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The Impact of the Coronavirus on the CBD Industry with Yoshi Tochiki of cbdMD

Post-Covid: Which Brands Will Thrive?

Vadim  10:49

That’s great. So we were talking before we got started with the recording on which kind of brands in the space would be not only surviving but thriving after this whole thing is over. So what do you think are some characteristics of brands that are going to do well once this is done.

Yoshi  11:09

So over the past three weeks, we’ve been incredibly analytical about what’s taking place and try to keep our finger on each KPI, as we call it. And certain things that I think are gonna stand above others are obviously, as we discussed, sourcing, staying in front of any issues that may happen with the sourcing. The second piece to that would be pivoting, the marketing and pivoting how you’re providing to wholesalers and to certain customers. As you know, a lot of people aren’t wanting to have a face-to-face interaction. So a lot of that engagement is going to have to transfer to social elements on social media. We’ve seen social media grow leaps and bounds here in just the past five years. And I think we’re going to continue to see the creativeness come out using those channels. So I think, number one, if you have the sourcing in place, number two, if you have the team to be able to pivot and provide a lot more digital touch points for customers, those are reel-to-reel characteristics that are going to be the backbone during this transition period.

Vadim  12:19

Yes. And how about the transparency side of things? What do you think? How do you think that will play a role?

Yoshi  12:24

Transparency, for us in CBD, has always been at the forefront of who we work with and how you experience a product. In the world that we’re living in today, transparency is of the utmost importance. And I think that that probably goes to number one in terms of how customers choose the brand that they go with.

Building Trust in CBD

Vadim  12:47

And what do you think people should look for in a brand to analyze if they’re being transparent? What are the main things to look for?

Yoshi  12:55

I think if it says it on the label, if you can’t find proof about it on their website, or any substantiation, if it says THC free, and you go to that certificate of analysis on that website, and you don’t see the THC being tested for, you don’t see the residual solvents, residual pesticides, you have a very clear indicator there, that they’re either being mistruthful or they’re not being completely transparent with what’s in their product. So it’s about doing the due diligence, and not only just listening to the marketing,

Vadim  13:29

Yes, I think you’re right about that. And that’s been the case from the beginning, is just that people do need to check the product that they’re buying. And hopefully, it’s easy for them like the way your company has made it easy on the website to check that stuff and just check it by the batch that they have. And the easier the company can make it, the more I think the customer will gain trust in them.

Yoshi  13:50

Absolutely. And you actually brought up a great word of saying the batch that that product came from. A lot of companies aren’t really necessarily putting out exact batch numbers for, you know, traceability of how you find out what is exactly in that product. With us, we’ve invested internally in our operations and our standard operating procedures. So we just became GMP-certified this year. And we recently acquired the NSF certification, which is a pretty big deal. And it’s a pretty big deal because when you use cbdMD products now, we have consistent dosing, and it’s because of the hard work and the structure that we put into our manufacturing.

Vadim  14:35

So the batch, for people just to nail what we’re talking about, it’s when you can look up the lab report for the exact — well, I don’t want to use the same word, but the exact time that your product is made. So if a company is making a new product every six months, for example, you don’t want to see the lab report from two years ago because that could have changed. A lot of things could have changed since then. You want to see the lab report from the six month time period that your product was made. So that’s all we mean by the batch. And cbdMD does provide that and other good companies do too. So it’s a matter of looking for that and making sure you’re not only looking for the lab report, but looking for the lab report from your batch. And if you call the customer service of any brand, they’ll know what you’re talking about. So it’s not like this secret thing. And what you said, Yoshi, about the dosing, what is that? How are you controlling the consistent dosing for the product.

Yoshi  15:30

So with our GMP and our standard operating procedures, our product is manufactured identical, identical to the previous batc. If you were to take one of our products that were made last week, and test it against one of the products that were made this week, it’s going to be identical because our formulation is a step process. And so long as you follow those guidelines, and you follow those steps, you know that the dosing and the product is going to be consistent across the board. So our dosing really speaks to how we produce our product.

Vadim  16:07

And you know what, that is so important for people that are using the same product and they’re buying the same one over and over because they’re going to get a different batch, just the way CBD works. It’s a fresh product. it has a decent shelf life compared to like a food, but it’s not, you know, it’s not made once every five years. So people that are buying the same product, they need it to be consistent if they’re using it on a weekly or a regular basis. 

Yoshi  16:32

Exactly. 

cbdMD Award-Winning Products

Vadim  16:33

And, you know, Yoshi, we haven’t talked in a while. So I didn’t get to congratulate you guys on your win on the — recently, you guys got Product of the Year on two products, right? The topicals and the sleep products.

Yoshi  16:46

Yes, sir. We have an incredible marketing team. Danielle Crary and Ken Cohn have been absolutely instrumental in making sure that our brand awareness stays top of mind for our customers. And a big piece of that is submitting to Product of the Year. We swept that category for the CBD products in Product of the Year. And, you know, we’re incredibly proud of it. And we’re featuring in a lot of our marketing. And I think it really speaks volumes to our product. 

Vadim  17:14

We did a press release when that happened. So I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. And the sleep product is one I want to touch on. Because a lot of people are just not sleeping. And it’s really bad. It’s just like, I’ve gone through that myself, where I was just thinking that six hours was normal or enough or I could handle it. And it just doesn’t work out in the end. And it’s kind of funny that something so basic, like sleeping, is becoming an issue for people, you know, but it really is a health issue. And it can only get worse if people don’t start sleeping, especially during a stressful time like this. So anything that can help you sleep. I mean, I don’t really know where the research is on whether or not CBD messes with your REM sleep, but I’m pretty sure it’s better than not sleeping at all. So, you know, and I think it’s better than some of the harder stuff like Ambien or, you know, which has been shown to to maybe mess with the REM sleep cycles and all that stuff. I’m not an expert. But there’s a fantastic episode that a lot of people will reference with Joe Rogan’s podcast where he had a sleep expert on. And that one, it really opened my eyes just to how important it is to get those eight hours and whatever can help you do that, I think is a good tool, depending on, you know, just making sure it’s not messing with your sleep, you know, still getting good quality. 

Yoshi  18:39

Absolutely. And we’re living in this weird time where every day is Groundhog Day. And we’re really creatures of habit. We love going to our favorite gas station before going to work. We love stopping at our favorite, you know, eatery on the way home and grabbing some food up. When we don’t have those rhythms and we don’t have those routines, you know, it definitely affects, you know, stress and anxiety. If you’re not able to have that simple social release, it’s just going to continue to pent up or continue to build up in you, which will lead to anxiety, which will lead to lack of sleep. And I truly believe that our products are incredible. We choose to use all natural ingredients, like you mentioned. A lot of those synthetic components, they have addictive properties as well as just a bunch of different side effects. And so, you know, I completely agree that the sleep products, they’re not proven.

Vadim  19:31

Not yet.. 

Yoshi  18:39

Yeah, not yet. But if you are and I take relief from it, I think it’s kind of important to have a small personal victory.

Vadim  19:38

I think it’s a matter of: is it better than not sleeping at all? I think so. You know, I think if you talk to a doctor, and neither you or I are medical professionals, but I would assume that your doctor would say if it helps you and you’re not noticing any negative side effects from it and you’re not taking it in huge doses, it’s better than not sleeping at all. But that’s just my take on it. You know, I use melatonin personally, every night. And it’s not fully proven as another example. And I know it’s a key ingredient in the PM Blend, but among other ingredients, you know, it’s not a proven thing, and it might have some issues. But I know I feel better when I get a good night’s rest. So that’s why I use it. 

Coping with Stress During the Pandemic

And I think a lot of other people are using CBD in the same way for anxiety, whereas they don’t want to take Xanax or something like that because that’s been proven to be a problem, you know, and that’s shown to cause major problems. And I keep talking about Joe Rogan’s podcast, but he often will mention how he knows people that use Xanax and when they get off it, their anxieties get worse. And I’ve experienced that, like where it does work. If you have anxiety, it definitely works. But it kind of can make it worse when it comes back. So have you seen feedback from customers? And I’m not sure if you’re dealing with customer support much, but in this time, like have you had an increase in orders or feedback from customers saying that they are using the CBD to help them relieve some of the stress of this period?

Yoshi  21:07

I think we’ve definitely… it hasn’t been incredibly overwhelming. But it’s absolutely increased from what I’m seeing.

 

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