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Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

CBD edibles such as gummies have expanded massively thanks to a variety of flavours and easy accessibility. 

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Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

We meet Luke Langfield and Layton Brooks founders of CBD brand, Zenbears, to ask what got them interested in CBD and where they see the industry going in 2022.

When it comes to entering the CBD market, a lot of founders decide to start a brand after experiencing the benefits personally. The sense of passion and community created by independent brands who connect with their products gives the industry an authentic feel where founders can’t wait to share the benefits with others. 

Zenbears is no exception to this. The company began in 2019 by co-founders  Luke and Layton after a personal connection with CBD. Zenbears has gone on to develop a loyal community of customers who engage with the brand’s fun marketing and tasty products.

Layton explained his personal connection with CBD. “My wife suffers from Lyme disease. She was bitten by a tick when she was nine then struggled for years with symptoms of the disease. She’s been on multiple antibiotics and prescriptions over the years then she wanted to try more holistic or herbal remedies.

“The antibiotics were having a detrimental effect on her long-term health so she decided to try CBD. She used it at first for arthritis and joint pain. That’s where the interest came from as it seems to be a booming industry and something we wanted to explore.”

Layton approached Luke with the idea of starting a CBD brand. 

“At the time, there weren’t a lot of trusted sources on the UK market so we decided if we were going to do it, we would do it properly and create a good brand. Let’s get people excited about this and give them a brand they can trust.”

When it comes to products, they decided to focus the brand on producing high-quality CBD gummies rather than an array of products. Both of the founders came from finance and marketing backgrounds so an analysis of growth trends in the wellness sector and keyword searches revealed a consumer interest in edibles. 

Layton said: “Oils are a great product but we felt that with gummy bears, we can reach a wider demographic.”

Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

Transparency Market Research estimates that the CBD edibles market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 13.7 per cent and is projected to reach a valuation of US£34.15bn by 2031.

The growth of edibles such as gummies can be attributed to many different reasons but certainly, taste plays a part. Oils can have strong hemp flavours that leave an aftertaste in the mouth. The accessibility of gummies for those who may be new to CBD or hesitant to take them in public is another reason for their growth in popularity.

Luke said: “The accessibility of the gummies for us and consumers was key. A lot of people don’t want to put a pipette in their mouth to take oil or do that in public. Whereas you can just take a gummy at work and no one needs to know.”

The company had already gotten its start by the time COVID began. However, there was no denying that even established brands were thrown a curveball when it came to long-term planning. Lockdowns, raw material supply, Brexit rules and also delivery issues combined over the past two years to make it a complex time to be starting or expanding a business.

For Zenbears, it meant rethinking their retail strategy.

Layton explained: “When it came to online sales, we saw an initial dip when the first lockdown happened but since then, growth has been steady. I would say the overall decrease hasn’t been negative. Where we have seen the real effects has been our expansion into wholesale and retail.

“This was something we were planning on doing last year then doubling down on this year however with lockdowns, retail stores shutting then we had to close that side of the business to revisit in 2022.”

Despite the lockdown, Zenbears moved into a department store this year. There have also been positive moments. Both founders reflect on their proudest moments so far with the brand.

Luke: “We’ve always wanted to be a fun-loving brand so we have branded merchandise as well as the gummies. We’ve got great reviews from people who have tried the gummies but also we’ve seen people start to engage with the brand by buying beanies and T-shirts. It’s exciting to not just make a CBD product but be a brand with a community where they come back to us to say hello. The engagement is a positive thing for me.”

Layton agreed: “From my side, I would say that consumption of the gummy bears makes it easier for some people to take CBD. We see that a lot, especially with the mums that have kids with potential issues that want to try CBD. They contact us to say it’s helped us and it’s lovely to see those types of reviews.”

Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

There are many variables to owning and operating a CBD brand with new variants threatening potential restrictions, Brexit shipping issues and also Food Safety Authority (FSA) regulations causing havoc in the industry. Where do Luke and Layton see the CBD industry heading for 2022?

Layton highlighted the FSA regulations: “I’m hearing rumours that the FSA public list with all the brands should be around March time. That is going to have a huge impact on products so we will see where the dust lies and what brands are left in the market. That may open up opportunities and gaps for us in the market as we are fully licensed. Next year is going to be all about people consolidating market position.”

Luke added: “It will make it easier for international expansion as well because you will have the validation of the license behind your brand. It may not be relevant to the international markets that have their criteria but it will add some authority behind it. I think you will start to see more CBD brands going through the mainstream channels like Boots or Tesco because of the license behind it.”

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Cannaray to drive brand awareness following successful fundraise

Blue Array will be assisting the company in its digital campaigns.

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Cannaray to drive brand awareness following successful fundraise
Home » News » CBD » Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

UK CBD brand, Cannaray has appointed Blue Array to lead its PR strategy and activity for 2022.

The appointment follows the successful completion last month’s groundbreaking £10m funding round. 

The round included major participants including the UK’s largest media-for-equity fund, Channel 4 Ventures – a first-of-its-kind backing in the European cannabis sector – as well as Three Bridges Private Capital and Alpha Blue Ocean.

Head of digital and communications at Cannaray, Jessica Mills, commented: “We are having a fantastic year of growth, bringing Cannaray’s CBD revolution to new consumers across the UK. 

Read more: Channel 4 Ventures joins £10m funding round for CBD company Cannaray

“Since appointing Blue Array to drive our SEO, they have proved to be a valuable agency partner and we are delighted to be deepening our partnership through Digital PR. 

“The Blue Array team brings a huge amount of energy and passion to their approach, and we look forward to working with them moving forwards.”

Head of Digital PR at Blue Array, Jodie Harris, commented: “Cannaray CBD is an inspiring brand and has an ever-growing following. 

“We are thrilled to be in partnership with Cannaray and to focus on delivering the brand’s core messaging whilst ensuring they dominate through organic search for the year ahead. 

“We know this year is big for Cannaray and we are excited to be a part of the journey.”

Cannaray was the first CBD brand to invest in major brand advertising in the UK. In 2021 they began a national television and out of home campaign featuring brand ambassador and UK TV Presenter Claudia Winkleman. 

Blue Array’s Digital PR arm which launched in August last year is tasked to drive awareness campaigns and educate the public about adopting CBD into their lifestyle as well as raise the brand’s visibility through media relations and product promotion.

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New chief technology officer appointed at High Tide  

Greg Fleury has joined the CBD company.

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New chief technology officer appointed at High Tide  
Home » News » CBD » Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

Greg Fleury has been appointed as chief technology officer (CFO) at High Tide.

Fleury will bring over 20 years experience to the role. Fleury will apply his knowledge of developing and managing digital operations teams, web platform design, analytics, search engine optimisation, and e-commerce in the retail, oil and gas, and utilities sectors. 

President and CEOof High Tide, Raj Grover, commented: “It gives me great pleasure to announce the addition of Greg Fleury to High Tide’s executive team. Greg is an avid technological innovator with many years of experience and a track record of success. 

“I plan on working closely with him over the coming months to take the digital and e-commerce components of High Tide’s integrated cannabis ecosystem to new heights.

Read more: Canada’s High Tide to enter UK market with Blessed CBD acquisition

“I would also like to thank Sean Geng for all of his efforts as High Tide’s Chief Technology Officer over the last year. Sean will remain on board with our company as a technology consultant, and I look forward to his continued contributions,” added Mr. Grover.

In Fleury’s prior role as vice president of digital and technology for Edo Japan, a Canadian fast food restaurant chain specialising in Japanese Teppan-style cooking, he led the development of that company’s ordering app, website, data warehouse, and analytics systems.

As CFO, Fleury will be responsible for leading High Tide’s global technology and digital operations, overseeing the development of digital platforms, digital commerce, security, and analytics, as well as managing High Tide’s IT infrastructure.

Read more: Inflation – is it affecting the cannabis market?

Fleury commented: ”I am excited to be joining a company that is as dynamic and fast-growing as High Tide is. Over the past year, High Tide has established itself as an e-commerce leader within the global cannabis space, and I was particularly drawn to the company because of this.

“I am eager to begin working to optimise High Tide’s digital platforms, building on our already-solid footing to keep us at the forefront of the cannabis sector’s technological evolution.”

The Canadian company announced in 2021 that it is making moves to enter the UK CBD market. In October, High Tide acquired Scotland-based Blessed CBD for £9.06m – a step towards solidifying itself as a major player within the global e-commerce marketplace for hemp-derived CBD products. 

As part of the acquisition, Blessed’s founder and CEO, Vithurs Thiru joined the High Tide team as senior manager of research, helping grow High Tide’s CBD business globally.

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Cellular Goods: Amazon’s CBD pilot is helping overcome ad restrictions

Cannabis Wealth speaks to Cellular Goods about advertising and sales restrictions and its appearance on Amazon’s new UK CBD product pilot.

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Cellular goods: Amazon's CBD pilot is helping overcome ad restrictions
Home » News » CBD » Zenbears: making CBD more accessible 

Cellular Goods CEO, Anna Chokina, discusses how Amazon’s CBD pilot is helping the company overcome barriers from major online platforms when it comes to advertising and selling cannabinoid products.

The UK has a high demand for cannabinoid-based products. According to a report by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, the CBD market generated £690m in annual sales in 2021, and projects that it will reach nearly £1B by 2025.

Estimating the UK CBD market to be one of the largest in the world, the report notes that surveys from Dynata and YouGov indicate between 4 to 6 million UK adults have tried CBD.

Read more: Cellular Goods white paper explores the sustainability of cannabinoid production

CBD companies in the UK struggle to advertise products through usual marketing channels such as Google and other social media sites. This is a problem that does not seem to be moving, says Cellular Goods CEO, Anna Chokina, who suggests the platforms could play a more proactive role in the UK marketplace in their respective fields. 

With the lack of marketing access to these platforms, Chokina highlights that the Amazon marketplace was a natural choice to host Cellular Goods’ products.

Cellular goods: Amazon's CBD pilot is helping overcome ad restrictions

Chokina commented: “There is a considerable demand for products, yet somehow the information flow from the companies that play in this industry to the end customer is quite difficult.

“There is no lack of variety in terms of what’s available in the marketplace, but it’s very hard to understand what the products do and how they work. What is CBD, what is CBG, plant based, non-plant based, biosynthesised? 

Read more: Cellular Goods launches UK’s first CBG face serum

“It can be very hard to understand for the average consumer. It’s very hard as manufacturers and producers not only to sell our products but also to deliver truthful information to the customers about what the industry is and what the products do.”

Amazon approached Cellular Goods to take part in its new pilot trial of CBD products in the UK at the same time the company was discovering the limitations of Google and Meta. The eCommerce giant has already demonstrated that it is not shy about cannabis with its lobbying efforts for reform in the US having already removed cannabis testing from its pre-employment screenings, and now, its new CBD pilot is showing its support for the UK sector. 

“We are quite happy to take part in this pilot because at least this way we have access to the Amazon consumer base that are searching for cannabinoid-based products,” said Chokina. 

Cellular Goods will be featuring a number of its products on the platform, such as its cosmetic Look Better range which includes its new CBG face serum – the UK’s first CBG-based serum to prevent the signs of aging caused by UV light exposure and inflammation.

The company produced research on the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of cannabinoids CBG and CBD, which demonstrated the cannabinoids as contenders for other popular anti-inflammatory and anti-aging ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C serums, whilst also being much kinder for skin.

 

Chokina continued: “This was Cellular Goods way of ensuring that people who search for cannabinoid-based products were aware of our brand. As a startup, you have to look for ways to get your product out there, to get your name out.”

Many customers may not be aware of some of the cosmetic benefits of cannabinoids, and Chokina emphasises that customer education is key for the CBD market.

“I think consumer education is very important. I think one side effect from Meta and Google not taking a more proactive approach to allow companies to advertise freely or to trade freely on their platforms, is the fact that consumers are clueless,” said Chokina.

“They do not know the difference between CBD or CBG, they don’t know the amazing promises these ingredients can bring. 

“So, we as the brand would like to become that voice that drives clarity, and hopefully, in time, the credibility will come with our name as well, that we’re only going to put the products in the market if they’re justified from the scientific standpoint. 

“Science is very much who we are, so we want to make sure that what we bring is substantiated and it’s consistent as well.”

Chokina highlights that Cellular Goods has undertaken a 360-degree media campaign that includes billboards across London and Manchester, which will help drive customers to the Amazon platform as well as its own website marketplace.

Chokina said: “We have partnerships with Conde Nast with GQ with Vogue. So, there is a lot of influencer strategy involved as well. 

“We’re working with bloggers and advertising, so, we have limitations on Meta and Google, but it doesn’t mean that the customers are not going to know about us. I don’t think one campaign is going to educate the market to get the customer base and get the sales growing. It’s just the start.

“We are pleased and humbled to be approached by Amazon because it’s also a sign that the industry is developing. It’s a sign that the wind is turning. So, it is definitely very positive for us. We are very much focused on our customers. 

“If our customers prefer to shop, for instance, in some of the retail stores or in the pure play beauty stores, online that that’s where we would like to be because we are very much focused on making it easy for them to buy us.

“As part of our expansion to Europe and beyond, this is also going to be an integral part of our go-to market. What Amazon is doing is a sign of thriving, and I hope that the other big companies are going to follow suit and then we can advance and push the industry.”

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