How did you get to where you are today, CEO and Chief Product Officer at Vital Leaf?
I started in the natural food industry as a holistic chef and eventually became the marketing manager for Coconut Bliss. I’ve always seen food as medicine and when I discovered CBD in 2015, I experimented with my own edible recipes and saw the amazing benefits first hand. After a year of honing in product formulas and recruiting the right team, I started raising capital to build the brand and we launched Vital Leaf CBD products in January 2018.
What’s your mission at Vital Leaf?
As a company, our purpose is to bring high quality cannabis foods and formulas to the mainstream market in the spirit of vitality. All of our edibles, skincare, and herbal formulas are created with plant-based ingredients that nourish the body and compliment the medicine of the plant. We also put a big focus on regenerative agriculture, which is a big part of the hemp economy and aligned with our mission to have a positive social and environmental impact. My focus as CEO in 2019 has been educating customers and driving sales.
What products are you most excited about today and what’s coming in the future?
I’m really excited about our CBD-infused chocolates and pairing phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract with cacao. Chocolate contains anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, stimulating a sense of happiness and mental well-being. In the near future, we are expanding our body care and edible product offerings, as well as refining our brand image. We are committed to innovation and staying at the forefront of the industry. We are actively researching other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant and exploring methods to enhance bioavailability to enhance product efficacy.
What do you want investors to know about Vital Leaf?
The strength of our leadership team is what sets us apart from other brands in the industry. We have recruited many women with experience running companies in natural beauty, nutraceuticals, wellness, and consumer packaged goods. The wealth of knowledge at Vital Leaf is pretty outstanding.
In addition to our team, the strength of our product portfolio; what’s on the market today and additional products in R&D that will differentiate us. Our infrastructure is also solid. Our technology systems and manufacturing capability is scalable and our fulfillment center is ready for national distribution. We have also implemented rigorous tracking and testing to ensure that when the FDA announces regulations, we will be able to meet or exceed them.
What is your approach to marketing and building your brand?
We are very education-forward and have developed extensive marketing collateral for our sales team and retail partners. We focus on conveying our company values and building trust with our customers.
Coming from a CPG company that worked primarily in the retail space, we leveraged our network and focused on getting onto shelves in brick and mortar stores first - the vast majority of our business is B2B, targeting leading retailers. In Q1 we will be working with an industry experienced marketing firm to scale up our e-commerce.
What can the CBD industry do better?
Education and regulations.
Publishing lab reports for all products sold should be an industry standard. When people are using a product for their health and vitality, it’s important to know the exact potency and confirm that it’s free of contaminants and pesticides. Unfortunately, there is an excess of companies that are selling products with inaccurate, misleading, or incorrect information. The industry needs greater transparency and proper regulations.
The industry should also push for educating consumers on hemp terminology. One example that shows it is greatly needed is the overuse of the general term “Hemp Oil” on product packaging, which is currently used interchangeably to refer to both hemp extract and hemp seed oil. Many brands have taken advantage of this confusion by selling inexpensive hemp seed oil advertised as a CBD-rich hemp extract wellness product.
Christina Sasser will be speaking at The Cannabis Private Investment Summit in San Francisco on November 5th, click here to request an invitation.
The Cannabis Private Investment Summit Series showcases the best and brightest cannabis entrepreneurs and is the premiere summit for institutional investors, family offices, and ultra high net worth investors. For additional information, please visit www.cannabrunch.net or email us at email@example.com.