Baked Bros co-founder and CEO Thomas Rimbach was 18 years old when his mother died of a pharmaceutical overdose, a tragedy that set the course of his career.
First, Rimbach tried the military; next was medical school. All the while, he turned to cannabis to help him cope.
When Rimbach’s friend Nadeem Al-Hasan approached him about getting into the cannabis industry, he was hesitant at first, but decided if they could win a High Times Cannabis Cup, it would be worth exploring getting into the business. They won the People’s Choice Award in 2015 with an infused baclava and decided to go for it.
“It really put me on a path I wouldn’t have been put on otherwise,” said Rimbach, who shifted his studies from medical school to business. “The products we make today came from lots of mentorship and consultation from Candy Hall of Fame confectionary members.”
The company has grown to be among the largest distributors of cannabis edibles products in Arizona without ever holding its own license. Instead, Baked Bros leases a license from one of the state’s original license holders.
Baked Bros used to handle all its own extraction for their line of THC-infused gummies and syrups but decided they needed that space to manufacture their products. The syrups, which Rimach said are great on pancakes and in barbecue sauces, come in flavors like mango, strawberry kiwi, and watermelon, as well as an unflavored version.
“We needed the space to grow the manufacturing, and we realized that we should stay in our lane, and that is consistently dosing edibles,” Rimbach said. “We outsource the distillate with secured contracts from vendors in the state.”
Baked Bros is undergoing a rebranding effort to make their products more attractive to women, who represent about 60 percent of their customers. The new look is also is meant to reflect the company’s recent entry into Arizona’s fledgling adult-use market. Baked Bros’ rebranded products, which will have a neutral blue color scheme as opposed to the green it currently uses, are expected to launch in August.
“Green brings that stigma to cannabis of being an old-school pothead,” Rimbach said.
Since its inception, Baked Bros has adhered to their “ICE” core values. ICE stands for Impact, Consistency, and Excellence. Part of the rebranding efforts include shifting the word “Consistency” to “Compassion” because most edibles makers today have figured out how to make their products the same way every time.
The switch also gives Baked Bros the opportunity to better align their core values with their internal culture, which is focused on the compassion the company has for its staff, patients and consumers. In keeping with the new emphasis on compassion, Baked Bros is donating a portion of the proceeds from each sale to organizations that conduct research into sleep and the impact of psychedelics on mental health.
Rimbach’s advice to those just getting into the industry is to “fail fast and make decisions.” That approach enables young companies to learn from their mistakes and adapt their strategies so they can move on, he said.
“When you make a decision, you get a consequence, whether it’s positive or negative,” Rimbach said. “There is an unlimited amount of problem solving in this industry. When you fail, it’s always a lesson.”
After spending years hiding his cannabis use, Rimbach said that helping to remove the stigma that’s associated with the plant is among the most fulfilling aspects of being in the industry.
“The more recognition we get from legalization legislation, the more people are starting to open up their minds to really understand a different way to relax and combat stress,” Rimbach said. “We’re trying to connect with as many consumers as we can on an emotional level so we can drive the industry forward.”