Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karina Karassev, Co-Founder of Stori, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a co-founder of Stori, a cannabis accessory brand. Our flagship product, Stori, is a purpose-built cannabis storage solution that we launched in 2021. Our target audience includes both recreational cannabis consumers and medical patients who desire to enhance their cannabis experience by understanding their preferred strains and storing their cannabis under ideal conditions. At Stori, we endeavor to promote the normalization of cannabis through education and open dialogue, as hiding it in a sock drawer prevents conversations about it from even starting. With Stori, consumers and patients can proudly display their cannabis and make it a part of their lifestyle.

Tell us about yourself

I am a CPA (Certified Professional Accountant) and previously led the strategic sourcing and corporate travel team at Sun Life Financial, one of Canada's largest financial institutions. Sun Life was the first Canadian insurer to provide coverage for medical cannabis under their group benefits plans which inspired me to learn more about the plant and the industry. Understanding that federal cannabis legalization in Canada was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity propelled me to leave my current career and embark on the world of entrepreneurship.

Cannabis stigma causes many consumers and patients to hide their cannabis consumption. Imagine if you had to hide your medicine so that you don't get judged. This is a huge problem, and a lot of it has to do with a lack of credible education about cannabis. So we set out on our mission to normalize cannabis by building products like Stori so that cannabis consumers and patients can stop hiding their cannabis. Our vision is to help recreational consumers and medical patients discover and learn about products that work for them while elevating and personalizing their experiences. Our goal is to make cannabis more approachable for consumers and patients.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The biggest accomplishment so far is being able to develop and launch a new product during a global pandemic when we faced countless challenges caused by the pandemic that we could not have anticipated when we got started. All of our efforts paid off when Stori won 6 international design awards, which recognized the style and function of our product.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Being a business owner comes with the constant challenge of making decisions on competing priorities that can significantly affect the success of your business. From defining the business strategy, making financial decisions, and building relationships with customers and partners to even the mundane tasks like ordering office furniture, you have to take responsibility for everything.

The decisions you make can have a ripple effect throughout your business, and it can be difficult to know which direction to take. There is often a sense of uncertainty and risk associated with entrepreneurship, as there are no guarantees that your business will succeed, and failure can be costly both financially and emotionally. Entrepreneurship requires a high level of dedication, resilience, and the ability to adapt to change and make difficult decisions in the face of uncertainty.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Focus on solving a problem: Successful businesses identify a problem and offer a solution that meets the needs of their target customers. Therefore, before starting a business, research and identify a gap in the market, then create a product or service that solves the problem.
  2. Build a strong team: It's essential to surround yourself with the right people who share your vision and goals.
  3. Embrace change and innovation: Be open to feedback, pivot when necessary, and always strive to improve your offerings.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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