With estimates suggesting that the UK CBD market could be worth around £1 billion by 2025, it’s not surprising that there are several new brands looking to get a piece of the pie. We caught up with two that have already succeeded to find out where they went right.
Leading premium CBD brand TRIP’s range includes CBD-infused drinks, cold brew coffee and adaptogen-based oils. Since the lockdown it’s seen demand skyrocket. With many people looking for new ways to find immediate stress-relief, it’s also partnered with Deliveroo to offer an on-demand delivery service in London, Manchester and Leeds. James Edmunds, TRIP’s managing director, talks us through the brand’s success.
Why do you think TRIP has been so successful?
Edmunds says: “I think TRIP connects with what a lot of people are looking for in a wellness product today. As awareness of the importance of stress management grows and interest in yoga and mindfulness increases, TRIP is just a natural extension of that search for stress-relief.
“Another element that has led to our growth accelerating is consumers looking for alcohol alternatives that have an instant effect. When you are at a bar or restaurant, being able to order a drink that can boost your mood without the hangover the next day, it’s a game changer.
“Most importantly, TRIP’s success is built on the commitment we put into product quality, the accessible price point and beautiful packaging. We also believe that the flavour of our products has changed a lot of peoples’ minds about CBD.”
What have you got right that others haven’t?
“With an emerging market it’s almost impossible to say what is right and wrong, and as a brand we can only assess what is ‘right’ for us. When we discuss our range with our online social community, what they really value is the commitment to authentic functionality, with the most effective ingredients, combined with our uniquely delicious flavours.
“Apart from the actual products, we find our fans value the brand being run by a family that they can talk to and relate to. In a category like CBD where there is a lot of confusion about claims and benefits, having a family running the brand who can answer questions directly is really important.”
What advice would you give to someone taking on the CBD market?
“There have been many setbacks as we have built TRIP, but each has taught us that it is all about perspective. In a startup, every setback is a chance to improve, take positive actions, adapt and refocus strategy. Definitely having a great team and support system is crucial.
“For those thinking of launching into the CBD market our advice would be to take advantage of the universal value proposition of CBD! It extends across recovery, inspiration, relaxation and productivity to name just a few. Without UK market precedent, TRIP launched with a wide-ranging distribution strategy and found that CBD can operate unlike many other functional products. Served across 500 stockists including premium lifestyle (Selfridges, Harvey Nichols), fitness (Equinox studios, Triyoga), independent grocery (Planet Organic, Daylesford Organic), co-working spaces (Huckletree), hospitality and more; each retail channel evidences its universality and cross-channel opportunity.”
Grass & Co.
Founded by brothers Ben and Tom Grass, London-based Grass & Co. launched its first CBD product range in July 2019. Since launch it has extended its range to include EASE and CALM Body Oils, muscle balm for topical application and a consumable CBD oil. It also secured an exclusive partnership with Selfridges and closed a €847k seed financing round backed by a number of experienced angel investors in late 2019. CEO Toby Gordon-Smith shares the secrets to its success…
What do you credit Grass & Co.’s success to?
Gordon-Smith says: “We started out with a vision built on insights from other more developed markets like the US and Canada. We looked at the data that showed how and why consumers were using CBD products and developed our range strategy with these insights in mind.
“We’ve developed our product range around the needs and rituals of our consumers. CBD is central to that product range, but we will only use it in ways that we believe it will be effective. Tying this together, our approach of blending CBD with therapeutic botanical ingredients has helped us to differentiate from the majority of other brands. In turn, this has also allowed us to play into a broader range of aromatherapy products such as pillow sprays, candles and bath salts that support these daily consumer rituals and lifestyle needs.”
What have you got right?
“I think our unwavering commitment to always delivering the finest quality CBD and botanical products is something we feel was the right decision since day one. This uncompromising focus on product quality and authenticity from the very beginning is something the team are extremely proud of. We reinforce this investment in product quality by rigorously lab testing all our batches of CBD products. We publish these results on our website so consumers can be reassured they are getting exactly what they pay for.
“But, it goes way beyond this. For instance, we were meticulous when selecting the suppliers and ingredients we were happy to work with to ensure that the entire range delivered the best and most consistent quality.
“We welcome the new clearer guidelines regarding CBD safety and labelling, for instance around the recognition of Novel Foods. As the regulations are evolving and catching up with the industry, those early choices we made are paying off for our business. There has been plenty of press coverage of brands that have been failing to meet the same standards and I hope that it isn’t damaging the reputation of the industry as a whole.
“We remain passionate about our high quality ethos, from our new product development to our marketing and route to market strategy. I see many brands that launch confusing product ranges and business leaders that seem to have a different business model every time I speak to them. We are totally committed to a single-minded vision of building the best premium CBD wellness brand. The incredible feedback and reviews we receive every day from our customers about how our products are helping them are so rewarding and inspire us to achieve more.”
What advice would you give to someone taking on the CBD market?
“Startups are challenging environments in more established categories – it’s typically two steps forward and one step back. In CBD, this is made even more challenging due to the policies of service providers, from financial institutions to media owners. For instance, even well-known marketing agencies we’ve worked with have found it more difficult to navigate than they anticipated and this learning cost us time and money.
“My biggest achievement is seeing through our single-minded vision and building a talented team of capable and committed people who share this vision. Together, we can work our way through all the challenges and barriers that stand in our way. There are no shortcuts to success.”