The tale rings true: Rosie Mattio knows how to sell. She is the founder of
In April, we caught up with Rosie Mattio at the Green Growth Summit in Chicago, where Mattio was asked to moderate the panel relating to marketing within the cannabis industry. She shares with High There about her background, raising her four daughters at home and how to succeed in the business of cannabis.
Rosie Mattio’s Entrance into Cannabis
High There: How did you get your start in the cannabis industry?
Rosie Mattio: It sort of fell into my lap. I consumed cannabis socially in college. Then I had kids, and I was living in New York. So you know… babies, so smoking cannabis wasn’t really a part of my life. My background was in PR, and I started my agency. I was a person of my own back in 2004 when I got engaged. My experience was in specialty foods, so I did a popcorn company and vinegar company, amongst other things.
Then my husband had a tech startup, and there’s no money when you have a startup. So I became a publicist. I had just one or two clients, here and there, and then we moved out to Seattle in 2013 for my husband’s job, and the startup ended up failing. And then, somebody approached me with the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for a cookbook. It was a cannabis cookbook. So, I had just moved to Seattle. Driving to get to school, I saw lines at the dispensary, and cannabis had just become legal in Seattle. So I took this project on and got this company in Mashable and New York Times. They all wanted to write the story.
So after that project, the light bulb went off in my head that I could bring my mainstream background in PR to cannabis. And now, eight years later, we’re [MATTIO Communications], one of the largest firms in the [cannabis] space. I always tell this story that my husband was turning 40 when we lived in Seattle, and he had never tried weed in his whole life. So we went out to a wine bar one night, and we passed some dispensaries.
My husband said we should try some “pot chocolates,” and first I said, “they’re called edibles.” I texted my client that time and asked, “what should we get?” I also was not a big edibles person. And he was like, “take two of these and call me the morning” type thing. So we each take a 10 milligram edible. And so at first, we don’t feel anything. And all of a sudden we’re like, “Oh my God, we feel it!” Now it’s like my passion! The business, the plant, the industry.
The MATTIO Communications Philosophy
HT: Does MATTIO Communications have a philosophy or mission that is followed for your clients?
Mattio: There is a “no asshole policy” across the board. The main reason cannabis succeeds and so many people enjoy it is that we have a very collaborative and friendly culture.
Because I’ve worked for PR, where the work environment can be toxic and filled with not so lovely people, it’s PR, not the ER. We have no patience in any politicking, no attitude. So my responsibility is to make sure that employees get paid every two weeks and that the quality of their work-life is excellent.
I fire clients who cannot keep a respectful attitude. But, on the other hand, if you show up passionate about the brand, and this is an excellent place to work with you, it’s a good match. I have very high expectations for myself and my employees. So we have to see that passion from our clients to take pride in our work.
HT: What do you like to do outside of your professional life?
Mattio: Fitness is a massive part of my life. I have my job, kids, husband and passion for fitness. I’m very high-energy. If I don’t blow off steam in the morning, like nobody wants to be around me, and I’m not fun to be around.
I’m a competitive person, but not with other people. I’m very competitive with myself. So I like signing up for a challenge since this can be a very stressful job at times, so challenges give me something like something else to focus on. I’m always doing something nuts when it comes to fitness.
Mattio Communications Expands: MATTIO+FIORE
HT: Can you tell me about your new partner company,
Mattio: So we started just in PR, just me – a one-woman show, a couple of clients, such as High There. Clients would start asking us, ‘hey, you know anybody on social media?” And then the next frontier was marketing through paid media like programmatic advertising. We decided that it would be a great idea to become more involved in social marketing. So we decided to collaborate with Madison Fiore.
I called him up back in October and asked “Would you like to have your own company?” He’s like, “I do.” So we have started this joint venture. He’s CEO of MATTIO+FIORE, we’re a partner company to one another, and he’s running it, and we have a couple of clients currently. And that’s like the next thing. And I know I’ve only worked with earned media in the past. So I’m learning the language, and I think this will be a great partnership.
Women in the Cannabis Industry
HT: Do you have any advice for women who want to break into the cannabis industry?
Mattio: Finding a network of other women is super important. Then you have some peers to bounce ideas off of and develop trust for each other. Women you can seek advice from, counsel from, and bounce ideas off of to give yourself confidence are influential.
As much as I hate to say it, we (women) have to work harder. We have to be prepared because men would never be asked some of the questions we get in the cannabis industry. The best advice I can give to any woman is to go to all events that you can. If someone invites you somewhere, you show up – you never know what opportunities will be there – and women are not always given the same opportunities as men. Hence, it’s essential to be ambitious and get your name out there. Just show up and say “yes.” You never know what will happen.
Back when I lived in Seattle, I just started networking by myself. I would sit at this shitty bar, drink this shitty wine, and just listen to people talk. Then, I decided I wanted to start and get my name out there through sponsorships, but I didn’t want to speak at any events. I didn’t know anything. I only had one client, and I was not educated about the topics. So I said on one occasion, “I’ll have you put my name on the flyer, but I do not want to speak for the event.” So then, I started a conversation at an event with someone who was getting ready to speak, we met up the next day, and he’s been a client for over six years now.
So if I had not shown up, didn’t speak to him, was scared to meet anyone, and had no one to talk to, who knows where I would be today.