The Vangst team welcomed our 50th employee this week!

Robyn Curtis, retail recruiter, is the most recent team member to join our Denver office. Vangst has hired 31 new employees in 2018.

“Our ongoing commitment to our clients is to provide them with resources to hire top talent from all different industries and bring the level of professionalism to the cannabis industry that every other industry has,” says founder and CEO Karson Humiston.

“In order to best serve our clients, we not only need the best recruiters (recruiting talent), but the best technology team, building products to help our clients more effectively connect with talent.”

Vangst Content Manager Catherine DeMuro, Vangst’s 35th hire, had the opportunity to sit down with Vangst founder and CEO Karson Humiston; our first hire, Jordan Smith; our Director of Growth, Kyle Arfsten; and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Davyd Smith to discuss the expansion of Vangst and our future growth plans.

The Vangst Team, May 2018


“I didn’t want to hire anyone until I had assurance this idea would actually work; the last thing I wanted to do was hire someone and then go out of business,” says Karson, who started Vangst immediately after graduating college when she was 22.

Luckily, after four months of working on building Vangst alone, Karson had enough business to support a full-time employee, Jordan Smith.

“I was hired to do business development, so my job was to call as many potential [cannabis] companies a day as possible,” Jordan says.

Karson and Jordan spent the next six months building Vangst client by client. Looking back, they agree that their biggest regret is not hiring faster, but the two are happy that they spent that time learning every aspect of the business.

They hired the second Vangst team member, Kyle Arfsten, in May 2016. That summer, the three of them planned and executed the world’s largest cannabis career fair, which they believe was the tipping point for Vangst’s future growth.

“It was crazy – after the career fair the phone was ringing off of the hook,” Kyle says. “Tons of companies wanted us to help them with their hiring.”

Kyle Arfsten at the 2016 Vangst Cannabis Career Fair

Jordan added, “We went from having no clients to turning clients down.”

They quickly began hiring additional recruiters to help service their clients.

By the end of 2016, the Vangst team was comprised of six full time employees. By the end of 2017, that number grew to 19 employees.

They expect to have over 60 full time employees by the end of 2018.

“Being the 50th employee feels great!” says Robyn. “I’m beyond excited and can’t wait to meet the 100th!”


According to CTO Davyd Smith, the key to staying on top of industry growth is hiring the best team as well as incorporating technology into the business.

“Through technology, we make it faster for our clients to connect with employees,” he says. “From our job board, to our custom database, to a new product we are launching for GIGs employees, technology has been a critical piece to our growth”.

In addition to technology, Jordan believes providing clients with exceptional customer service has been a key to Vangst’s growth.

“From the very beginning, we’ve go to exceptional lengths to bend over backwards for our clients.”

This is what Karson describes as the “Vangst Experience.” She believes that this exceptional experience combined with internal technology will separate Vangst from current and future competitors.

“It’s all about relationships,
you can’t put a dollar value on a great relationship.”

– Karson Humiston, Vangst Founder and CEO

Team members at the 2017 Vangst Cannabis Career Fair (Left to right: Amanda Guerrero, Kendall Kelleher, Jordan Smith, Karson Humiston, Kelsea Appelbaum)

Kyle feels an imperative component of Vangst’s growth is being selective about who we work with.

“We only work with clients who value hiring as much as we do,” he says. “We spend a lot of time vetting our clients, and actually turn down more clients than we engage. I can say with confidence I’m proud to place candidates with all of our clients and plan to make our client vetting process even more selective in the near future.”


The cannabis industry currently employs an estimated 160,000 full time employees, a number that is expected to double by 2020.

“The only way we can possibly tackle filling these jobs is by continuing to hire an awesome staff internally,” Davyd says. He envisions the company doubling every six months to a year moving forward for the foreseeable future.

According to Kyle, an excellent internal staff is crucial to expansion.

“Being a recruiting company, it’s no surprise we have the best internal staff in the cannabis industry – this has been our ‘secret sauce’ to growth.”


Vangst CTO Davyd smiles broadly when asked about the driving force of the company.

“Think about when you got the job you wanted. Think about that moment, because that’s a moment this company creates every single day,” he says.

“So if you remember the time you called your best friend and said, “I got the job! – that’s what I think this company does every day, and that’s why I’m really excited to be here.”


Vangst selfie celebrating 50 team members at our August 2018 Huddle Beer Report!