Why did you become a Budtender?
I actually became a budtender over time working at Pakalolo. I originally started working with the Hollisters in 2016, coding the company website. I asked to come on as an employee after having a traumatic brain injury and deciding to take some time off from school. As time went on I began taking on a multitude of responsibilities including coding the website, menu design, logo/package design and ads/marketing. Really any task that involves a computer, haha. Throughout it all I spent a lot of time in the retail store and learned the ropes of budtending through some of the best in the industry. Now budtending has become a huge part of my job and I really enjoy it.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part about budtending is just the people. The conversations and journey to help customers find what they need. It’s always a good feeling when someone leaves with a smile on their face.
What sort of things have you learned on the job?
Where do I start?! I learned new coding techniques, graphic design, customer service skills, marketing strategies, benefits of natural cultivation and the list goes on!
How do you help a customer who is new to cannabis, or returning after years away?
I think it’s very important to start them off slow. Get their feet wet so to speak. People that are new or are returning to cannabis have a high risk for overdoing it and getting heavy anxiety. I like to remind them that you don’t have to smoke an entire joint to feel the effects. Instead take a single puff, make sure not to hold it in too long and then give it some time before smoking more. Always a good idea to be in a comfortable environment as well. Additionally, we have two amazing strains, Alaskan Blueberry and Aloha CBD, that are low THC and high CBD and are perfect for people getting started. The CBD really helps balance the high.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job?
Working a number of positions with multiple tasks at hand, my biggest challenge is probably prioritizing what I should get done next haha!
What is your most memorable job experience?
I’d have to say that the initial openings of both our Fairbanks and Anchorage stores are some of the most memorable. So many moving parts while trying to prepare the many facets of a successful business. But with hard work from a good group of amazing people you get to see it all come together. The grand openings were a celebration of seeing all that hard work pay off. And it’s still paying off today.
What’s your personal favorite product among those that you sell?
I know this isn’t a single product but I’d have to go with all of our naturally grown flower. We have just a great variety of strains that are unique in look, flavor and high. It’s literally impossible to pick one. The way we grow, making our own super soil, using no-till farming techniques, fermenting fruit, veggies and plants into juices for plant food along with oriental herbal nutrients, cultivates some very special cannabis. I will give a shout out to Alaskan Blueberry which I mentioned earlier. I try to smoke that every single day and I don’t know what I’d do without it now!
How long have you been in Alaska?
Born and raised in Fairbanks and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
If you could share a bowl with one famous person in the world, who would it be and why?
I’m going to say Conan O’Brien. I saw a clip of him smoking with Seth Rogen on one of his final shows. He is just so honest and self deprecating that I bet it would be a great time.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m a nerd to an extent so I love video games and working on hip-hop music but I also love taking advantage of our short but amazing summer. Getting outdoors, playing softball, going to the lake, camping. You name it, I’m there. During the winter I’m snowboarding any chance I get or jet setting someplace warm.
If someone asked you about becoming a budtender, what would you tell them?
Do you even smoke, brah?! Just kidding. I would make sure they have a keen interest in cannabis and helping people find what they are looking for. That’s the most important part and they will be doing it every day.
Tyler Hollister, co-owner of Pakalolo Supply Company, included the following words about Mardeusz: We decided to feature Nicholas Mardeusz, our Technology and Project Manager, Budtender and longest standing employee. Nick was one of our very first employees back in 2016 and has done just about every job in the building since then. He helps a lot of customers but also does so much more. He created our website, does all of our graphics and advertising, he helps with inventory, he keeps all of our technology up and running. It’s hard to think of everything he does to help us out. (Do our Meet Your Budtender pieces usually include a testimonial from the budtender’s boss? It just seems like kind of an awkward addition.)