School of Business and mentor for young women through Girls E-Mentorship and her own not-for-profit organization Shaping Her Esteem (SHE), Trinh is an inspiration not only for women, but all entrepreneurs.
Her career began in finance strategy and business operations at Loblaw Companies and Joe Fresh, before she moved into mergers and acquisitions at Deloitte. While leading the cannabis sector, her fascination with the industry grew, leading her to start her own company, TREC Brands.
Aligned with her own values, TREC Brands is a premium cannabis brand house that runs on trust, respect, equality, and compassion. It’s made up of two brands: WINK, a luxury brand that offers pre-rolled sativa-dominant strains, and Blissed, a female-focused brand that creates cannabis oil for women.
We had the opportunity to talk to Trinh about her company, conscious cannabis, and her advice for those looking to get into the industry. Take a peek below.
What were you doing before you started TREC Brands, and how did it lead you to where you are now?
Before starting TREC Brands, I spent 4.5 years at Deloitte in M&A consulting covering the following sectors: retail, life sciences, and cannabis. One of my cannabis projects took me down to Jamaica where I helped a client stand up a vertically integrated cannabis business – this included everything from grow operations all the way through to consumer experience in the retail store. I learned so much working on this project, it showed me how great the opportunity is in the cannabis industry and that there was opportunity to be different and add value.
Deloitte provided me with all the tools to do what I do today – I bring with me to the TREC business structure organized processes and cannabis industry experience and relationships.
Cannabis is a fairly new industry. What do you think the biggest obstacle you faced when starting TREC Brands?
I see obstacles as opportunities. The industry lacked structure and processes – this was an opportunity for me to leverage and implement methodologies I learned from my time at Deloitte leading the cannabis sector to help professionalize this this nascent industry. Consumers have not developed brand affinity yet. This is an opportunity for our two brands — Blissed, a female-friendly cannabis brand creating cannabis oil products, and WINK, a cannabis brand designed to complement the nightlife or social experience with pre-rolled sativa-dominant strains — to build solid foundations because cannabis will eventually become commoditized, and in that situation, brands will prevail.
What’s been the most exciting part of the journey?
There’s been so many already… Building an all-star team from the ground up, the ability to shape the industry the way we want to – at TREC Brands, that means ensuring we take care of our people and planet by giving back, and the opportunity to pave the way for women in cannabis and in business!
Tell us a little about the dinner parties you host.
Those that know me know that I love to cook and host dinner parties. I try to do them every couple of months to bring all our friends together. Lately, I have been getting more creative and infusing some recipes with our Blissed cannabis oils. It makes for a fun-filled night with lots of laughs and giggles and little to no hangover the next day! My go-to dish is tuna tartar – a definite crowd pleaser 😉
What is “conscious cannabis”?
TREC is actually an acronym for Trust, Respect, Equality and Compassion: the values that are at the core of all our business decisions. From day one we knew with TREC we didn’t want to be just another cannabis company. To be around for the long haul we want to make sure that with everything we do we are making an impact in the communities we operate in and our planet while sourcing the most premium product for our consumers. So, we built this organization in the only way we felt was right and pledged to donate 10% of our profits back to the communities we operate in.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to get into cannabis industry?
Take this rare opportunity to learn a new industry where regulations are being written as we speak and also encourage and help others around you. The industry will thrive when we all contribute positively.