TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE
Chris Battis: On this episode of Intent Topics, we’re joined by Liz Kirby, and today we’ll be talking about building a CBD business in the cannabis industry.
Logan Kelly: Hello everybody. Thank you for tuning into Intent Topics today. Today we are changing things up a little bit. We have Liz Kirby from Good Jane. Liz, thanks for coming on the show. So awesome to have you here. Talk to us about your story and what you got going on.
Liz Kirby: Sure. Hi, Logan and Chris, thanks so much for having me.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely.
Chris Battis: Hi. Of course.
Liz Kirby: I’m excited to be here and talk about my company, Good Jane. Good Jane is a CBD company based in Portland, Maine. I started the brand about a year ago, because I had begun to notice that the juggle of having two young kids, a home, a career, et cetera, was becoming a lot. I wasn’t sleeping well, easily stressed out, frustrated, et cetera. The things I used to do to decompress, like exercise, were actually causing more pain and plus I didn’t have time for it. I also noticed that my friends who had similar lifestyles were mostly all in the same boat. I ultimately decided to create a line of products that would help people like us with these sort of problems that we all face as we grow up in a not real plant-based way.
Chris Battis: Sounds pretty familiar to me, being… Yeah. That’s cool.
Logan Kelly: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Chris Battis: Let’s start with the name. If your name’s Liz, I was expecting your name to be Jane. How did you get the Good Jane name? Is that a a play on Mary Jane? All right. I got it.
Liz Kirby: It sure is. Yeah. It’s a play on Mary Jane. Just all of the good stuff and none of the… Not bad, but non… I guess.
Chris Battis: Non-federally legal, I guess you could say?
Liz Kirby: Correct. Yeah, there we go. All the legal stuff. None of the illegal.
Chris Battis: Although probably a big day for the banking industry in cannabis as of yesterday. I don’t know if you saw that news, but that’s… We’re inching forward there.
Liz Kirby: I know. Yeah, I saw that.
Logan Kelly: Yeah.
Liz Kirby: I know. It’s awesome.
Logan Kelly: Yeah. Hopefully the Senate can get their act together, because that’s where it seems like stuff is just going to die these days.
Chris Battis: Yeah. That’s another podcast all together. Yeah.
Logan Kelly: Hopefully gets through.
Chris Battis: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Logan Kelly: Cool. Liz, one of the things that we focused on with our clients at Union is positioning and creating a powerful narrative. And when we look at the… We’re obviously all in varying degrees in the cannabis space. The CBD space is really crowded, and there are a lot of people saying the same stuff. And we see this in a few different places, like the pet industry, CBD, the THC market in the states that it’s legal. How are you positioning Good Jane differently in a space that it’s hard to get that message across?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. I mean, yeah, you’re right. There is a ton of CBD brands out there and all of them are saying the same thing. They’re all basically made with the exact same ingredients as each other, and there’s very little difference between them. Our differentiation is really in our messaging and our ingredients. When I first started looking at CBD, I noticed that every brand was the same, and they were all toting their product as the kind of cure-all for everything. The same product can help you during the day to stay awake and be focused as can help you at night to go to sleep and sleep well, and can help you with your pain, and can cure cancer, whatever.
Liz Kirby: I sort of started researching what exactly CBD really is and what its medicinal properties are. And it’s true, it has a lot, but it doesn’t do everything that everyone says it does. I wanted to create a brand that was able to have different products that actually did different things. We worked with a Maine herbalist here in Maine and developed recipes that would be hemp plus other botanicals, and the botanicals that we use in each product are different based on what the desired effect is. Our sleep formula is actually much different than our daytime anxiety formula, and our pain stick is actually much different than our PMS stick. By blending the different botanicals, we’re able to do that.
Liz Kirby: Another point of differentiation for us is our brand messaging. Like I said before, we’re really geared towards grownups, people who maybe would otherwise be hesitant to try CBD for whatever stigma that still exists, and we really do everything in our power to get away from any kind of stoner culture. Our packaging is something that we wanted moms to be able to pull out on the playground, or in the board room or whatever, and not be embarrassed or ashamed.
Chris Battis: Yeah, criticized. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, I love the look of your brand. Looks great.
Liz Kirby: Thank you. Thank you.
Logan Kelly: Yep. Life’s rich. It’s fantastic.
Liz Kirby: Life’s rich, but if you do, bitch.
Chris Battis: Yeah. That’s good.
Logan Kelly: That’s awesome. That’s good. Talk to us. I think our listeners are kind of everything from people in the space to people who couldn’t be further from it, are in pretty regulated industries, very technical positions and whatnot. Talk to us about CBD as a… What are some of its properties? How, if you are in kind of this heavily regulated industry where there’s sort of things like drug testing and all that kind of stuff, what does that look like for somebody as it relates to CBD?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. CBD by itself is, I think it’s biggest quality is that it’s extremely anti-inflammatory. It has anti-anxiety properties. It’s analgesic. And there’s not very much research on CBD, but what little research there is suggests that it could even have pain-reducing qualities by itself. It is also an adaptogen, so it works differently with different bodies. It’s going to adapt to what your body needs versus… It’s going to work differently for you versus someone else probably.
Liz Kirby: And I forgot what the second half of your question was.
Logan Kelly: Yeah. Heavily regulated industries. We’ve heard of CBD being used by athletes, but I know when you’ve got people who are potentially working government contracts or are at places where you can’t fail a drug test. Talk to us about what that looks like.
Liz Kirby: Some CBD products contain THC, so in order to be classified as hemp or CBD, it has to have 0.03 percent or less THC, which is obviously a very small amount. Our products have no THC in them at all. And so a drug test that tests for THC, you’re not going to test positive for CBD.
Logan Kelly: Interesting. Cool, cool. Cool. So in other words, it’s those health benefits without that high when you take it, or a month later there’s no accidental failing an important drug tests or anything like that.
Liz Kirby: Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Logan Kelly: Cool. Very cool. There’s a lot of momentum for CBD in the marketplace. I feel like you walk into a gas station and there’s a display of CBD and you really don’t know where it came from or what it’s supposed to do. Yeah. And then Gronk’s on the news talking about he’s got a CBD brand, which is wild.
Liz Kirby: Yeah, it is wild.
Logan Kelly: But I think there’s a lot of talk about is it affective, and how is it effective and that kind of stuff. How have you answered that question when it comes to Good Jane?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. I think that for most everyone, most people, CBD is effective. One thing I know that a lot of people, when they take just CBD, you’re kind of still expecting, even though you maybe know that it’s not marijuana, you’re kind of expecting this immediate fuzzy feeling or an effect, and I always describe it more as the lack of side effects. You’re not feeling anxious. You’re not feeling mellow. You’re just-
Logan Kelly: Oh, interesting.
Liz Kirby: [inaudible 00:10:31] the absence of those kind of stress responses. And it can also take, because it works differently in everybody’s body, it can take time to build up in your body. Some people, some of my customers feel the effects right away, and they can take it on an as-needed basis, which is awesome. But a lot of people, it takes more time to build up in your system and to start really working. But our products, because of the blend of botanicals, our products tend to be a little bit more immediate in their effect, and they are really effective. Our sleep aid is a blend of valerian root hops, passionflower, lemon balm, and hemp, and the valerian root and the hops and the passionflower are really, they’re sedatives. They’re working right away to make you feel really tired, and then it’s the buildup of the CBD over time that’s helping you to kind of relax and get that deep sleep consistently. I think that Good Jane is really effective because we use high quality ingredients, but also because of the botanical blends. The formulas that we’ve come up with, they work really well.
Liz Kirby: We have a lot of customers in the endometriosis market who use our Not This Month stick, and we’ve been so happy to be able to help that market in particular, because these women just are suffering daily with sometimes just debilitating pain and it’s very rare to find something that works. And we’ve had a lot of women come back to us and say, “You know, this is one of the only things that works. It really keeps me from calling out from work every day,” or whatever. Yeah. It’s awesome.
Logan Kelly: That’s awesome.
Liz Kirby: So awesome.
Logan Kelly: That’s cool. That’s really cool. And I think in a lot of different arenas, there’s this idea of a silver bullet, and I feel like I’ve fallen into the silver bullet fallacy where it’s like if I just do this one thing, or I just get this one piece of software, I just… And I think CBD has become that, where it’s like if I take CBD, I’ll fall asleep. And we were talking about where everybody’s like… It’s like the Swiss army knife compound, right? [crosstalk 00:13:01] That’s cool that you’re not leaning, Good Jane is not leaning 100 percent on CBD. It contains CBD, but it’s also formulated around other things, which is great.
Chris Battis: Yeah, it seems like it’s homeopathic medicine merged with CBD equals the output, what you’re doing. Yeah, that’s great.
Liz Kirby: Yeah. Totally. Yeah. And all of the-
Logan Kelly: Very cool. It’s not straight line-
Liz Kirby: All of the botanicals that we use are, they are also considered companion plants to the hemp itself, so they were chosen not only for their medicinal properties individually, but also their ability to work with the hemp plant [crosstalk 00:13:40].
Chris Battis: I’m curious, what’s the feedback been on the Not This Month stick? Is it effective? I just have to imagine that’s… I feel like I’ve seen a lot of cannabis [inaudible 00:13:52], and I haven’t seen a lot of this. I’m curious what the feedback is and its effectiveness, because that’d be a very productive product.
Liz Kirby: Yeah, it’s awesome. There’s a large number of women who, even after puberty, are facing debilitating cramps monthly. I have so many customers who, when they write their review, they’re like, “I haven’t gone a day of my period without taking ibuprofen every two hours for 10 years.” And they’re like, “I apply Not This Month. It works within 10 minutes, and I haven’t taken aspirin for four months.”
Chris Battis: Wow, really?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. It’s awesome. [crosstalk 00:14:36] It works really well. Even we have, like I was saying in the endometriosis market, we have people who have… It’s not just around their period. Endometriosis affects you basically all the time and you’re in constant pain, but it’s related to your reproductive system. It’s the same area of pain as when you are on your period, and so they use it daily. And I won’t say they don’t experience any pain at all, but I will say that market experiences incredibly difficult pain all the time, and the people who have used our stick from that market have said that it helps. And something that helps them is really awesome, because there’s not a lot that does.
Logan Kelly: Yeah.
Chris Battis: Wow.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool.
Liz Kirby: Definitely our most unique product in terms of CBD products. There’s not a lot better geared towards PMS in that way.
Logan Kelly: No, no. And I think that’s one of the cool things about what you have going on is this stuff, it works, but you’re really working to kind of break through that noise, because you just don’t see that stuff. I got a question. You probably already have some war stories kind of in the market, in the uncertainty being in the space. What have you learned about building a brand new company in a space that banking’s not 100 percent rock solid with this stuff. The supply chain, I don’t know if you have any issues there.
Chris Battis: FDA stuff.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, exactly. How have you been adapting to that, and what are some lessons that you’re carrying forward?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. We’ve definitely faced some stuff with it being an unregulated market. There’s no standard right now in terms of labeling, and as you kind of alluded to before, there’s a million CBD companies and they’re all trying to position themselves as the best and the most unique in the whatever. There’s a lot of terms being thrown around, like CBD isolate versus full spectrum versus whole plant, and there’s not a ton of research. There’s no research on what any of this stuff is, and there’s no federally mandated way to say if your product contains this, then it’s called this. We definitely dealt with that in our packaging with having to make changes to kind of go along with the thought leaders in the industry. But again, you just don’t know. You’re just kind of always on your toes, because you don’t know maybe how can it change again next month, and do I really want to print 5,000 labels that say this?
Chris Battis: Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh. And imagine, this isn’t affecting your space, but something like this could. But a lot of these vape producers, Massachusetts just banned them for four months. I mean, that’s crippling. I saw in the news that the first brand has actually filed a lawsuit against the state because they’re just dead in the water. Right?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. I’ve never been so happy that we don’t have a vape. We’ve been developing one and we were super excited about it, but it’s just really expensive to make, and now I’m so glad that we didn’t do it.
Chris Battis: Yeah, yeah. I mean, not to say you can’t eventually, but I think there’s some stuff to get figured out there.
Liz Kirby: For sure. Yeah.
Chris Battis: Yeah. But imagine the anxiety that would create as a business.
Liz Kirby: Oh, yeah. Be popping a lot of Hello Mellows with that one.
Chris Battis: Yeah. Nighty-nite. Yeah. Yeah.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, nice plug. What does Good Jane look like if it turns into what you kind of dream of?
Liz Kirby: You know what my dream is? For Good Jane to be a household name. I want people to think about it the same way they now think about aspirin or whatever. I have a headache. Put some Good Jane on. I want it to be available to everyone, because I really believe that it works, and I would love for everyone to be able to have the kind of natural pain relief or anxiety relief or sleep the best that they can. And I hope that that happens.
Chris Battis: Sweet. That’d be cool. That’d be huge. Do you see yourself creating a lot more products, or do you going to stay in this kind of niche of the products you have available now?
Liz Kirby: I definitely have ideas for a lot more products. I’d love to get into the… CBD beauty is really big right now. I’d love to get into that. I wanted to do vapes, but now I’m kind of thinking maybe pre-rolls are cool. I don’t know. Lots of different stuff that I’d love to do.
Chris Battis: Is there a strong community kind of in your industry in the Portland area? Is there a lot of people kind of working, or are you kind of on your own? Talk to me about what that’s like.
Liz Kirby: In Portland, there’s not a ton of CBD. There certainly is some, but I don’t feel like the community is super tight-knit. But I have found a more domestically national network of female-founded companies. There’s so many amazing female-founded CBD companies, and it’s so cool to see all these creative women coming into this new space and creating such beautiful products in an industry where thoughts to design and beauty were never considered before. And that’s been really, really awesome, and we have a little Instagram group that we chat on the daily, and we’re trying to organize events together and stuff.
Chris Battis: Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Yeah. We’re finding a ton of that in the cannabis space. It’s kind of like all boats rise with the tide. There isn’t this competitive edge that you see in-
Liz Kirby: Totally.
Chris Battis: I’ve spent a lot of time in tech and stuff like that, and the thing that I just love about this industry is, even in myself, it seems like everyone I talk to has a story similar to yours on why they got in this. And it’s just for all the good reasons, all the right reasons. And I think that’s what makes it such a strong community, and I hope it can stay that way as it gets big and turns into this multi-billion dollar industry. But it’s remarkable how the authenticity of why people are doing this is so real. And I’m just [crosstalk 00:21:34] blown away by it. Yeah.
Liz Kirby: Totally.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, yeah. It’s pretty cool. I was at Hall of Flowers last week, which is absolute madness. The craziest experience. And what was really cool is you walk up to somebody and they are so excited to talk about it. And it’s not a sales pitch, you know? And I think that’s the great thing. I think as more and more money flows in, I think that the sort of protecting that comradery in the industry will be really important, because it is fun to be in and fun to be talking to brands like this.
Chris Battis: It’s almost like the authenticity will weed out the predatorial kind of people that have come into this space. And I was at Hall of Flowers the year before. I didn’t go this year. I was blown away by A, the design of all these brands was just gorgeous. All the different products, all the different ways people are using these substances to create products, and then the professionalism. I was expecting it to be more unprofessional. I mean, first of all, being from New Hampshire, I’d never been around that much cannabis in my life. I was like, “Where are the police?”
Logan Kelly: Cannabis in one place? Yeah, yeah.
Chris Battis: But I was blown away by how professional it was, and so much business is happening at that show. I was just so impressed. It was a great snapshot of the industry, and I was really proud of everyone that was there. Anyways, that’s my opinion on that show.
Logan Kelly: Yeah, yeah.
Liz Kirby: I do think everyone in the industry is working towards elevating the industry and getting away from that stoner stereotype.
Chris Battis: Yeah.
Liz Kirby: Cool to see.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely.
Chris Battis: It’s definitely there’s a long way to go, but it’s very important. Right? I mean, how many people come up to, probably weekly, be like, “Hey, I heard CBD would be great for X, Y, or Z. What products?” It’s coming around. People I would never expect in a million years are taking this seriously now.
Liz Kirby: Oh, I know.
Chris Battis: Even people that would have turned their cheek to even homeopathic medicine are now… Now that CBD has helped pull people into that space.
Liz Kirby: I know.
Chris Battis: It’s really, really interesting. Yeah.
Logan Kelly: As we’re talking about this, I think we can go into shameless plug time.
Chris Battis: Please, let’s really cut loose here.
Logan Kelly: You can totally… [crosstalk 00:24:06] Yeah, totally. We’re watching you grow, and you’re looking to sort of go into these different retailers, I believe. If a retailer or a shopfront or any sort of business was interested in getting into carrying CBD, or is, give us the shameless plug. Why is Good Jane the right brand to be on the shelves?
Liz Kirby: Yeah. It is, definitely. I think, one, because we have such a beautiful design in our packaging, so people are just drawn to it off the bat. It stands out on the shelves, it looks amazing, it stands out against other products, and our brand messaging really targets those people who have a little bit of money to spend and are willing to spend it. We’re an elevated brand that is focused on helping people. We’re also super transparent about all of our manufacturing, sourcing, testing, et cetera. You’re not going to find any ghosts or skeletons in our closet.
Liz Kirby: And all of our retailers that we have currently come back to us month after month, because their clients, their customers are coming in, buying the product, and coming back. We have so many people reordering all the time. I think that the ROI for Good Jane in a store is huge. People are definitely repeat customers.
Logan Kelly: Nice.
Liz Kirby: Once you go Good Jane, you never go back.
Logan Kelly: Nice. Yeah, yeah. And the-
Liz Kirby: Once you go Good Jane, you never go back.
Logan Kelly: What was that? That’s awesome. Yeah. And I think that’s the key in this space right now is there’s all these products, and it’s like, what’s the ROI for the retailer? And part of that calculation is, are people going to like the product enough to come back? It’s got to look good on the shelves, and then it’s got to do what it says it does. That’s really cool. Sweet. All right. Well, I think this was a great episode.
Chris Battis: Yeah. Cool. Thanks for joining us, Liz. This is great.
Liz Kirby: Thanks for having me.
Chris Battis: You got it. Logan, we’ll wrap it up.
Logan Kelly: Absolutely.
Chris Battis: Cool. I’m Chris Battis.
Logan Kelly: And I’m Logan Kelly. Thank you so much for tuning in today to Intent Topics. Please give us a five-star rating on whatever podcast app you listen on. We will see you next time.
Chris Battis: Take care.