The Bay Area has long been a region within Northern California that has been bursting at the seams with creativity and influence long before it was known for the early 2000’s Hyphy movement consisting of sideshows and often undecipherable slang. What was once the region dominated by the youth going stupid to Mac Dre raps while dancing on top of Buick Regals has ultimately transformed and grown up into a roughly 6,900 square mile home to some of the most wealthy and influential companies to ever exist. Housing prices have skyrocketed in the Bay Area to a point where San Francisco last year was named the most moved out of city in America. The sudden influx of wealth and capital has pushed out longtime residents of the Bay as Silicon Valley employees and big wigs look to buy up property anywhere they can. With the laundry list of Silicon Valley’s negative impacts on the region comes the silver lining that at the end of the day, the Bay will always be the breeding ground of hustlers and go-getters, and with a lot of capital laying around to be played with, you can still finance your dreams and goals with a little bit of your money and a lot of someone else’s.
...the Bay will always be the breeding ground of hustlers and go-getters, and with a lot of capital laying around to be played with, you can still finance your dreams and goals with a little bit of your money and a lot of someone else’s.
The one person who has made this a reality is San Francisco rapper and entrepreneur Berner. He has transformed himself from a young hustler observing the Hyphy movement up close and personal into a bonafide magnate. The companies and investments of Berner range far and wide and include clothing brands, marijuana companies, mobile apps, and smoking accessories to name a few. It seems that if Berner has a passion for an industry, he does not hesitate to harvest a new idea and put the machine behind him to work on a business plan to not only get his share, but to disrupt the market completely.
The genius of Berner the businessman seems like a simple route and process. Get a strong market share in one industry, and sprout up sister businesses in the same or related industries, and watch the cash flow in from customers frequenting them all. How easy can it be right? Wrong. Berner has carefully invested time and capital into one of his most visible brands, the clothing brand and storefront Cookies. The clothing brand Cookies has no doubt paved the way and gained followings for his other numerous cannabis related companies including Vibes Papers and Cookies the recreational cannabis storefronts. The single word Cookies has infiltrated society and culture as whole. People that have never worn or heard of Cookies the brand may still very well know ‘Cookies’ as the name for a potent strand of cannabis that seems to be on everyones lips and in everyone’s lungs. They may also have no idea that Berner and his partners are the creators of the iconic strain that is named after his streetwear aimed clothing brand.
This natural sense of business and self promotion has led to Berner accumulating wealth like his suit and tie venture capitalist neighbors across the Bay, but like a wealthy V.C., Berner still seems to fly under the radar. While he is most definitely a mainstay and a legend in his native West Coast, many people may still not be able to put a face to the name behind some of their favorite smokable and non smokable products. Is this due to the fact Berner does not do too many interviews or is it simply due to the fact that he is too busy being pre-occupied with his dozen or so businesses to soak up all the clout he can. Is it probably a mixture of both. If he is not busy in the studio, then he is probably somewhere meeting with a group of individuals wealthy enough to write him a check enabling him to permanently move to Hawaii and give all of his haters a big fuck you from his jet window.
If he is not busy in the studio, then he is probably somewhere meeting with a group of individuals wealthy enough to write him a check enabling him to permanently move to Hawaii and give all of his haters a big fuck you from his jet window.
Whatever industry Berner decides to dive into next is sure to make all the companies within it look over there shoulder and keep an eye on the guy with the word ‘Cookies’ on his clothing and strong marijuana aroma to match. His past track record with breaking into new industries is looking mighty healthy, and he is sure to make moves into any industry he see’s where his passion and business sense can be equated into a few dollars.
The story of Berner is one that any up and coming entrepreneur can learn to appreciate. It is the story of a kid involved in an industry still wrestling with legality while making all the moves necessary to become legit. It is also the story about how you can be a person watching growth and culture flourish all around you while striving to go out there and put forth the effort to get your own piece of the pie. After all, Berner does not want to simply sit on the sidelines and watch outsiders get rich in his home region, he would rather do it himself and show those very same outsiders that the drive and passion was in the Bay all along.
Tony Bueno is the Editor in Chief of Pages Magazine.
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