Countless companies both private, public and start-up are trying to launch CBD brands. One big advantage that any company will have in any industry is being first to market. CBD Living has that advantage that gives them the competitive edge. We sat down with Founder of CBD Living, Bill Designa, to catch up with him and reflect on the past few years building his brand.
It seems like it was just yesterday he stopped by our offices to drop off the prototype of CBD Freeze, hyped up about the CBD Water he was about to launch in 2014. Bill spent years in the medical cannabis market before launching CBD Living, and he never really was in it for the money. He was always in it for the patients that needed the medicine, working to help his friends that owned dispensaries back in the day.
We chatted about the challenges of being in the Hemp and CBD markets and what it takes to make it through. Bill says you had to have been in it, or had your CBD products two years ago rather than starting now. The market is flooded with products, with varying degrees of quality, making it hard to get brand recognition or shelf space.
CBD Living stands behind its products and labels and even puts a QR code with a link to the test results so you can see exactly how much CBD is in their products. Where they started and what they’ve become is quite impressive. They’re partnering with HUGE names and corporations that I can’t print just yet, but I assure you, they are the top companies in the beverage and health sectors. #Goals
It all started with California Prop 215 Collectives and now they’re in some of the largest retailers in the nation, and they’re still a private company. They’re not willing to sell out just yet. CBD Living has weathered the storm of the challenges of building a cannabis related brand.
Want to know what it takes to make a CBD brand successful? CBD Living produces all of their own products and do not white label for other brands. They believe you have to control the quality and production of the product you put out there. They also have a full in-house sales team, call center, with analytics offices and an in-house art department.
But it wasn’t all fun and games, it wasn’t easy either. Bill expressed the importance of trademarking and intellectual property, as more and more brands copy his signature squiggle logo or counterfeit his products. It took tremendous perseverance and endurance of the struggle to be the multi-million dollar company CBD Living is today.
How did CBD Living begin?
Over 5 years ago, I was at a MMJ show in Las Vegas, I was approached by somebody who had a CBD water, (we will call that the first generation CBD Water), I was immediately intrigued, and knew I wanted to do something with it. I went back home, created a name ( CBD Living Water) and a label and had them run 6 pallets of CBD Living Water for me, I started to sell it to the local dispensaries, out of the back of my truck. Over the years we built our own in house lab, hired our own in house Scientist to reformulate our CBD Water with our proprietary Nano solution, to make our CBD water the best tasting, clearest, perfect CBD Water on the market. We now sell truckloads of water and distribute all throughout the U.S and internationally. Utilizing our proprietary nano technology, we now have over 65 SKUs of top CBD products ranging from Topicals ( CBD Living Freeze, patches, lotions, bath bombs) to Gummies, Chocolate, Tinctures, loose leaf teas, Vapes, and more. We are constantly working hard alongside our scientists and formulators to make all our CBD products the best they can be. CBD Living is now a leader in the CBD industry with its technology, proprietary formulations and products.
What did it take to turn a small company into what it is today?
Persistence, and a lot of patience. There were many times I wanted to throw in the towel, particularly due to the endless rules and changes regarding the legality of CBD. We had to jump through so many hurdles every time a state or federal agency implemented new rules on CBD, and it was very frustrating. However, we receive so many testimonials every day from customers with various ailments who have seen incredible improvements in their quality of life after using our products, and when I see those, I know I just can’t give up no matter what is thrown our way. I am proud to be able to help all these people and have a top CBD brand.
What kind of challenges have you faced building CBD Living?
Besides the government challenges with the changes on the legality of CBD, the most disheartening challenge is watching other companies entering the world of CBD and manufacturing products that do not hold up to what they put on their labels. They’re just trying to get in the game for a quick hit, and have no integrity on what they are selling to the public. We take so much pride in the quality of all our products that it is hard to watch when somebody else puts out a substandard product.
How different is it selling to mass retailers versus Prop 215 collectives?
CBD Living started out selling exclusively to dispensaries, but as we moved into the distribution channels of retailers and big box stores, we found that there was an opportunity to educate and provide valuable knowledge to the masses. Most people going to dispensaries already knew about the benefits of CBD, but that’s not the case for other consumers. As the awareness of CBD is becoming more widespread, it has become much easier to enter new stores in all sectors of the marketplace.
What types of challenges have you found when it comes to CBD regulations on a state to state basis?
Each state has its own set of rules, so we are constantly adapting to each state’s legislation, from label changes to restrictions on where CBD can and can’t be sold. We work side-by-side with our legal team to make sure we are up-to-date and compliant with all state regulations.
What International countries are you currently in now?
We distribute to all countries where CBD is currently legal both online and through international distribution channels.
What kind of a team did it take to build CBD Living into the company that it is today?
It started with just myself and my COO Sean. Together, we have built the company into over 70 employees and boost our own manufacturing facility, distribution facility and corporate office.
What’s your best selling product right now and are there any other products that you can share with us you’re hoping to launch soon?
Our flagship product, CBD Living Water, is still our best-selling product. It’s being distributed by the truckloads across the country every day. We are constantly working on developing new products and have an entire new line getting ready to launch – stay tuned!
Can you share with us any advantages that came from being the 1st to market and how soon did you realize that you were going to be the very 1st ones to take off?
The advantage of being one of the first to market is that we have had the time to perfect our products to be some of the best in the marketplace, and get the brand recognition while doing so. We’re not jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak. We’ve believed in the value of CBD for years.
What kinds of exciting partnerships do you have?
We have some unbelievable partnerships currently in the works – that I still can’t believe are happening myself – but unfortunately we cannot reveal these at this time.
How has social media boosted the brand’s presence and what can you tell us about the positive feedback you received after the press like BuzzFeed?
Social media is a game-changer in the business world today. It helps us get our brand name out to hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise would not know about CBD Living. We appreciate all the incredibly posts and testimonials we receive daily.
For new users and newcomers to CBD, what types of products would you recommend for their getting started?
CBD Living Water is a good place to start. It doesn’t have a “hemp” taste. Plus, everyone needs to drink water, so it’s an easy way to get your daily intake of CBD while also staying hydrated. We also recommend our CBD Living Freeze, our number-one best seller in the topical category, for anyone with aches and pains. Our CBD Gummies are also popular – since they’re so delicious, there’s no way you’re going to miss your daily dose! But all of our CBD products are exceptional, so we recommend choosing the format (topical, edible, vape, etc.) based on what fits best into your daily routine.
What advice would you have for someone hoping to launch a CBD product now?
Did you ever feel like quitting or giving up?
Many many times. But here we are today a leader in the CBD Industry.
B. Le Grand