The perception of hemp, with its vast and diverse capabilities, has no doubt experienced a regeneration, suddenly giving the impression it is just about everywhere. Unlike other “powerhouse” plants, hemp has been touted for not only its healing powers and natural solutions, but one that can be spun into textiles, digested and infused into beauty products. Reports from Euromonitor predict that cannabis will disrupt nearly every consumer industry, reporting that the global market for legal cannabis-related products will grow by 77 percent and reach $166 billion in 2025.
The most popular interpretation, having quickly risen in consumer consciousness and certainly becoming the beauty industry’s product du jour, is CBD.
According to The NPD Group, CBD skin care sales in the prestige U.S. market have almost doubled in size over the last two years, reaching nearly $33 million from January to November 2019, and have remained a bright spot for beauty sales in the market in 2020, claiming 1 percent of the overall beauty market. CBD has even made the move from fringe health stores into mainstream retail in recent months. Multibrand physical beauty retailers like Kohl’s, CVS and Ulta have opened doors to the category to a mass of quick-to-buy in consumers who have made the calming, natural products a self-care must-have.
Setting the Bar
The stated benefits of using CBD, or hemp oil, in skin care products are the natural inflammation properties that help the skin and contain Omega 3, 6, and 9. The natural moisturizing properties further help keep out irritants, promote skin nutrition and prevent dry skin. Still, there remains some confusion on the benefits of CBD and hemp oil.
“There are numerous claims about the therapeutic effects and possible health benefits of CBD in the market,” said Garrett Greller, cofounder and director of marketing and product development at Uncle Bud’s hemp and CBD. “However, as there are no clear guidelines currently established, we as a brand are very stringent on what claims we make. The best recommendation I can personally say is to try it for yourself. When folks find something that works, they become loyal consumers and want to share the positive impact the products have on their life.”
Concerns many consumers have about hemp and CBD, Greller says, is the unknown and distrust for ingredient sources, especially without clearly established guidelines. In late February, Sephora announced its own “CBD Standards,” which sets parameters for brands making strides within the beauty CBD landscape.
With safety and accessibility for everyone at the forefront of its values, Uncle Bud’s hemp and CBD has maintained strict self-regulation. All of Uncle Bud’s products are third-party lab-tested, cruelty-free, and formulated in an FDA-registered lab. “We are fully transparent with our products and all of our CBD products contain a QR code that will give a customer the ‘certificate of analysis’ showing the detailed analytics report of each batch of CBD we use for each individual product,” said Greller. “We have all of the required FDA registration certifications for our OTC products and many other important certifications that help us ensure that we are carefully following all cosmetic consumer product guidelines.”
Meeting a Need
Like many others, Greller came to know the benefits of CBD through his journey with arthritis. Upon receiving a diagnosis for arthritis at just 14 years old, Greller recalls visiting multiple doctors and countless prescriptions from pills to injection shots and acupuncture. The process left Greller frustrated after not finding a workable remedy and experiencing terrible side effects.
“I had seen a CNN special with Sanjay Gupta on the benefits of hemp and CBD,” said Greller. “That set me on a course to create a natural, inexpensive solution to a very real problem I, and so many others, faced daily.”
To find a formula that was safe for anyone to use and provided impeccable results that hemp and CBD were capable of, Greller partnered with an FDA-registered lab to create CANATRAX, a hemp-based over-the-counter solution. The proprietary blend utilizes pure and potent CBD oil mixed with other beneficial oils and ingredients, with zero THC. While the company does not make claims about the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil, Greller has found astounding success from the products for his own aches and pains.
The company’s first product, Uncle Bud’s Hemp Topical Pain Reliever, has now reached millions.
“Once we launched [our Hemp Topical Pain Reliever], we had an overwhelming response at retail and the buyers actually pushed for more products,” said Greller. “Consumers are loyal to Uncle Bud’s because we offer affordable and trusted CBD wellness solutions in a time where spending can be tight for so many consumers.”
Today, Uncle Bud’s has become one of the most trusted CBD and hemp brands for retailers and counts Jane Fonda and Toni Braxton as ambassadors. Fonda, the company’s newest ambassador made the announcement in May via Instagram with a dance video she self-produced during quarantine featuring three of her favorite Uncle Bud’s products.
And Fonda has not been the only one to share her love of CBD products during the coronavirus pandemic. With more time at home, consumers have largely amplified personal care routines, many of which now include CBD. Notably, an Uncle Bud’s product now sells every 15 seconds.
The COVID Catalyst
“COVID has helped shift consumer behavior with CBD purchasing in a positive manner because more people have turned to more natural alternative wellness solutions,” said Greller. “In addition to continued success and growth at our retailers, we have seen an explosive growth of our DTC program. Our e-commerce sales have grown 8,375 percent since January 1 and continue to grow month after month. I do believe that affordable pricing and accessibility will now also play a big part in what CBD personal care brands people will be purchasing during the pandemic.”
The pandemic also provided an accelerant for new products. Uncle Bud’s launched its hemp hand sanitizer at the beginning of March to help meet the needs of consumers. And due to the high demand and popularity of the product, a full collection of antibacterial products is now in progress.
As a company that grew from a need, Greller says listening to the consumer is essential. “When you listen to your customer, you can develop specialized products that they, the consumers, want,” said Greller. “Everything is born out of a need and it goes full circle. It is amazing to see how our specialized products such as Pain Relief have truly changed so many lives. There is no one else on the market that has a pain relief formula like ours and it has become a great advantage that we can confidently stand behind all of our products with a satisfaction guarantee.”
WWD Studios speaks with Garrett Greller, Cofounder and director of marketing and product development at Uncle Bud’s Hemp & CBD.
WWD Studios: Is CBD considered to be “mainstream” in the beauty industry today?
Garrett Greller: We are the leaders in this category, particularly in our mass market and affordable price point — CBD is certainly exploding, the category is estimated to be valued at over 1 billion dollars by 2021 and folks are becoming more and more aware of what they put in their bodies, how they treat aches and pains. I know when I go to the drugstore, or the supermarket, I can pretty much always find CBD and hemp represented on the shelf. The category is 100 percent moving in the right direction.
WWD Studios: How have consumer perceptions of hemp and CBD changed?
G.G.: When Uncle Bud’s started no one really knew what CBD was, or how it could help them. Now, millions of people are using CBD oil, and many health, beauty and nutritional products now contain CBD oil and it has become a part of the health and wellness industry.
There is still a lot of education to be done, and efficacy is key in product testing. We are super proud of the batch testing and scanning that consumers can do — showing where product ingredients come from and want to help lead the education around the benefits of hemp and CBD.
WWD Studios: How does Uncle Bud’s differ from its competitors and what key benefits do you bring to your customers?
G.G.: We truly are family-friendly hemp and CBD brand. I started this company as a young man, with [juvenile arthritis] and my family helped me bring the product to life. This isn’t about being the hippest and coolest brand in the market — it’s about providing affordable and effective solutions to help relieve daily aches and pains, providing family-friendly advanced skin care, and personal care products that are high in vitamins and antioxidants.
CBD and hemp shouldn’t be for the elitist few. Everybody can benefit from our products, which is truly what sets us apart. No other brand has the footprint at retail, and the massive sku count, and the loyal consumer followers. We have grown a massive social media following, have celebrity fans and again, all the millions of customers who e-mail, comment and share the love for these products is what sets us apart. It truly is a testament to all the back-end hard work from our trusted formulations, made in the USA, and all our certifications.
WWD Studios: What do you believe consumers seek from personal care products today?
G.G.: I believe that consumers are looking for personal care products with ingredients they can trust and products that are safe to use every day, at an affordable price point. With the plethora of CBD personal care brands popping up over the past 18 months, consumers are looking for those brands that have a story that resonates with them, or their family.
We bridge the gap of being able to use U.S. trusted ingredients, but also supported by science and formulations from our trusted and regulated Lab. It is the wisdom of nature supported by science.
WWD Studios: How has Uncle Bud’s continued to provide community outreach throughout its journey?
G.G.: Uncle Bud’s is proud to have donated thousands of products to different charities around the United States to help during the on-going health crisis. As one example – we donated thousands of Hand Sanitizers to Los Angeles homeless outreach program Safe Place for Youth.
We are a family business, we believe it’s important to help and give back in small and larger ways, to our customers and our employees whose shoulders we stand on. We are looking at partnering with different foundations that help young entrepreneurs around the country. We will volunteer and help advise entrepreneurs with a business plan, business advice, marketing and social media strategy, how to get into retailers, and any other ways we can help add value to starting their business.