Taking the Leap - How OceanTokes is overcoming everything the world throws at it

Taking the Leap - How OceanTokes is overcoming everything the world throws at it


This blog is available on audio podcast as read by G, the owner and Founder of OceanTokes. Click here to listen:  https://youtu.be/2X_BWfx83XQ


Sometimes it seems like the entire world, all the little pieces that fit so intricately together - so random, but so perfectly organized - it seems like all those pieces have conspired to destroy you. To make you angry.  To prevent your dreams from coming true.  They’ve all gotten together and decided, “This guy. Yeah. Fuck this guy.”


I felt this way in college, in 2012, when the world converged on me.   It was a gradual despair and some of the most conflicted days of my life, but it led to something profound.  Change.


In 2012 I left school. Yep, dropped out.  I moved to the beach with about $400 to my name, forcing myself into an entirely new situation with an entirely new set of concerns.


Rather quickly, I went from the worst mindset of my life to the best.  Just weeks after moving to San Diego, I felt more inspired and ambitious than ever before.


This inspiration led to the video you will see below.


But recently, I feel like I’m back in college.  It seems that I’ve chosen a path that continually gives me more and more work, less and less play, and causes increasing discomfort.  When it was institution of college, I was able to walk away.  Now, it’s the institution of the government.


I am working hard, staying focused on the big picture, and giving a solid effort.  I support people, help people, and pay my taxes.  But at the end of the day, it’s not that I’m failing this class.  It’s that this institution is failing me.


Since starting OceanTokes, I have run this company by myself.  I haven’t had business partners, investors, or mommy and daddy money.  I’ve put my own money forward, spent my own time building it, and even managed to support my friends, communities and a few nonprofits along the way.


My products are not mass manufactured and I have always cared greatly for my customers.


But each step of the way, the world closes on me. One by one, hurdles are placed in front of me intentionally by this corporate conglomerate that is the banking industry.


First PayPal, two years ago they banned two of my accounts without reason.  Next was Etsy, suspending my account indefinitely and cutting off 100% of the income for me and my two employees that relied on it.  Then Amazon, one by one removing my products.


Now, the biggest kicker.  Stripe. The credit card processing company that runs every single one of my online transactions, is revoking my account because “their banking partners” won’t allow them to sell “high risk products”.


I’ve spent the majority of the 3 years I’ve been running OceanTokes dealing with corporate restrictions and account suspension, and now it seems the biggest one of all.  The world is closing in.  It seems that in this stagnating financial climate there is no way for even a well-intentioned small business to find success, simply because the outdated opinions of the socio-economic hierarchy want to own and control use of a naturally occurring plant.


By the way, I don’t sell that plant.  I sell sea shells that have a hole cut in the tip.  And the fact that OceanTokes, a 1 person company that sells sea shells by the sea shore, takes this much heat from big-ass corporations for selling “illicit drug paraphernalia” only proves how incredibly over reaching and crooked this system has become.


In 2012 the world was closing in, and it took that immense pressure to realize the system I had chosen to be involved in was invading my rights, actually preventing my pursuit of happiness while claiming to support it.  And in 2012, I took a leap of faith to change everything.


Now five years later, the world is closing in once again.  I’m struggling to breath against the pressures of the system. And I’m wondering, should I leap?


If you're interested in seeing the video I posted 5 years ago in the most inspired time of my life, it can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWlkKwWvY1I


Any thoughts?  I'd love to hear your responses below.


  • Same thing happen to us! I opened my smoke shop last year in July! Very enthusiastic about having my first business! We chose Shopify for our POS and in January they cancelled me due to CBD products. Then we signed up with Stripe. That lasted 3 weeks. Lastly we tried Square. Again, 3 weeks! Now we are cash only until we find another payment company! My bank, WellsFargo, wants to offer me Clover POS. Not sure if we will sign up! – cheers from Tampa! Aileen

  • I wish I had a solution for you, but all I can say is don’t let them get you down. You make amazing products and deserve to thrive as a business just like everyone else. The best people and businesses keep pushing forward through whatever adversities are thrown their way.

    Lynse Mestaz
  • We had a silimlar thing happen, with Square cutting us off without warning (in the middle of the day), followed by 2 1/2 months of trying to figure out a payment processor. Then, when I had given up on it, and settled with the idea of being a cash only store, we were contacted by PayAnywhere. I decided to take the call, and in describing our situation to the sales rep, I was explicitly clear about the pipes, kratom, and CBD products that we sell in the store, since those were an issue for every other processor I had talked to. He checked on everything, and came back with a “Yes” answer, and they even gave us a better deal on the fees than any other company had. So, we signed on, and have been relatively happy with their service. They even gave us a tablet register setup (for free, to use while we have their service) that has it’s issues, but is relatively reliable. That might be an option for you.

    You’ve built a good brand, and I hope to see it continue. If you need anything, hit us up.

  • I bought my first shell from you the other week and I was absolutely blown away by the quality and presentation for what seemed to me a rather affordable price. I really hope everything works out for you and your company.

  • i’ve been a long-time customer and will be a forever supporter of your business! as a creative myself, i can definitely relate. i’m hoping to see you push through!


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