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Q&A with Jonathan Lepow, the Co-founder of @toptree

Sean Kelly

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Q&A with Jonathan Lepow, the Co-founder of @toptree

This week, I had the opportunity to meet with Jonathan Lepow, the Co-founder of Top Tree (@toptree on Instagram).

What is your Company? How did you come up with the idea? Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

We are a marketing company. We started by creating our own cannabis brand after our brother, Brandon Lepow, passed away from cancer. Through our experience with his struggle, we witnessed so many people that could be helped through the use of cannabis. We wanted to help the world realize that this “taboo” topic is actually not bad, and could medically help so many people. We realized that with our knowledge and connections we could push cannabis through social media. Many people did not realize that they could do this, so we found an untapped market. We quickly realized this model that we developed, out of necessity, for our cannabis company could be a great model for mainstream companies as well.

 

What gave you that Entrepreneurship spark and drive when you started?  Tell me about the day you decided to take this on as a full-time venture.

Layne came from a music background, he worked with big names, like Macklemore. I [Jonathan] came from dentistry backgrounds. When we realized that through this company we could make an impact in our own lives and those of others, it really clicked for us. We knew that this was what we wanted to pursue.

 

Where do you see your company 5yrs from now?

Our goal is to create a marketing company with the capabilities to evolve with what is trending. Right now it’s social media and Instagram, however, we hope to be able to develop with whatever platform or medium that comes next. Although we focus a lot on cannabis we do a lot with music ( like Columbia Records)  and e-commerce products (such as products pitched on Shark Tank). We hope to continue evolving so that we can, not only meet our goals but, help others achieve their goals and grow as big as they can imagine.

 

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve received that contributed to your personal or professional success?

When I was first starting out, someone said to me ‘everything is a bullfight, you’re either a matador or a bull’ Over the last few years I realized that this is definitely true. Both the Matador and the bull are filled with passion and strength to get what they want. However, different situations call for you being the different sides. As the bull you just go straight for what you want, you are, for the most part, reliant on persistence and strength. However, for other situations, you have to be the matador and learn to work the situation. You have to use your wit more to figure out and resolve the problem. As we have grown it is easier to know when to be the matador and when to be the bull.

 

What have you sacrificed for success?

I have definitely sacrificed a lot of time, which really is precious. Having a business takes away from family, personal, friend, and vacation time. However, it’s ironic because we happen to do this in an attempt to gain more time and have a fuller life with those we care about. I know now that there are and 2 sides of things, making people actually happy or creating a perception that you actually do your job and are happy. I work on making sure everyone is happy, doing my job, and making sure people know I can do my job so people know I am reliable.

 

How do you maintain or find new inspiration?

We get excited by what we are doing. With every new client comes to a new story and path. Each brand needs different things, so we don’t treat any two clients the same. We continue reading regularly and learning all about the different and new marketing media. I love being able to provide new value and help others grow. It’s never boring to learn someone’s story and figure out a way to help them get more successful.

 

What’s one rule that guides your life?

Definitely: Do unto others. Spiritual people, there is karma, positive and negative particles, if you put enough positive out there it will get back to you, and vice versa.

 

What have been the most important contributors to your success?

Adaptability has definitely been up there. We realized that we were getting more clients through marketing than from selling cannabis, so we ran with it. We learned to just roll with things and adjust accordingly.

 

Can you share a story about the funniest or biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I learned that you have to protect yourself. In the past, I went all in with the dental practices, and put my name on many things. I learned that I should be a little more cautious with who I trust.  We’ve also learned It’s a small world. We’ve had relationships that could have ended a little better, and ended up working with them again.

 

What is your mission statement?

We aspire to be a financially sound company that can continue to provide a personalized quality service to our clients.

 

What do you think makes your company stand out?

I think it has a lot to do with our hands-on approach. We invest ourselves to be part of the company. We also educate our clients on what we are doing and are very transparent with them. We never stop learning, so we can bring in all the new things we learn to our clients. We go all in. We try to make a real connection, rather than have a sales rep that comes and goes. We are always in contact with our clients, as we scale we bring in people to help us, but ultimately we still give all our clients our attention.

 

Which tips would you recommend to colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

It’s never quite as bad as you think it is, for the most part. After the passing of my brother, I can look at things differently and see what is actually worth my stress.

Don’t get down on yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere, but there is always an opportunity to grow. Don’t look at your competitors and use it to bring yourself down. Also, find time for yourself. You can get dull and burnt out if you  don’t give yourself time to enjoy yourself

 

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m grateful for our brother [Brandon] who opened up many doors for us. I have a mentor that helped me focus. The “cannabis pioneers” that pushed forward and made cannabis more acceptable. All those people that had to suffer through a disease without cannabis, that made the need more apparent. And of course, our mom [who] has been extremely supportive of everything that we do.

 

How have you used your success to bring good to the world?

Yes. We try to push cannabis to be more socially acceptable, at least medically to those who need it. When our clients have drives such as a toy, or food drives we try to always be present and give back.

 

Finally, what are some major milestones your company has reached, and how did it affect you?

When we first started, a milestone was being able to pay our bills, and have money to put aside for growth and scaling (cash positive). Rubbing shoulders with industry leaders has opened new doors for us. Our client’s milestones are also our milestones.

 

Sean Kelly is the president of Jersey Champs, one of the largest jersey companies in North America. Sean Kelly is a public speaker advocating for young entrepreneurs to pursue business opportunities in America.

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