Stephanie Karasick

Founder of Strainprint

Stephanie was born and raised in Montreal, and left shortly after getting her degree in Graphic Design. She moved to Toronto, working as a copywriter at Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, JWT, Taxi, and MacLaren McCann over a span of 15 years. Somewhere in that time, she began studying photography, left the corporate world to work as an editorial and family photographer, and a mom. The idea for Strainprint came to her after her first few months of using medical cannabis, when she was noticing how little information and scientific validation there was on various treatments.

Where did the idea for Strainprint come from?

In 2014 I was a new cannabis patient. It worked incredibly well, but there were all these variables that I noticed: different strains, different THC/CBD levels, different amounts, vaporization temperatures. I started keeping notes in a journal. Three months in, I was trying to find an app to do what my journal was doing for me and couldn’t, so I decided to make one.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I frantically make lunches and get my kids off to school, then head into the office with my constant companion Brody (my Goldendoodle). Then it’s a mash up of discussions and meetings and writing and reviewing ideas and mini walks around the block. The walks are what help keep me focused and productive.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By thinking about them from as many angles possible, talking to people and gauging their reactions, thinking more, and getting the right people to help keep that idea moving.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Not sure if this is a trend, but I’m fascinated by pharmacogenetics. I am excited to see the use of genetic testing to understand how people respond differently to drug therapies.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Walking. It always helps me gain perspective on things and come up with ideas.

What advice would you give your younger self?

It’s ok to have a little fun.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The details make all the difference.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I’m constantly reminding myself of what my strengths and weaknesses are. The hardest thing is accepting those weaknesses and owning them.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I’ve learned to trust select people around me and let them do what they’re good at. Especially the things that I’m not good at! As much as I’m a loner type, I’ve had to lean on people and that enables us to get to where we are.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I think of it more as a series of failures, rejections, believing in people who have bad integrity, being told no, letting my emotions get in the way of situations, motivating myself on rough days. These are things I face every day, and I’m still learning. Being open to failure is key.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Are there such things as heated sunglasses for cold weather?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought this desk light recently at Costco on a whim. It’s one of those lights that’s supposed to simulate the sun on the dark winter days, and make you feel less gloomy. Jury’s still out, but I’ve been using it a lot!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Monday is a great software that helps keep our design team running smoothly, keep everyone accountable and stick to timelines.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Howard Stern’s new book of interviews. I feel he’s by far the greatest interviewer of our time, and gets stuff out of people that I find fascinating.

What is your favorite quote?

This too shall pass.

Key Learnings:

  • It’s important to recognize and understand your strengths and weaknesses, and surround yourself with the right people who can do what you aren’t good at. Appreciate the heck out of them.
  • Details matter. The extra care you put into your business, stemming from your passion, sets you apart.
  • Be open to failure, and learn from those failures.