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What seemed like a pipe dream between two four-star restaurant employees in Chicago in 2013 will become a reality in April of 2021, when Oui’d Confections will begin distributing gourmet edibles for pipeless highs to dispensaries throughout California. The idea seemed less half-baked once cannabis was legalized in the sunshine state for recreational use in 2016, two years after co-owner Matthew Kim moved to L.A., and after Kim’s partner Matt Rowbotham saw how the sausage gets made during his employment at major cannabis product production company Cresco Labs. Now, their dream is cherried, remaining brightly lit as the pair make the final preparations to bring their vision to fruition.
“It was kind of a thing that we always would, like, talk about and dream about—we didn’t see it as a possibility, especially at that time in Illinois,” Kim told What Now Los Angeles. “[With] L.A. being L.A.—very cannabis-focused and forward and friendly—I started to research more while I was working in the restaurant industry [there], literally researching anything that could help us move on to that dream of ours. In the meantime, [Rowbotham] was creating and manufacturing a bunch of gummies and different kinds of edibles that Cresco Labs produced, which was great in the long scheme of things since he got to see the production and everything and anything, even the strict laws and whatnot [that developed around] cannabis.”
Although they made expand their offerings over time, Oui’d Confections will start simple, producing gummies and dark chocolate truffles. After a long, sugar-filled and hazy process of devising and testing about ten different flavors for each product, three flavors for both forms will be produced at their production facility on 3200 S Susan St in Santa Ana. For their chocolate truffles, the mainstays will include a strawberry and elderflower and white chocolate ganache-filled truffle; a classic salted caramel truffle; and a hazelnut praline chocolate with rosemary.
For their gummies, which will be formed into a diamond shape (bears are a thing of the past!), the three year-round flavors will consist of a berry compote-based gummy; one made with tamarind cola, which “tastes like Coca Cola”; and an orange creamsicle flavor.
Among tested flavors that may appear in the burgeoning brand’s seasonal flavor offerings are a passionfruit-filled dark chocolate; a Meyer lemonade-flavored gummy; and both candies with strawberry guava flavoring.
Packaging has been a chronic concern for the pair as they approach production; unimpressed with edibles presented in a clear baggie, they wanted something that looked sleeker and more high-quality.
“We’re taking the approach of using really using our experiences in restaurants where if you go to a restaurant, you walk in, you’re greeted by somebody (pre-pandemic), you sit down, you tend to look at the space and you feel the linens, you feel the silverware, you look at a dish before you eat it—the goal is that you should feel [our packaging], and it should feel expensive,” said Kim. “Whenever I’ve opened an Apple iPhone box, it feels great to open because it feels expensive. The goal is to start from when you hold the box to when you open it to when you hold it. Then the flavors–our goal is to have, for both gummies and chocolate and our packing, a high-quality experience.”
The boxes, which are child-proof and surprisingly heavy considering their contents, require a specially-shaped object to open. Oui’d will include keychains with this “key” for their products, both as a convenience and for easy advertising.
Every ingredient possible, from the flower to the fruits, will be sourced locally. Kim said that he has been on the hunt for the best-tasting ingredients at area farmers markets, primarily in Santa Monica.
“I’ve been going there since 2014 and I’m still currently going every Wednesday, you know, trying every vegetable, fruit even variety of eggs from each farm,” said Kim. “I’m getting to know over the years who has the best of what at what time of the year. Even farmers will keep you up to date—if their strawberries are good this week, [for example].”