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Five Concise Questions with Bryan Gerber, the “King of Cones”

Five Concise Questions with Bryan Gerber, the “King of Cones”

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Rolling papers. If you smoke pre-rolled joints, you’re probably familiar with the big players, and we all know who they are, but have you ever heard of Hara Supply? Probably not, and that’s not your fault. They like it that way. Hara Supply offers a dissimilar path in the production of cones. But not just the end result. What Hara Supply has done is far different from its industry peers. They’ve kept the metric for success in place- that is for certain. But what they have achieved is more “pro-social” in nature than in the final resulting product. They have worked with local individuals to change the way the cones are produced. This means upgrading the working conditions and the quality of the raw ingredients. It also means understanding the supply chain and manufacturing a product that you’re very proud of with all the right components. Kosher, HAACP, Clean Rooms- and that’s just the start of it. Still with me? There is more to building a pre-roll cone than just spit and paper- although that’s where I began back in the early 1970s. We’ve moved forward from those days and have Bryan to thank for making it all look easy- and high-end! Thank you for the enlightenment and good Karma.

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you now? Why cannabis?

Bryan Gerber: Born and raised in Maryland, I began my cannabis journey when I was in high school, seshing with friends and appreciating the sense of calm it gave me. After college, I was smoking frequently and purchasing rolling papers from Amazon but was unable to subscribe to monthly discounted orders because of the product. This inconvenience led to the creation of Hemper, the cannabis subscription box service I wish I had had during those times. I have been starting companies since age 16, which gave me the confidence to just go for it. Alongside my accounting background and understanding of profitability, I was able to get the business off the ground.

Three years later, with operations out of LA and NY, we began developing our manufacturing side of the business, which became a product development hub with a solutions partner approach. That’s when we launched Hara Supply, which is the cones side of the business. There was a major cones shortage at the time – we were able to fill that demand, helping to fix supply chain issues and getting brands the highest quality products. In late 2019 (right before the pandemic), we relocated our entire NY warehouse and LA office team to Vegas, which is where the business is based today.

WB: What are you working on now? What makes your product different than your peers?

BG: When we got into cone manufacturing, lead times were 15+ weeks to get custom-branded cones in the industry, and unfortunately, we saw many sweatshop models producing low-quality cones. We came in and wanted to clean it all up – the lead time, the quality issues, and the working standards. HARA Supply has 14 facilities out of India, carefully managed by our co-founder RJ – everything is produced in clean rooms and GMP, ISO, and HACCP certified. Many of the other providers are buying capacity from people in India or Indonesia, and they don’t actually own or operate these facilities like we do. They don’t have any control or prioritization capabilities.

Today, we are the largest manufacturer of cannabis cones and combustibles in the world, producing 100 million + cones monthly (over a billion a year) for the market’s largest MSOs (17 of the top 30), dispensaries, and CPG brands (60% of the top 200) like Jeeter, Stizzy, and Zig-Zag, helping to cut costs, increase quality, and expand customization potential. We make sure to customize everything, from size, shape, color, design, and beyond, to fit the growing wants and needs of today’s brands and consumers.
We also operate HARA Brands, a diversified cannabis accessory and lifestyle brand that designs and sells innovative products for consumers and industry partners in the smoking market. These include the brands Hemper, Goody Glass, KRYO, and Smokefiends, through which we offer subscription boxes and a la cart shopping for core essentials dedicated to the smoking world, such as bongs, cones, bubblers, dab rigs, dab tools, grinders, rolling trays, vape pens, cleaning products, and more.

WB: Do you have a mentor? From whom did you learn your craft?

BG: I have been blessed with an incredible team and support system. My business would have been impossible to scale without funding, so I wouldn’t be here today without my first investors, Greg Smith, Mike Heller, and Emily and Morgan Paxhia. I also have to shout out RJ, my college roommate and business partner, whose logical thinking and advice continue to be instrumental. Finally, with his experience in marketing and design perspective from Adidas, Hypebeast, and more, our third founder Thai Tran has also been an amazing resource to learn from.

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WB: What are your six and twelve-month goals?

Bryan Gerber: In the next 6-12 months, our goal is to continue driving revenue and overall growth while watching the bottom line, as the cost of capital has recently increased drastically. One of the ways we are accomplishing this is by getting into more retail channels, including mass-market convenience stores, mainstream retailers, and dispensaries, expanding both our product suite and customer base.

WB: What is your passion?

BG: Mindset around health and wellness is huge for me. Your health is a gift and needs to be put first, no matter what form that takes. It can mean different things to different people, and I think that normalizing cannabis use as part of such routines is a great place to start. The plant stands to benefit people from all walks of life, and I would love to see more people giving it a chance to change their lives the way it has changed mine.

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