Cecilia Sivertson: Nana’s Secret
Shhhh! Listen closely because this is the only time that you’re going to catch Nana spilling any of her coveted secrets. She’s an entrepreneur with a heart dedicated to treating children with epilepsy and an unwavering drive to achieve just that. Who’s this dimensional woman running the show backstage? That would be none other than Cecilia Sivertson, the bright, spunky personality that will be bringing Nana’s Secret cannabis sodas to your shelves soon!
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
It all started when I saw a Facebook post of a little girl who was very ill and didn’t have access to the cannabis treatment she needed for her seizures. I have epilepsy, so I knew how important cannabis was to me as a medical patient, and I wanted everyone else to have the relief that I’ve found for my condition. And the only way I decided I could do that was to produce the product, which I have done; do the branding, which i have done; and get it into retail, which I’m very close to doing. I can then license and brand myself in every medical and recreational state that exists as well as the states that are soon to come. That way there will be money to donate to children with epilepsy who don’t have access, but need it desperately.
What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?
I’ve been doing the same type of business, only a little bit different, for quite some time. I own a label company where we print custom labels. It just so happened that the gentlemen who bottles Nana’s Secret is the same gentleman that we printed labels for in the past. So, I was really already in the business. I just had to meet with some people and develop the soda recipe for the cannabis to be added to and we succeeded. It worked! That’s where we’re at right now.
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
Right now, we are focused on attaining the license to retail across the country. I’m just really really enjoying working in this industry because everyone who I’ve worked with so far are such nice people. You don’t have any stress at all. You go into work knowing that you’ll have fun that day. Not many people in other industries and positions can say that; I’ve worked in the prosecutor’s office and the label shop and neither job made me happy to go into work quite like this one does.
I’m just really really enjoying working in this industry because everyone who I’ve worked with so far are such nice people.
This industry is so new and so many people want to work in it and need jobs. Nana’s Secret can generate new jobs for people. I can duplicate my current bottling shop, place it in other states and cities, create all kinds of new jobs for people and pay huge amounts of taxes to the state. It’s a win-win for everyone! There is so much room to grow in this industry and it will help out a lot of people.
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
Driven. I work 24/7.
What do you consider your weakness as an entrepreneur? Your strength?
My weakness has been my ability to get the funding needed for this business. I’ve been operating since April 2013; I got the business up and running after a month of dedication and effort, but I’ve spent an entire year and a half looking for the proper funding and location for the 502. I have only recently been able to secure both of those, but it took a very very long time. We’re now close to being in production as far as signing the lease, putting in the equipment, and starting the growth.
My strengths are the relationships I’ve built through my label company through the last 10 years. Because of those, I have a huge source of high-quality businesses to produce products. With our network, Nana’s Secret can expand to all the other markets… Nana’s Secret Spa, Nana’s Secret Spot, Nana’s Secret Story, Nana’s Secret B&B… The possibilities are endless and that’s a huge strength to have in business.
How are you differentiating yourself from the competition?
I have the best quality soda. I have the best quality branding. I have the best quality packaging and label; I have the ability to do whatever I want with as many labels as I want. I have the capacity and flexibility to label all my products as Nana’s products. I have previous experience and great expertise on my side. And going back to what I said first – We have the best product! We truly do have the BEST soda on the market. It tastes delicious and many can’t even taste the cannabis in it. I’ve tried a few other cannabis sodas here locally in Seattle and I honestly wouldn’t buy them again. I poured out many of them after just a sip… Nana’s Secret is definitely the best soda out there!
How do you find inspiration in this industry? What have you found that has inspired you?
The people that you work with; a lot of them are medical patients, like myself. These are the people who push forward 24/7 and it’s so inspiring to watch! I know two young gentlemen who were in an accident who should’ve died, but they survived and are both medical cannabis patients. They both love Nana and love working for Nana!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Build your brand first! My associate, that I work with, imports and exports various products to China and has developed 3 or 4 different brands for different products whether that be wine, coffee, tea, etc.. I worked on a project with him for about 4 years developing a dietary supplement and its packaging and it’s now selling in China on a multi-level marketing plan; the whole time I worked with him was like being in school learning. I had to learn branding! He was senior VP of Wizard of the Coast when they sold Pokemon to Hasbrough for $400 million. He’s very very sharp! We are actually talking to him about doing a gaming card similar to that of Pokemon, expect having Nana’s Secret sodas on them.
What’s your newest knowledge about the marijuana industry?
You know, I try to stay out of what’s going on politically because every day it changes, but I recently attended a city council meeting with the Mayor. A lot of people are worried that the 502 (legal recreational use) will leave medical by the wayside; patients are thinking that the medical dispensaries are going to shut down and they won’t have access to that high-quality medical cannabis that they need, but they reiterated in Seattle that that would not be happening. They are continuing to talk about bringing on more legislation for medical as well as recreational. There are already so many established businesses out there and there are more and more coming. This is an exciting time for business. It’s a whole new economy getting started. The city of Seattle has already seen how much money they are bringing-in in taxes from cannabis and their whole attitude has changed. It’s an exciting time to live in.
It’s a whole new economy getting started.
If you could rewind time to 5 years ago, how would your business be different?
I feel like if I did what I’m doing now 5 years ago, it would have happened the same way. The Nana brand is a phenomenon. People come up to me, hug me, tell me that they love me, and I’m over here thinking, ‘Oh my! I don’t know these people!’ But these are people who have drank my soda, have serious health issues, and believe that the soda made them feel better. They see me and recognize my funny haircut. It’s very humbling when this happens and it happens to me on a daily basis now.
What will we be seeing from you and Nana’s Secret in the coming future?
Nana has a new secret every day. I can’t really tell you what we’re going to be doing before you see it, but you will see it! You’ll see everything from a clothing brand to a nationwide education series to educate children. But that’s all I’m going to tell you because it is Nana’s secret. There is no limit with what can be done in this industry!