Cure Crate Subscription Box Co-Founders Talk Cannabis and Entrepreneurship

Cure Crate box pictured with products

MP spoke with Sean Wynn and Alexandra Mulconnery, co-founders of Cure Crate. Wynn has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade, founding the cannabis strategy organization at William Morris Endeavor. Along with Mulconnery, he seeks to highlight and remedy the current market inefficiencies in the cannabis industry by providing customers with education and cost-effective plant medicine. Mulconnery has a background in healthcare and life sciences as a management consultant. She has a passion for personalized medicine, making the healthcare and wellness industries more human-centered, and empowering individuals and communities to pursue holistic health. 

Cure Crate co-founders pictured outside
Sean Wynn (left) and Alexandra Mulconnery (right), Cure Crate co-founders (Photo courtesy of Cure Crate)

MP: What is Cure Crate, and why is it unique?

CC: Cure Crate is a personalized CBD subscription box. What makes us unique is the individual curation and attention that each customer receives. We have a proprietary quiz to match users with the best products based on their tastes and preferences. We also partner with The Last Prisoner Project, donating a portion of proceeds every month to change cannabis criminal justice. 

What was the reasoning behind the name Cure Crate?

We did a play on the word “curate.” We send users a curated crate every month to assist with ailments, so we have a Cure Crate!

Cure Crate box pictured with props
Photo courtesy of Cure Crate

Cure Crate’s subscription boxes include a variety of CBD products. So, how do you determine which products make it into your subscription boxes and which ones are declined?

We have a rigorous process that involves product testing, confirming COAs (certificates of analysis), and performing third-party tests. That’s just to get inside of the crate. We then follow up with customers who have received the product to get feedback. When products don’t perform well, they’re re-evaluated, and frequently they don’t meet our standards, and we move on. To be confident that we only work with the best of the best in the CBD space, it’s necessary to have rigorous standards. 

Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful leader? If so, what is it? If no, why not?

Yes and no! The pattern and formula is different for everyone. We all have unique strengths, passions, and goals that come together to form our best leadership style. That being said, one universal lesson we have learned founding Cure Crate and throughout our careers is that find the most effective way to lead is by example. There’s no job that’s beneath you, and you can only manage the trenches well when you’ve been in them yourself. 

Effective communication and an empathetic approach are also key for us. 

How do you market your subscription boxes, which tactics have been most successful, and why do you think this is the case? 

Word of mouth

Because our product is so unique, the number of customers that have come from referrals is staggering. 

Influencers / affiliates

This was the initial way that we were introduced to a lot of customers. It’s a great win-win-win for affiliates to be able to share a product they love with their audience and provide them value via discounts, then get rewarded in return.

How did you build a successful customer base?

We built a successful customer base by creating an exceptional consumer-focused service with incredible CBD for a value that can’t be matched. We were able to maintain these customers and grow this base by this simple task. It sounds cliche and simple, but that’s the case.  

Cure Crate co-founders pictured outside
Alexandra Mulconnery (left) and Sean Wynn (right), Cure Crate co-founders (Photo courtesy of Cure Crate)

ONE ON ONE WITH SEAN

What are three obstacles you’ve faced while growing Cure Crate, and how have you overcome them?

Perception of knowledge

Being a black founder in cannabis, there’s an assumption that I’m not as knowledgeable on plant medicine as my white counterparts. However, I’ve overcome this by utilizing my experience with the plant and deep expertise in this industry to create a state-of-the-art product selection logic that forms the foundation of a successful CBD business. 

Regulatory issues

Working with CBD, even though entirely legal in the US, provides logistical hurdles unique to the industry. The only way through this obstacle is to become intimately aware of what is and isn’t allowed and working with marketing, web development, and community teams to ensure we are on the same page message-wise. 

Inherent injustice within the cannabis space

As someone with many friends and relatives who the racist war has negatively impacted on drugs, it’s super important for me to be involved in the changing of cannabis criminal justice if I’m involved in the industry. As a result, we developed a robust social justice initiative within Cure Crate, which began with a partnership with the Last Prisoner Project and continues to grow. 

What are three pieces of advice you can share with people looking to become influential leaders in their businesses, and why? 

Do the work

You can’t ever cheat the work. Whether working out or working on your side hustle, when you try to slack off or cut it short, no amount of rationalization will change the fact that you didn’t do the work. Don’t cheat the work. If you’re going to perform a task, perform it to the best of your ability. 

It’s not forever

Are you up right now? Are you down right now? Whatever you’re feeling or going through, it’s not forever. Regulate your emotions because whatever you’re feeling is not forever. Prepare for the bad times just as rigorously as you anticipate the good times. 

Find hobbies

It will save your life. Work is not everything. Find things to occupy your time outside of the way you earn a living. I garden, read, travel, cook, exercise, play sports, hike, and I’m always looking to pick up a new thing. It will keep you sharp. 

What are your three greatest fears as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage them?  

Stagnation

We are constantly listening and evolving to prevent this from happening. 

Irrelevancy

We provide exceptional service to our customers and stay on the cutting edge of changes in the industry. 

Customer dissatisfaction

We listen to customers as often as possible in as many ways as possible. 

Cure Crate CBD products
Photo courtesy of Cure Crate

ONE ON ONE WITH ALEXANDRA

What are three obstacles you’ve faced while growing Cure Crate, and how have you overcome them?

Managing my perfectionism

I’ve had to learn that to build and grow a new company. You have to be okay with things being less than perfect and then coming back to iterate on them over time. Perfectionism is fear, the fear of messing up, fear of being seen, or fear of failure. 

As an entrepreneur, I struggled to push past that fear and try anyways, knowing I have tons more I’d like to improve but can’t do it all at once.

Knowing we can’t fix it all at once

An extension of overcoming perfectionism, we know that CBD will not fix everything in someone’s life. It’s one tool of many. Health and wellness also depend on things like social connections, financial security, access to physicians, clean air and water, and many other things that are largely beyond any one person or even company’s control. 

We do our best to focus on CBD being one tool and providing that the best we can, showing genuine care through our customer service, connecting people to other wellness resources, and talking about things like how financial health and inequalities contribute to individuals’ community’s well-being.

Regulatory Issues

Seconding Sean, the inequity in the cannabis space is incredibly difficult to see and takes constant reflection on what my part in it is as a white person in this industry and what I can do about it. People are way more aware and outspoken than they used to be, but that hasn’t necessarily transferred to actual action to restore the harm done by the war on drugs or make sure black and brown people benefit most from legalization. It’s still an incredibly inequitable industry.

What are three pieces of advice you can share with people looking to become influential leaders in their businesses, and why? 

Know yourself

We are all incredibly unique, and one size does not fit all when it comes to advice, working styles, leadership, etc. Ignore people who give advice like it is. You don’t have to wake up at 6 am, meditate and exercise regularly, or work 10 hours a day to succeed. Learn about yourself and experiment with what works best for you rather than just adopting what others say worked for them.

Focus on your sustainability

You’re in it for the long haul, and if you burn yourself out, you’re not going to be able to continue to share your gifts with the world. Of course, sometimes you have to push and run a sprint. But overall, life is a marathon, and you’ll do best when you focus on balance in the long run and preserving your health and energy to have a multi-decade long career rather than fizzling out.

Have fun

Ask yourself if it must be so serious, difficult, or urgent. We tend to make a bigger deal out of things and make them urgent when they aren’t. Always see where you can take some pressure off, leave more room for creativity, and simplify the process. We’ve been told we must work hard for everything and nothing good comes without sweat, but that isn’t necessarily true. 

You can have fun doing the work, and you can always lower the stakes, it’s not brain surgery!

What are your three greatest fears as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage them?

Failure

This is an inherent fear most people have, and I manage it by pushing myself to increase my failure tolerance daily. For example, I hate negotiating, so I push myself to ask for a discount every day to flex this muscle, and you’d be surprised how often I get it! By increasing my tolerance for failure, I achieve more, quicker.

Being seen

I push myself to challenge this fear by sharing what I am learning in the open and about my mistakes and challenges, rather than trying to craft an image of perfection. 

Disappointing people

Cure Crate strives to listen to customers and provide excellent service. We hate when something grows wrong, but it’s inevitable. I manage my fear by responding quickly and creating a culture where we go above and beyond for customers because we truly care about them.