Kush Bottles Makes List of Inc.’s Top 5,000

Seemingly every day the medical and recreational marijuana industries are shifting more and more towards the mainstream.

Just look at the evidence: medicinal marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, with as many as five more ready to vote on their initiatives between now and the end of 2016. In addition, recreational marijuana is legal in four states, with California set to vote on legalizing its use in November 2016. Washington state has brought in an estimated $70 million in tax revenue since implementing the drug’s recreational use, while Colorado has generated over $50 million.

All that is starting to sound like a broken record, which is a good thing. But now, a Southern California-based manufacturer of paraphernalia has made perhaps the largest individual leap toward American corporate acceptance. Kush Bottles, a maker of bottles, papers and containers, appears on Inc. Magazine’s 2015 list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America.

And lest you think Kush is bringing up the rear because, well, it’s marijuana-related, think again—the five-year old company is 774th on the list, good for the top 15 percent. It experienced a growth rate of 582 percent, grossing over $2 million in 2014.

“It’s big. It’s very big,” Kush Bottles CEO Nick Kovacevich said in a phone interview from his office in the company’s Santa Ana, Calif., headquarters. Kush also has locations in Denver and Auburn, Washington. “We wanted to break into the top 500, but I can’t complain. We’re happy we’re on the list.”

Kovacevich attributes the achievement to Kush’s youthful, energetic, workforce. He said that being in the marijuana field seems to attract a certain type of employee who is looking to do more than just put in an 8-hour day.

Why, the CEO himself is all of 29 years old.

“We have a really good company culture here,” he said. “We’re in a newer industry that isn’t really a traditional industry. So we get a lot of young employees who are just coming out of college and they’re not really too excited to go work for traditional companies in traditional industries. They figure, ‘Why not do something that’s exciting and is going to interest you?'”

“Most of the founders with companies on this list had the right idea at the right time,” wrote Leigh Buchanan, Editor-at-Large at Inc., “Or even before the right time. Entrepreneurs who are just slightly in front of the wave have to be particularly adept. Like all entrepreneurs, they need determination, risk tolerance, and creativity; but they also need the staying power to survive until their vision becomes our reality.”

An apt description of Kovacevich. After playing NCAA Division II basketball at Southwest Baptist College, he and a high school friend partnered in a moving and storage company, and by the time they sold the business, the 25-year old Kovacevich was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. He searched around for a new venture, and found it in the fledgling marijuana industry. Since its inception in 2010, Kush Bottles has emerged as a leader in packaging products. Its website offers an ostensibly endless supply of labels, containers, bands, bowls, jars, rolling papers, cones, and just about anything else a dispensary or cultivator would need.

Kovacevich is quick to point out, however, that the ride to this point has been anything but smooth. “When we started the company we were dealing with medical marijuana markets that were highly unregulated. Our clients that we were trying to do business with all of a sudden would be shut down and we’d be losing business not because of anything we did, but because the city would shut them down.

“We were scrambling to get customers on board, so early on we didn’t know how we were going to grow the business. We were learning on the fly. And then a couple of years ago everything began to become more regulated and that brought in more stability to the whole industry. Now we can focus more on a plan, how we can grow the company even more.”

To that end, Kovacevich said his vision of the company is to be “the preferred one-stop shop for any dispensary or grower where they can get anything they need.”

And maybe crack the top 500—or better—in 2016.

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