About Daikoku: The Cannabis Boutique is on a Potcast

(And no, that’s not a typo.)

My full name, Mireille Tessier, tends to stick out in Edmonton. It also sticks out in the cannabis industry. It’s obviously French – or foreign, if you’re unfamiliar with Canada’s second official language – and not obviously female. Which is why I usually go by the far more pronounceable moniker of “Mimi.”

For the curious, my name rhymes with “Mini Death Ray.”

it’s pronounced [Mee-Ray]

What we talk about

Francophones and females are underrepresented in the legal Canadian world of grass. It’s one of the topics Luc Prévost (the ToPot’s host) and I talk about, in French, during the 44 minute episode.

During the podcast, Luc and I also discuss:

  • Why William decided to open a weed store;
  • How we decided to come to Edmonton;
  • How pot stores are different in Alberta and in Quebec;
  • What Daikoku is (although not where our name comes from!);
  • How we talk about ganja with our growing boy.

One of my favourite interviews

In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to speak about Cannabis in general, and Daikoku specifically, on TV with Ici Radio-Canada in Alberta, during the Ici Alberta’s radio morning “Café Show,” at the C-Tribe Festival, in the Le Journal Franco, during the the Rendez-vous des Affaires and, more recently and regularly, on Radio Cité, Franco-Edmonton’s community radio. When it comes to visibility, we have been spoilt rotten.

But this is the first time in a long time that I was able to take a moment to pause and think about how far we’ve come. Many of you may not know that Daikoku is not, in fact, my first business. But it is the first time I had a business start so backwards.

Before Daikoku was even incorporated, we already had letters of intent for leasing a location, a working relationship with my contractor, store designs, a lawyer and an accountant. We incorporated days before we sent our final application to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (the AGLC) in April 2018. We got our final cannabis permit exactly one year later.

We moved from Quebec to Alberta in July of 2018, just in time for K-days, knowing only a handful of people, with no promise of a business actually coming to fruition.

Looking back on it during this potcast, it hits me how much of a trip this was. The shakiness in my voice is as much nerves as emotion. It was hard not to cry sometimes – out of sheer relief, maybe?

Hope you enjoy the podcast as much as I do – bonne écoute!

Mimi

Zoomed in: Daikoku’s Greenhouse

I’d been toying with the idea of DIY miniature dollhouses for a couple of years. And, like everything else on the Internet after you click that one link, my social media channels started showing ads for Rolife’s Miniature dollhouses. The Greenhouse is ostensibly the best selling kit, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. 

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail

Before I actually started glueing anything together, I watched quite a few videos. This video by Cris.Crafts speeds up the process of unboxing and building the kit. However, this video by Kixkillradio Miniatures showed me that when it comes to miniatures, you’re only limited by your imagination. This came in handy when a few “happy accidents” occurred.

I also looked at the Amazon reviews to see what extra items were needed when buying this kit. Glue was the top recommendation.

Here are a few more I learned on the way:

  • An X-acto knife, box cutter or blade. You want this VERY sharp (so be careful and maybe do the cutting of pieces while sober…)
  • Scissors: Fabric scissors, paper scissors and embroidery scissors were all used in the making of my miniatures.
  • A self-healing cutting mat. Unless you want new decorative etchings on your table.
  • Acrylic paint and assortment of brushes. If you want to change up the colour scheme, acrylics tend to be the cheapest method of getting good, opaque coverage.
  • Toothpicks or a needle tool. Because the glue will inevitably bubble over, and a toothpick is a quick way to grab a small gob of it and apply it to small pieces.
  • Origami paper, scrapbooking paper, white card stock and black card stock. I prefer using papers with small motifs or patterns so they don’t look out of scope in the 1:24 scale miniature. Or paint my own (watercolours are very forgiving).

Top tip: I didn’t know this until my fourth kit, but it’s a good idea to scan all the pages of the papers you have to cut.

In case you have a happy accident.  Or several.

ABC, easy as 1, 2,3

I followed the steps in order, building the shelves first, and then the smaller decorative pieces. I only started taking pictures once the decorative pieces were stuck on the floor.

Things I learned with this kit:

  • The transparent glue dries relatively quickly. Add as little glue as you can, hold the pieces together for a count of 10. If the pieces aren’t stuck together by then add a LITTLE BIT more glue. I did not. As a result, I see several places where there’s excess glue (no one else seems to see them, or at least no one says anything).
  • Add your own touches. This is probably the most important. By the time I was done with all the big shelves and decor items, I had a big brown bag that was supposed to read “Flower.” Being the kind of girl I am, I changed it to a Big Bag o’ Weed, which brought me to add several weed references to the miniature.
  • The transparent lid of the greenhouse is the single most evil thing in the kit. Actually, it’s every single transparent acrylic that’s included in the kits as I always get them caked with glue. Anyone have tips for me?
  • Double-check the instructions. Ok, that’s not a fair statement. I didn’t learn that (as future miniatures will show), but as a result of speeding by the instructions I glued everything on the wrong side of the floor. I had to carefully remove all the items, doing my best to avoid bending, breaking and otherwise destroying them. Then I ended up painting the floor. Fun times.

Things I improved after this kit

  • I became a  lot more confident when painting and customizing the kits. In subsequent kits, I wanted to keep Daikoku’s official colour scheme of white with dark accents, and the occasional bright ray of yellow on a backdrop of greenery. After I did the small customizations on the greenhouse, it was less scary to paint the floor or the walls in my next few kits. 
  • I learned about the differences in sandpaper grit. After this kit, I learned which sandpaper to use to remove paint from the wood, which to use to prep the wood and which to use to smooth out the paint. I’m sure most people know, but just in case I’ll let you in on my secret in the next kit blog post.
  • I picked up polymer clay again. While it’s incredibly impressive and satisfying to use odds and ends, recycled materials, leftover craft pieces and the actual pieces they give you in the kits, you just can’t find bongs and pipes at a 1:24 scale. And trying to make them out of leftover craft items didn’t look quite so pretty as the ones I sculpted. But more on that when we talk about Kit 2: Daikoku’s Coffeeshop.

Under the loupe: Reefer References

Big Bag of Weed on the front left shelf

Daikoku Sticker on Easel as artwork (has a bong and bags of weed)

A marijuana leaf on the floor, under the front shelf

The lady in the painting to the left of the door has a joint in her mouth (which is shoddily drawn in)

The marijuana plant in front of the store

The Devil’s Lettuce sign in the bottom bin

Life at 1:24

You’re going to make mistakes. Your hands will be covered in glue. You’re going to notice all the places you mess up. But you’re the only one who will.

When you’re done, no one wil know what you could’ve done better. The ‘mistakes’ that you fix become what make your miniature kit your own.

You also get an incredible high from people complimenting you, looking for reefer references, and from finishing something you created. Actually, just cutting up the monstera plant and having someone recognize it (those plants were really hard to cut!) for what it is is pretty amazing.

Where you can pick up your supplies

Check out these local businesses to see where you can stock up on supplies:

(Please note that the completed kits at the store are not for for sale.)

Daikoku Local Artist Search

Daikoku Artist Search

We are on a mission to find an Edmonton artist to help design a Daikoku-esque image for our new t-shirts. (This way, we get to combine our love for Edmonton with our love for the arts!) We’ll be letting our following vote for their favourite design. The winning design will receive a $500 award for their creation. The winning design will be used principally on our t-shirts, but might also be featured on other swag!

Sounds like something up your alley? Great! Here’s now you can enter: 

  1. Create a Daikoku Design using our logo and the theme of bubbles/water – you know, that iconic sound of a bubbler. 
  2. Submit your design(s) to questions+design@daikoku.ca – AI, EPS or PDF file formats are preferred – deadline for art submissions is October 4, 2020 at 11.59pm MST 
  3. Designs will then be shared across our social channels for voting. Encourage your friends and family to vote for your design! The art with the most votes will be chosen as the winner – voting period is October 5, 2020 8am MST to October 10, 2020 11:59pm MST. The winning design will be announced October 11th 

Here are some additional details you should note: 

  • Designs must not be appealing to youth; depict a person character or animal, whether real or fictional; or be presented in a way that evokes a positive or negative emotion about or image of, a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.
  • You must be 18+ to enter, but this contest is in no way meant to encourage or create glamour around the consumption of cannabis 
  • You must be a resident of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region
  • There is no purchase necessary to enter 
  • The winner will be chosen based on voting counts, viewers will be able to vote once per design. 
  • The winning designer will receive a $500 cash award as payment for the use of their design
  • The winner will be contacted via direct message and email to determine an appropriate method to collect payment

Business as usual. Well, except for…

It’s been a long few days (anyone else struggling to keep a child educated and occupied?).

Amid all the chaos, we wanted to let you know what’s going on at daikoku, and to reassure you that business, for the most part, remains as usual. And that we have a healthy inventory of dried bud, vapes, edibles – even soft chews! – oils and caps.

Our plan is to have Daikoku remain open from 10 AM to 9:30 PM daily.

To ensure everyone’s safety and in compliance with the city of Edmonton’s Mask By-law, we have a no-mask, no entry policy.

We took the decision to stay open with our regular hours after discussions with our staff and taking into consideration the effect that shorter hours might have on in-store foot traffic, especially with regards to density. We also want to try and keep normalcy going for as long as possible, for you and for our team.

It goes without saying that we sanitize regularly. We’re also very lucky in the fact that the store is very large. In an effort to keep everyone healthy, we will ask you to utilize all that room: let’s spread out and keep at least one meter away from everyone.

Thanks for all your help. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Keep it fun,

Mimi

Acknowledgements

On May 24th 2018, we signed our lease on the premises that would become Daikoku.

Today, almost a full year later, we’ve officially (re-)opened – we’d been selling accessories since January 2nd – and have started selling cannabis. It’s a lot of emotions to process, but the one that I feel the most is gratitude.

Continue reading “Acknowledgements”

Daiko-who?

Cannabis Boutique

Daikoku stands out from other cannabis retailers in a very obvious way: the store name makes no reference, implied or oblique, to cannabis.

Instead, it’s a foreign word. Oftentimes, when people get it right, there’s laughter and even a mini celebration (it’s pronounced: da•i•ko•ku – we’ll teach you when you come to the store).

Continue reading “Daiko-who?”