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If you’re building a CBD business, you NEED to listen to these 7 major learnings from the founders shaping the industry right now

by Female Startup Club
September 3rd 2022

Hi everyone! Doone here - your host and hype girl. Thank you for tuning in to my solo episode this week. 

This week, I’m digging through the archives all the way back to the ea... More

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We're gonna be digging through the archives all the way back to the early days of female startup club to dive into the lessons shared by female pioneers in the somewhat controversial, always exciting and ever evolving CBD industry since cannabis is progressively being legalized across countries and its demand has increased a huge amount. We've seen an influx of innovative women led companies in the space that I've had the chance to speak to who are making a profound and undeniable impact on the future of CBD and I am so excited to share the biggest learnings with you here today, But before we jump in and you might have caught wind of this already. If you receive our Monday newsletter we have got something very exciting cooking and it's going to be launching very, very soon. I'm just so excited. Oh my gosh! Whether you're in the 9-5, whether you're a student, whether you own a side hustle or whether you're a founder, actively building your business right now.

This is for everyone. Everyone who is part of female startup club can get involved and I can't wait to share it with you. If you're a listener of this show and you want to know more, I would love to have you part of it and you can join our wait list at female startup club dot com forward slash waitlist to be ready for the moment. We make our announcement in a few weeks time. Have you heard about Norby? It's a marketing platform specifically built for creative entrepreneurs. I started using them last year, so I could have a totally customized link in my bio that looks super on brand and has all the functionality that I need as a small business owner since using them. We've seen our click through rates to our website, shoot through the roof and have been able to engage more without audience. They also have things like event registration, cross platform messaging Crm and analytics all in one integrated platform at an insanely affordable price. It's a platform that provides creative entrepreneurs like you and me, a holistic solution for community driven growth that works in tandem with your social media.

So anyone who's working to build a modern multi channel community or monetize their skill set and creativity online can benefit from using Norby to access a free one month trial. Go to nor be dot live, which is N O R B Y dot live and use the code F S C at checkout or click the link in show notes. Alright, let's get into today's episode. The first interview that came to mind for me when I was thinking about the CBD space was the chat that I had last year with Valentina Mila Nova, the founder of Day Valentina is the creator of the world. First cannabis infused tampon, created specifically to help with period cramps. I actually get these delivered to my mailbox every month via a subscription service and I love them. But as you can imagine a concept as out of the box as this one was an easy target for critics and naysayers in the early days and probably still today, to be honest, which brings us to our first learning that we should take from the famously resilient women in the CBD space and that's that you should absolutely not back down from a no.

When Valentina first started sharing her concept with friends, people at work, her family. No one shared her excitement, literally no one, it was all don't talk about tampons, this is uncomfortable, don't do this, don't do that. If this was such a great idea, Procter and Gamble would have invented it already. But instead of backing down to these criticisms and listening to them, it was these reactions that confirmed that Valentina was onto some real innovation. She went ahead and developed the product on the quiet and that's how day was born. Valentina reminds us that basically everything she's done since then has seemed impossible when she first started thinking about it. But there in lies the magic, Take the impossible believe in it 110% and never ever back down when you're faced with a massive mountain of no's to climb. The journey of entrepreneurship is famous for being littered with knows, but few industries receive quite as many as the CBD industry does.

It is a controversial space. We know that it's part of the reason Valentina lacks support from her friends and it's the reason so many founders struggle in the space today and I should take a moment here to mention that that's also a really big reason why we created our private community for founders so we could come together to learn from each other, support each other and give guidance when times are tough. And this brings me to my next point, There have been so many developments in terms of legalization and changed understanding about the effects of cannabis, but these deep rooted perceptions do not change overnight in my conversation with your genitals Near Davies, she dove into why it's about time for consumer education and regulation to evolve more seriously in this space, She sees the war on drugs as having caused this perception of all drugs as being bad for you and having no benefit whatsoever.

And because of this, founders now hold the responsibility to redefine cannabis as something that's not just for medical use and not just for recreational use, but which can be taken as a health supplement overall for general well being. The learning here is that as a founder, you need to take that education piece seriously. If we stand any chance to change the narrative around cannabis in the future, take the time to choose great quality, transparent products that have lab tested ingredients and make sure your consumer knows what they're taking and why they're taking it with real results, effective products and most vitally, the education piece, we can change the perception around the damage that the war on drugs has left in the industry and come together to a more integrative and holistic approach to health. One particularly effective way to go about the education piece, considering the advertising regulations broadly imposed across social media and other channels is to collaborate with influences in the space near recalls a time when an ad, she finally managed to place across instagram where she was really careful not to use any of the keywords like CBD but it was stopped still prematurely.

Obviously this is super frustrating as a founder trying to activate different marketing channels, especially when you're just getting started. Co labs with influencers and bloggers are a great way to get around that. And of course, there are many different types of relationships that brands can have with influences. The founders of equilibrium to Coco Meers and Marcy. Capron vermillion took a deep dive into this topic during our conversation about their female focused CBD brand earlier this year, many brands will blindly send out a product in the hope for a shout out or predetermine a strict price based plan for the influencer to adhere to. This didn't work for them in the CBD space. Instead, they decided to opt for a more relationship centered approach and this is something we highly recommend. It comes up on the show a lot. Instead of looking at influences as a transactional channel, they actually refer to them as relationship development partnerships and their marketing team functions as relationship owners, they know each other, their friends, they understand what their financial goals are and they help them create the content.

The results of this kind of approach has led to an increase of real and authentic product reviews wildfire word of mouth and exploded their referral program to the next level the learning, create meaningful connections to ensure meaningful results. And I'm aware I've skipped a little ahead here. So let's backtrack for a hot second back to the basics of supply and demand around bringing a CBD product to market in the first place in order to get that oh, so important. Gap in the market. Sagely naturals. Founder Kerrigan Barons started and I'm a big believer, Every brand should do this by looking at consumer insights. She realized that she needed to find out what the barrier to entry is for someone to actually try this kind of product where those pain points lie, that might prevent someone from trying CBD in the first place. And surprisingly, through focus groups, she quickly came to the realization that the vast majority of people already believe in the medicinal benefits to cannabis.

So the education piece didn't need to be centered around that. In fact, the biggest barrier to entry was the fear of getting high. People clearly had this association between CBD and hallucination and Kerrigan realized her mission would be to bust this myth to make CBD feel like this normal everyday product that you're proud to carry around because that's what it is. The beautiful thing about CBD is the fact that you can get all these key health benefits without having to get high with this insight, she was able to focus on making the product as approachable as possible with a clear central message around the brand. This is a great example of how listening to your consumer is an absolutely vital early step in developing your brands feel. I can guarantee there will always be something that surprises you and changes the trajectory of your business for the better Kiva confections. Founder Kristy Palmer found a similar thing to be true in creating a brand aesthetic for her brand well over 10 years ago now, she knew from the get go, that product and packaging would be the way to gain consumer trust, especially in an industry as controversial and questionable as this one as a way to combat the unpredictability of the space.

She opted for a strategy of consistency and trust to be communicated through packaging. A great way to build on. Trust is through consistent actions, beautiful packaging and a consistent, reliable product is what field word of mouth for them in the early days, being meticulous and having a methodology about everything from the quality of what you're offering to the placement of the information on the package. It all comes together to create a thoughtful professional brand that consumers trust and there in lies the key, especially in any industry that doesn't have trust inherently built into it. If you're an e commerce brand owner, you've probably thought about whether your product suits being subscription based. Maybe you've got a beverage brand or a beauty product that has a high repeat purchase rate, join fast growing Shopify brands like athletic greens and rise coffee that are growing the e commerce subscription and retention businesses on up. Scribe scribe gives you the out of the box tools that you need to build, grow or scale your Shopify subscription and retention business deploy a beautiful customer experience in minutes that treats subscribers like royalty and drives brand loyalty.

Additionally, scribes knew reorder product makes it frictionless to capture reorders in a single click to help you increase your business's profitability and customer lifetime value. Give your e commerce business the charge that it needs today by visiting up scribe dot io slash female startup club to learn more and you'll also receive your first month free. That's up Scribd dot io forward slash female startup club. As you gear up for fall, you need to find the right people on your team to help your small business fire on all cylinders linkedin jobs is here to make it easier to find the right people you want to talk to faster and for free. If you follow me on linkedin or you're a subscriber to our newsletter. You already know how often we're sharing jobs that are coming directly through linkedin. It is so powerful. You can create a free job Post in minutes on linkedin jobs to tap into the world's largest professional network with over 30 million people in the UK alone. It's why small businesses rate linkedin jobs number one for delivering quality hires verse their leading competitors, then add your job and the purple hiring frame to your linkedin profile.

So your network can help you find the right people to hire simple tools like screening questions, make it easy to focus on candidates with just the right skills and experience. So you can quickly prioritize who you'd like to interview and hire linkedin jobs helps you find the candidates you want to talk to faster and you can post a job for free. Just visit linkedin dot com slash F. S. C. Again, that's linkedin dot com slash F. S. C. To post your job for free today and see supply next, I want to dive into the specifics of how the money piece comes together in building a brand in a high risk category, such as this one. A lot of the CBD founders that I spoke to quoted difficulties in raising and building connections with investors as a major pain point for kicking off their entrepreneurial journey. Despite the landscape changing significantly in the past few years, many VC funds still classify hemp derived products as vice products, meaning internal rules make it hard for them to invest in it even if they wanted to.

I'm lucky that I got the chance to speak to primer co founder laurel Angelica Myers who was able to secure a $9.2 million seed plus round about how exactly she went about this, Her main piece of advice centered around going in with a very clear financial plan, how much you want to raise and exactly where the brand is going with a clear vision for the future, This is going to give people more faith, if not just for your idea, but also for your ability to execute against it, and that's what people are really investing in at the end of the day, a person and the idea and the vision show off what you can bring to the table and make them excited about joining your business, make them excited about you. Additionally, you also want to be showing off how you are uniquely positioned to solve this problem, how there is a clear problem with a clear opportunity and you clearly being the best person for the job to solve that, you wanted to feel almost ludicrous that they could be considering not investing in you.

And now finally, I wouldn't dream of chatting about CBD without mentioning the industry's very own kush Queen Olivia alexander, she has shown us like no one else, that a bad situation can turn out to be a stepping stone for greatness. She is a woman, we can all learn from whichever industry were in. Prior to founding kush Queen, the cannabis lifestyle brand that has catapulted into a multimillion dollar company. Olivia made her income from her three million following on Instagram, but that all came tumbling down when instagram decided to remove her account in accordance with community guidelines. That's pretty messed up and pretty traumatizing, but instead of wallowing in this moment of total despair, she decided to turn it into an opportunity. She took that moment to focus on what she truly wanted, which was to start building kush queen. And it turns out that this was exactly the type of body armor that would serve her well, building in this notoriously tricky space.

I wanted to leave this solo episode with exactly this message that all the challenges that inherently come with entrepreneurship do serve a purpose. They provide us with all the tools and inspiration needed to face that next roadblock head on. Okay, and that's all for today folks. What I love about the female founded cannabis space is that the founders work together like a team. It's a tight knit community of strong women working together opposed to against each other in their flight to educate the world on the positive effects of CBD and joined forces in battling through those regulation issues. When you're starting a business in CBD, you're a woman not fighting against competition but joining a team and we can all take a leaf out of that book. Alrighty, that's all for today folks. If you know someone interested in this space, please do share this episode with them. And as always, if you're on your phone listening to this episode, take a quick screenshot of the podcast and share it to your instagram stories or leave us a review in your podcast app to help other ears find us and if you like me and you love to chat, please do slide into my DMS to say hello and let me know where you're building.

I would love to be your hyper girl. You can find me at Doon Russian, which is D double o n e r o i s i N on Tiktok or instagram. See you next week. Bye.

If you’re building a CBD business, you NEED to listen to these 7 major learnings from the founders shaping the industry right now
If you’re building a CBD business, you NEED to listen to these 7 major learnings from the founders shaping the industry right now
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