Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me about yourself? Where are you from? When did you first discover cannabis? How old were you?
Bejan Farahbakhsh=BF: I was born and raised in the Bay Area (Hayward, CA to be specific). I’m a first-generation American. My father is from Iran and was an entrepreneur his whole life. He always had a “no fear” spirit and faced challenges head on. I always admired him being his own boss and that probably led me to follow in his footsteps.
Truthfully, I discovered cannabis when I was a teenager and experimented with it casually as I grew up. I’ve always been interested in the space and felt passionate about the decriminalization of cannabis. Spacestation is my first venture into corporate cannabis and we’re excited to get involved in the conversations around innovation and regulation.
WB: Did you go to Business School? What were your goals in college? Have you ever been a corporate leader?
BF: I went to my local community college for a little while, about a year and a half, but it wasn’t for me. My internal drive to be an entrepreneur was so fierce that I left to go work with my father in the gas station industry. I spent 26 years in the gas station business with Arco Am Pm - building, owning, operating, managing and consulting - working with top executives within the industry to move and shape innovation and growth. In that time, won both Franchisee of the Year Award (2017) and Rookie of the Year (2007). I operated and owned some of the highest volume gas stations in the Bay Area in terms of store and fuel sales. This was due to providing value to our customers. The value was in great customer service, cleanliness and competitive pricing. These factors lead to loyalty and our repeat customer count was tremendous.
WB: Do you cook? If so who taught you? Do you have a favorite restaurant? Where is it, what type of food? Is there any food or drink that brings a tear to your eye when you eat or drink it? Why?
BF: I do cook. I learned everything I know from my father, who has 2.5 acres of farmland. I grew up around cows and chickens and always had a fresh vegetable garden in my backyard. So with that mindset, I’m always looking to source fresh ingredients. My favorite is Persian, a good kabob with rice and vegetables from my father’s garden. Enjoying this with my friends and family is truly priceless.
WB: What is your six month plan for your company. Twelve months? How do you stay relevant in a marketplace filled with cannabis products? What event inspired you to be in cannabis drinks?
BF: Over the next six months, the Spacestation team is mainly focused on the operations and manufacturing side of the business, crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s. The real focus here is quality assurance for the many beverage clients we are managing co-packing for and the development of our own in-house products and introduction to the market. In 2020, we’ll shift focus to growing the business and increasing our capacity and manufacturing capabilities. It’s important to us to maintain close relationships with our consumers and grow the business based on our understanding of their wants and needs. Customers will be the driving force behind this industry so we need to listen to them. We’ll stay relevant by meeting what they’re asking for. We’re also always looking to expand our network and continue ongoing communication across various industries to gauge what’s coming next and how to lead that charge.
A majority of our sales in the gas station industry were packaged beverages. I’ve always been an avid enthusiast of cannabis and saw an untapped potential in the marriage of the two. I thought a lot about the health benefits of shifting focus to ingesting cannabis via infused beverages, as opposed to smoking. My wife and I also didn’t want smoke in the house but we drank wine. Naturally, our solution was cannabis-infused beverages.
WB: What is your passion?
BF: Taking care of my family and leaving a legacy on the planet - doing good for others and fighting for the ones with no voice. I wake up every day excited to set an example for my children. I hope they are someday able to look at my experience and hardships and build upon that.