Lindsay Peyton
Jody Hall was a pioneer when she opened Cupcake Royale, the first bakery dedicated to cupcakes outside of Manhattan. Now she’s bringing that same entrepreneurial spirit to marijuana edibles with her company, The Goodship, which is expanding from Washington to Nevada.

Take a ride on the Goodship – Jody Hall paves the way with cupcakes, cannabis

By Lindsay Peyton

Jody Hall has a hunch that her cannabis creations could be a gateway -- leading to better conversations and more inspired connections.

“Bring a box of Goodship to a dinner party like you would a nice bottle of wine, and see how that goes,” she dares newcomers to the scene. “It will be a profoundly different dinner party.”

The Goodship is Hall’s company that churns out high-end marijuana edibles, ranging from double fudge brownies and snickerdoodles to fair trade chocolate bars and tart cherry pastilles.

She also owns Seattle’s flagship cupcake bakery and coffee shop, Cupcake Royale, with locations in Madrona, Ballard, West Seattle, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne and downtown.

Hall was a pioneer in the cupcake craze -- opening the first bakery dedicated to the confection outside of Manhattan.

She started as Verite Coffee and Cupcake Royale in Madrona in 2003, with a business plan she spent a year writing and notion that cupcakes would be more than a trend.

A feature article in the Seattle PI set the stage for a major success.

“Our business went from 100 cupcakes a day to 1,000 overnight,” she said. “People were driving from all over the state to get our cupcakes. We were floored. Our business went crazy after that.”

Hall was able to open a second location 10 months after the first, fully funded by the first store’s profits.

Now, she is applying that same pioneering, forward-thinking approach to the marijuana market.

“With Goodship, we’re at the beginning of a renaissance,” she said. “And we have a chance to have a seat at the table and create a positive narrative.”

Throw away the stigma still surrounding weed, Hall says, and you’re left with big possibilities.

“I think pot makes you more present with what you’re doing, who you’re with, what you’re eating, what music you’re listening to,” she said. “We want to inspire discovery and joy. There’s beauty in the world all around us.”

Hall believes that -- through the lens of a nice high – people can have more positive interactions and more creative thoughts.

Her mission is to make edibles that are reliable and promise a consistent experience – and eliminating the trepidation and the guesswork about how the products will make users feel each time.

“Building trust is what we want to do,” she said.

Hall also wants to build a brand with a loyal following.

“We want to do with the commodification of cannabis what Starbucks did with coffee,” she said.

And she’s got the know-how to do exactly that.

Hall got her start at Starbucks when the coffee empire was just getting its start.

She joined the company about a year after college, when there were about 30 locations. By the time she left, 11 years later, the number jumped to 3,000.

For her time as one of the first marketing employees at the corporation, Hall learned “how to build a good culture and how to have a good vision.”

A lot of the skills she acquired while working at Starbucks still shape her work ethic. She said she learned the importance of listening skills, enhancing the self-esteem in employees and promoting collaboration.

Most importantly, Hall added, she learned to ask for help when needed.

“We’re in unchartered territory often as entrepreneurs,” she said. “The ability to find solutions to problems doesn’t just come from the CEO. And if it did, that would be a boring company. Everyone would just be a cog in the system.”

Instead, she wants all of her employees to feel invested in her companies – whether it’s Cupcake Royale, the Goodship or her Rodeo Donut pop-up shops. She wants to encourage their ideas, the same way she believes Starbucks fostered hers.

“I would have been on a totally different path if I hadn’t had that opportunity to have a voice,” she said. “We all have a nugget of something we feel like we’re specifically on the planet to do, and I love the idea of exploring that and encouraging others to explore that.”

For Hall, the drive is building community and interaction – uniting people around delicious food.

“Our purpose is to inspire community connections and be the most joyful part of a person’s day,” she said.

The regulations and issues surrounding the pot business have been tricky, she admits.

“It’s the hardest business I’ve ever done,” she said. “You’re getting into a can of worms. But the opportunity at the end of the day to create a soulful brand is so exciting. It gets me out of bed everyday.”

The Goodship is already expanding to Nevada – and Hall is considering other states.

Hall has been an inspiration for other entrepreneurs, including Rachel Marshall, founder of Rachel’s Ginger Beer.

“When I was getting started, I had all of these questions,” Marshall said. “And Jody was amazingly generous. When people have to figure things out on their own, they’re often stingy with information. It’s a person of great character who is willing to give that kind of information to someone else.”

Marshall said Hall is an innovator with heart – and a strong role model to others.

“Her cafes are still vibrant,” she said. “Now she’s got a whiff of something that’s a trend that’s going to be huge. And she’s got all of her ducks in a row.”

For more information about Cupcake Royale, visit www.cupcakeroyale.com.
For more information about The Goodship, visit www.thegoodship.com.
For more information about Rachel’s Ginger Beer, visit rachelsgingerbeer.com.

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