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Interior Decorator Megan Stone helps give dispensaries a new look

Megan
Stone is an interior designer who has been working in the cannabis industry since
2013, when High Road Design studio was born. Since then, she has faced the
daunting task of catering to an en

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egan
Stone is an interior designer who has been working in the cannabis industry since
2013, when High Road Design studio was born. Since then, she has faced the
daunting task of catering to an entire industry as one of the first interior
design consultants working for dispensaries with overwhelming enthusiasm.

Megan
got her start in 2010, when she was a medical cannabis patient in California
and worked for a dispensary as a budtender in Orange Country while getting her
Associate’s in design. While in that situation, she started to put two and two
together and realized she could create a whole new industry.

“At
that time it wasn’t really a career path; the industry was still in its early
stages,” she says of doing interior decorating for dispensaries. “I took
working in a dispensary as a great experience to get to have before I had to
grow up and figure out what I wanted to be. But as I was working as a
budtender, I fell so in love with the patients and the business. Since I was
going through design school, the owner of the business asked me if I wanted to
help remodel a little bit, and we got new display cases, made some design
changes, just did some simple basic things, but it made such a huge difference.
People started calling us the “Tiffany’s of dispensaries” just because we
actually paid attention to our layout.”

 

Once
she realized this passion, she left the dispensary in 2013 to start her own
interior design consulting firm, High Road Design Studio. Now, her days are
filled with helping dispensary owners plan their layouts and put a special spin
on how they are presenting their products. “A lot of my job is being an
entrepreneur, running my business and making sure my business is out there,” she told us. “A lot is also planning the design process for
this industry, since it really does not exist yet. We know things about the
buying behavior of other retail industries, but we are really just getting
started learning how our customers shop and how our stores really work. And a
lot of our time is also spent working on client products. As a consultant I do
a lot as far as helping people find new space plans and find new ways to
display certain products. Every day is very different, and every morning I wake
up with a very new set of tasks to accomplish.”

However,
as with any new industry, Megan faces several setbacks as an interior design
consultant. “One of the really odd things that makes it hard from a retail
design standpoint to get around are some of the regulations regarding how we
can display our product and regarding sample sizes, etc.,” she said. “In
Washington State, the retailers really don’t have a high quality way to display
their product. They have really low sample regulations, and customers can’t
touch or get too close to the product. Many of the spaces these stores are
allowed to operate in are not ideal for a retail environment; they are in
office buildings or professional spaces, and you have to be able to figure out
how to give them a retail feel. But that is slowly starting to change, as more
dispensaries are opening in accessible retail areas.”

Megan’s
job is exciting and full of challenges, but she accepts those challenges with
grace and excitement for each new obstacle in her path. “I see marijuana and
cannabis retail stores becoming just as prized and just as sought after and
elegant and beautiful as restaurants, coffee shops and craft breweries. I think
eventually we will have place where you can consume on sight like they do in
Amsterdam, and that would open up a whole new realm of possibility. It is
really an exciting new realm, with a really bright future.”

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