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DISPENSING KNOWLEDGE

Sira Spotlight: Cultivating Product Innovation & Development
Posted by Andrew Sharp

As we approach the end of Summer, we at Sira Naturals reflect upon the hard work and dedication of our amazing staff!

 The Sira Marketing Team sat down with Operations Program Manager, John Shea, to hear his story and learn about his role in shaping product development. Originally from Massachusetts, John spent years in the Colorado Cannabis industry before returning home to his roots, with a new focus on developing MA's cannabis market.

JShea

What is your role at Sira? How long have you worked at Sira?

I have been working at Sira since March of 2019. I primarily assist in new product development, METRC operations and lend support in other aspects of the facility, where I've had prior experience.

Why is product development so crucial to Sira’s operations?

Product development is very important. You are working on something that affects multiple departments and employees who produce it, so you want the production of that to go smoothly. At the same time, it needs to be representative of the Sira brand and it should be an item that the company can be proud of. Lastly, we’re trying to create something that enhances the consumers cannabis experience and we take how the public feel about our products very seriously.

What is your favorite aspect of managing the product development process?

Getting to work on something that the public hasn’t seen yet and trying to make that product special and unique prior to release.

What are the key steps involved in bringing a new product to market?

Brainstorming through how the process will work start to finish, vendor sourcing for packaging, design of that packaging and finally connecting the dots with multiple departments to ensure a smooth launch.

What is Sira’s Staff Patient Research and Development program?

This is a program we do internally at Sira. We essentially preview new products to staff patients and those staff members who participate, provide feedback through surveys. We custom create the surveys for each new product and their catered to give us specific details that help determine if the product needs to be redesigned or if its something the company as whole feels Sira should present to the medical and recreational markets. 

What sets cannabis product development apart from R&D in other industries?

Cannabis companies unfortunately do not have all the same marketing and branding opportunities that other industries do because state regulations set certain restrictions on this. State restrictions are not necessarily a bad thing because it is largely for public safety. However, it does make sourcing packaging, unique designs and creating brand identity more challenging. The interesting thing about the restriction’s states have set is that it has inspired companies to think in different ways about the products they develop, and it has sparked a new revolution in packaging design options from vendors.

What do you love most about working in the cannabis industry?

I love that cannabis has given me a career and a unique job opportunity. It has been fun being part of a new industry because it’s constantly evolving. There’s still opportunities present unique ideas and create exclusive experiences for the consumer. 

How has your prior cannabis experience informed your role in Massachusetts today?

Working in the Colorado market for 5 years gave me an opportunity to see what may be ahead of us in Massachusetts. Most of the solutions I present to the company today are in response to things I have seen before. I want to use that experience to help Sira be prepared for what may come in the future.  

Any new or upcoming products currently in the works?

There are always products in the works! Sira has a long list of ideas that are either in R&D phase currently or we are planning to launch later. I could let everyone in on what they’ll see next, but it would ruin the surprise.  

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

I love to create music and go to see live music. I was a student in audio engineering once upon a time, so the live experience still captivates my interest. Music in general is something that I’ve always been obsessed with and its something that I feel connects people.

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