This post is part of People’s Asian-Americans in Cannabis series for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Andy Singh is the founder and CEO of disposable weed vape company Nuvata, a new father, and a master of cannabis craft. We sat down to talk about his experience as a young business owner, the transformational power of parenthood, and—of course—his favorite vapes from Nuvata’s classic line.
PEOPLE’S: Andy, can you tell our readers about Nuvata in your own words?
ANDY SINGH: Nuvata is a way of life. I founded it with the intention to bridge Eastern values with Western values—cannabis has been engraved in my culture for a very, very long time, and I wanted to find a way to make it contemporary to today’s time… we wanted to target the new consumers specifically; to help them transition seamlessly into experiencing cannabis for the first time.
What does the name mean?
So, Nuvata is coined by combining two terms “nu” and “vata”. “Nu” means the new way, the new envisioning, and “vata” is one of the three doshas. “Vata” means space and air.
When you consume cannabis, you’re transcending your mind to a place of being in the present moment (which refers to air), but you’re also unlocking space within.
Why did you choose to move into the disposable vape category?
We wanted to make it convenient [and] we wanted to simplify the process and logistics of consumption. The disposable element really just made it easier. [Nuvata vapes are] a ready-to-use product out of the packaging… portable, convenient, sweet—and keep in mind, we were specifically targeting new consumers, so they don’t want the conspicuousness of consuming in public. They want something that’s compact and disguisable, and we want to provide that.
I realized that no one was really doing disposable pods… and I always felt that pods were better than pens. The airflow’s better, you can make it smaller, [and] the parameters are just better overall.
What makes Nuvata different from other companies?
Our consumer… is the person that has an active lifestyle, that loves to really enjoy having a good time—whenever, wherever—but also having a level of control. [Nuvata vapes offer] a certain level of potency; a certain ratio between the cannabinoids and the terpenoids in order to be able to provide that experience.
I like to envision Nuvata being a consumer brand for the people—of all types of people… We want to be the contemporary brand of today’s time, [for] people of color, all types of people. Reality, you know? We create that level of invitation for anyone to come experience Nuvata, and I think that’s what sets us apart. We’re very inviting.
I definitely agree with that… Back to the products—what’s your flavor of choice?
I love the full-body grape. It’s very pleasant [and] it sedates me well. I usually use it at nighttime when I’m in bed; it’s very relaxing. It also instills a sense of reflection for me—I become more mindful…
The full mind’s great, too… the strawberry full mind. That’s great for work, really gets those creative juices flowing, gives you a kick of energy… but I would say the full body’s my go-to.
What’s next for Nuvata?
We’ve been diligently working on a live resin line. Our consumers have spoken to us, and we’ve been receptive to provide that offering. We intend to launch our new black exclusive limited live resin line sometime in April, right around 4/20.
I read that you have a CBD line coming out as well.
We will be launching a CBD-dominant line of vapes.
When’s that one due out?
We intend to launch that one sometime in the middle of this year.
I can’t wait! I’m definitely going to stock up on that.
It’s called the Flow series!
Are they going to be the same flavors [as the Classic line]?
We’re actually launching new fruit flavors for the Flow series.
Now for a personal one: you began your career as an entrepreneur early [at] age 25. What challenges did you face as a young business owner?
Straight out of college, I had a few corporate jobs lined up, and I just didn’t feel like it was the right fit for me. I wanted to really challenge myself and really determine what my potential was. There was a defaulted business that I acquired, specifically a logistics business, and we all returned it to a possible 5 million-dollar-generating business through that process.
I learned a lot of things—structuring employment, compliance, operational systems, finance, taxes… there’s a learning curve to adopt, for sure. But I persevered through it, and [that] enabled me to be able to start Nuvata and make it what it is today.
What do you think the advantages of starting young are?
The common denominator between my conversations with entrepreneurs that are much older than me is that they are more risk-averse. At a younger age, you have the ability to take more risks… but at the same time, you have to be calculated with those risks.
I was wondering [how] you see the future of the cannabis industry.
Accessibility is going to increase, for sure. A lot of these cities are adopting cannabis sales as part of their ordinance, and I think COVID played a big factor in expediting that process.
Cities [are starting] to look at cannabis as another means of tax revenue… I think you’re going to see a lot more storefronts opening up over time, but it’s going to get to a climax where there’s going to be saturation… but who knows when that’s going to take place?
How do you see these industry changes affecting Nuvata?
We’re seeing consumer buying patterns changing… New consumers and consumers that don’t really participate often, I think they’ve graduated to become seasoned consumers. Their tolerance with [THC] increases, so they’re more inclined to go for the high-potency stuff.
So, I read that you recently became a father. Congratulations!
How has parenthood changed your life so far?
Oh, it’s just taken a 180-turn for me, for sure. You’re living for someone else, and you have an immense responsibility. There’s just a level of character development that takes place when you become a parent… I’ve become a better person… more mindful of my actions.
You have to lead by example, because you have you have your own blood watching you all the time, and you know he’s going to become a replica of you (or she’s going to become a replica of you) to a certain extent… I would want my son to be a better version of myself.
Ah, my heart! A different family-related question—so you mentioned that you had to win over your conservative Asian family. How did that go, and do you have advice for other people who have to do the same?
Well, I think I had it much easier—my father’s fantastic. My father and I, we’re not too far off in age. He had me when he was 24 years old… right now, we have this relationship more so like brothers, like friends.
Around the time when Proposition 64 came in place, he really saw the opportunity. He’s an open-minded person; he lived in America for 25 years. He said, you know, if this is something that I want to pursue, he’s OK with it. He thinks it’s a good opportunity [and] he believes in the industry, [so he] gave me the green light.
The advice I have for people that don’t have it as easy is [to] be transparent… You have to be able to understand their thought process and really understand how to rationalize it with them… [be] mindful of how you break it down to your parents.
You want them to understand why you’re doing this… they’re your parents; they’re always going to believe in you and love you, and they’re probably going to go for it.
Thank you so much.
Yeah! I just want to express my gratitude to you, to People’s, to the entire management team there, to all the budtenders, to the owner, Bernard… we’re excited for you to launch your new locations, and we’re grateful to be part of the process.