Educating consumers is the key to success in the fast-moving industry of cannabis-based products, according to Melissa Jochim, the founder of High Beauty, a California-based brand of skincare products formulated from pressed hemp seed oil.
“There’s not enough knowledge and information out there for consumers,” Jochim told CBD-Intel. “Ultimately I look at being able to progress cannabis as a whole and, as new ingredients come out of the plant, education will be key. Everything’s moving so fast we need to move forward in a mindful way.”
She predicts a major shift from focusing on CBD to offering consumers a broader range of ingredients from the cannabis plant.
“We’ve been putting all of our eggs in one basket with CBD,” she said. “There’s a lot of potential beyond CBD and THC. There are so many ingredients in the plant that have a multitude of benefits. We need to put the focus on learning what they can do and educating consumers. A lot will change next year.”
But not all cannabinoids are as readily available in the plant as CBD, which can make extraction processes challenging.
“With minor cannabinoids, you don’t get as much output from the plant so it’s about perfecting extraction systems,” said Jochim. “There’s a lot of innovation around extraction processes and it’s got more scientific. Ingredients have become cleaner and higher quality.”
More stringent standards ahead
Jochim claims that extraction processes are evolving to meet increasing demand for a wider range of cannabinoids, which will eventually result in greater scalability and bring prices down.
“CBD is inexpensive when compared with more minor cannabinoids,” she said. “But as processes evolve and it becomes easier to extract a wider range of cannabinoids, prices will shift and change.”
She also predicts that third-party testing and more stringent standards will become more prevalent as the market continues to grow, but things are still moving slowly on the legal front.
“When the 2018 Farm Bill legalised hemp it had a big impact but it’s still a state-by-state situation in the US and it’s not moving fast at a federal level,” she said. “It might seem like a free-for-all now but retailers are playing it safe when it comes to ingredients that aren’t derived from hemp.”
The restrictive climate means cannabis products can’t be marketed freely and easily and Jochim claims that these restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty mean that many of the larger cannabis companies are not entering the market for CBD. She warns that by the time the legislation is sorted out for CBD, it will be too late for new companies to enter the market and establish a strong brand.
She predicts that restrictions around advertising and marketing will ease up as retailers become more knowledgeable but the number of products and businesses on the market will “level out” as they don’t all have lasting power.
You can’t be a ‘me too’ product
“To have lasting power, a brand has to tell a real story,” she said. “It can’t just be an ingredient, there needs to be a point of difference. If lots of brands are doing the same product it’s not a novel idea and it won’t make sense to consumers. They’re the ones who pick and choose. You’ve got to be a point of difference you can’t be a ‘me too’ product.”
High Beauty is set to launch a new range of skincare products that consumers blend themselves at home, mixing the base oil and lotion with a range of cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). The range will be in Macy’s stores in the US in the spring.
The company’s main merchandise consists of a line of beauty products that are free of CBD and THC – with any benefit coming from vitamins, minerals and amino acids in the pressed cannabis seed.
“My relationships with the retailers are key,” Jochim says, suggesting those relationships are essential for any company hoping to succeed with consumer goods. “I know where we can take each range of products. We are careful about which specific retailers we choose to enable the consumers have that education they need for that product.”
- Melissa Jochim will be speaking at GCI Europe in London on 13th-14th November, along with CBD-Intel managing director Tim Phillips.
– Lorraine Mullaney CBD-Intel staff