Elevate Crate, LLC: Meet the Owners
Elevate Crate was born on January 1st, 2021, and by the end of 2021, its founders, Emma and Erin Hopper had converted Elevate Crate into an LLC.
Who are Emma and Erin?
Emma was born in England and came to live in Florida in 1999 with her mother and stepfather, a USAA veteran. Erin was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida, with her older brother, mother, and father. They met in July of 2019 and dated before the shutdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic hit. After making it through quarantine together, they married on April 2nd, 2021, in front of immediate family and friends at the Pinellas County courthouse.
Emma was twenty-five and Erin twenty-seven when they decided to combine their interests and open their first business in a world learning to cope with Covid restrictions. Although this would be the first business that Emma had owned, selling online was not new to her. She had been using Mercari and eBay since the age of fourteen to resell and, during that time, gained valuable experience in online selling and shipping practices. This experience with online platforms is where Emma discovered her passion for business. Always dedicated to getting great reviews from customers and brimming to the edge with ideas on how to become her own boss, Emma never gave up.
Erin’s business experience began as a child when she would play at her mother’s office while she was working. This office is where Erin first used a typewriter and learned that she liked to write stories and read them later to her family. From here, Erin’s mother taught her the importance of organization and the skills necessary to run a small business office. In 2008, just months before the housing market crash and recession, Erin’s family bought a creamery on Main Street in downtown Lakeland. Though it was an ill-timed purchase, Erin worked at the creamery through high school – often from after school until closing. This experience at her family’s business taught Erin how to work with customers, the importance of customer service, and many other aspects of being a small business owner.
When Erin and Emma got together, they dreamed of working for themselves on something they were passionate about. Erin loved cannabis and the cannabis community, while Emma loved business and the opportunity to explore creating her own future. Emma and Erin knew that they could build a business together that aligned perfectly with their unique passions and interests.
In 2016 medical marijuana became more accessible in Florida. Emma and Erin both became patients between 2020 and 2021. They were excited to explore the legal side of cannabis commerce. The new legality of marijuana for medical use allowed Erin and Emma to learn about new products and helped them delve deeper into the cannabis community forming meaningful and lifelong connections.
While doing their research as medical patients, Emma and Erin saw how many cannabis accessory stores and online merchants were price gouging and taking advantage of their customers. They were shocked that both online stores and local headshops would mark up their items by up to four times their wholesale cost. Emma and Erin's parents had raised them to believe that businesses don’t need to be greedy to succeed; they wove this belief into what became a building block of how Elevate Crate, LLC operates.
In 2021 Emma and Erin began making unique cannabis-themed mystery boxes, but their journey as small business owners was not without setbacks. Within three months, their online shop was temporarily closed due to Shopify not approving payments for ‘paraphernalia.’ After a couple of weeks of thinking outside of the box, they found a new payment processor, and Elevate Crate, LLC was back in business.
No strangers to hard work, Emma worked part-time night shifts opening freight for Michaels and built Elevate Crate from the ground up during the day, while Erin worked full-time phone sales to start the business themselves without relying on outside investors. Together they swore to be the best small business owners that they could be.
Their small business dream continues today and includes big plans for the future. They are exploring options for environmentally friendly packaging and have begun researching starting a nonprofit business that would benefit the homeless.
We will see more great things from Emma, Erin, and Elevate Crate, LLC soon. Until then, enjoy our shop and stay trippy, hippies!
Emma ( Left ) & Erin ( Right )