After several positive & negative life experiences, passion for mental health & cannabis lead Brandon dive head first into the hemp industry. The two passions were merged in 2017 after co-founding Soothe, a hemp brand dedicated to destigmatizing mental health / illness and providing transparency / quality hemp products that benefit the mind and body.
Brandon is dedicated to expanding the hemp market with quality and transparency. He believes a market is only as strong as the weakest link so he strives to provide insight & guidance to anyone in the industry trying to pave their way. Expansion and the legitimacy of the hemp market relies on everyone doing their part. Brandon’s part includes building and sustaining a quality brand that gives back along with consulting hemp startups towards avoiding common pitfalls & building a sustainable and trustworthy supply chain. In order to make the biggest impact on society, Brandon believes in expanding the market versus cornering it.
Brandon has built a brand that launched before the Farm Bill of 2018 and can provide valuable information and vision attained only by riding the legislative roller coaster for the past 3 years. From compliance, to product sourcing, to brand building… Brandon has been through the ringer and is ready to help you navigate your journey in hemp!
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Sourcing bulk and finding the right manufacturers.
I’ve seen you navigate All This and like I’m I feel like I’m pretty good at it.
But you’re really good at it man. So hot it gets a chaotic job, but I but I do like it. It’s very fun.
It’s very every every day’s different.
But yeah, no, that’s probably the most important thing of your whole business.
Like if you’re in a relationship with a manufacturer that you’re not comfortable with, how can you scale if they’re not legitimate?
And the FDA comes and starts to heavily Crackdown on this industry and your facilities aren’t FDA registered.
They don’t have the GMP compliance. They don’t have you know is oh where is needed?
You’re going to your brand is at a standstill and you’re at the mercy of people and other another governmental bodies that can just tell you to stop and we’ll finds so yeah, and they could yeah, they could shut down that manufacturer like that if you know that’s like that so that’s don’t get me wrong.
They’re not going to go after the Brand’s they’re going to go after the manufacturers first because that cuts all the Brand’s off Yeah, a hundred manufacturers and 10 of them are legitimate and properly registered.
And the rest of the market purchases with the 90% that isn’t legitimate.
I mean think about efficiency on the government.
They’re not going to come to all these Brands they’re going to go directly to the manufacturers that sell to the branches.
Now your whole Supply chains cut.
So you have to be very careful about who you’re working with understanding their scale.
And also I think probably one of the biggest things for supply chain is you have a brand and the brand is the number one thing.
So if your Manufacturer doesn’t abide by your brand guidelines and your brand part in just everything that you’re about.
It’s not going to work. So for example, I mean, there’s brands that they want all their extracts and everything to come from one farm from from tracking everything from seed to sale and its small batch and that’s a huge draw of their brand the fact that it’s small batch and it’s handmade yeah wrong.
It’s still in the right facilities, but its meaning fashion incomplete.
A different way so your business goals are to be with more of a boutique brand that’s handcrafted.
You’re not going to want to go to a manufacturer. That’s built for scale.
Yeah, there’s yeah because there’s like manufacturers that have extraction Labs that are like pilot plants.
Like I’m like, it’s huge massive operations.
And then like you got guys like four corners cannabis in Colorado that are two brothers and everything.
They grow at all. It’s beautiful handcrafted.
It’s just a small operation. They make their own genetic.
It’s just like really cool. And so that’s the difference between those two things.
And of course if you go to the craft route, you’re going to have to pay more your prices are going to be higher but that it’s reaching a different type of audience.
Like I always kind of wreck like related to food like you can go to McDonald’s or you can go to a nice French restaurant.
You know, just yeah. Yeah, it’s just pens on what you’re looking for.
And so yeah and what would you so besides like the jurors have having to have their cgmpm and ISO certifications if they’re doing testing and things like that what other things would you look for when you’re looking for a manufacture chain of custody is probably the most important thing that people Overlook you have to be able to track everything and if your manufacturer is not tracking it then you are not able to track it.
No, we have to request chains of custody.
You have to you know, say you say you go to a Cheering.
They just have a white label private label teacher just like a thousand milligrams teacher.
Well what extract went into that bottle where did that extra come from?
When did you buy it? Who was the person to put it into the final unit where where’s the chain of accountability?
So if that’s something that’s not established.
I mean, I’m not saying you cannot work with somebody because look they could be knew they could have opened last week and there and there their intention is to get there.
But if you’re not thinking about a chain of custody and Understanding how to track everything from the original source all the way through that final product.
Then you’re setting yourself up for defeat hundred percent man, and and especially on the cgmp certification.
There are a lot of labs right now that I talk to that are working towards that and there are a lot that actually have it all ready to sew if I were launching a brand I would honestly make that a prerequisite that they have to already have that certification because like Brandon said If something happens in the FDA, they can do whatever they want. You know the companies that don’t have that certification are definitely going to be looked on more so than the ones that don’t because yeah, so that’s just a definite thing to look for and what other tips could you give all one tip?
I’ll tell people is always always have a backup or two backups don’t will even if it’s the best manufacturer in the world.
You’re totally happy. Are you think you’re going to be with them forever?
Yeah, just make sure you have a backupor two because like one of them manufacturer I was working with they were great.
They’ve been around 30 years doing like other types of products and they got into CBD,you know a few years ago. They were awesome and like returning all my calls just like that.
I’m sending them clients and then they stopped returning my clients calls,and I’m like what the hell and I found out they did a huge deal with Walgreens.
And so, you know, they Is their capacity to small any of you know,so they like oh, we’re going to ignore it. We got the whale now.
Yeah, so you always got to have backups for sure.
And before we get too far,so just touching on the G and P side. Yeah difference between G and P certified and G&P compliant.
Okay. So you need a copy of the surgical fashionand you need to verify that that certification and whatever LLC or DBA is on their matches.
Has the address of the facility if you’re not doing that then everybodylike there’s middlemen on Metal Men on middlemenand most of the time they’re they’re not compensated by the manufacturer there up chargingand taking in between so they’re not official sales reps or anything.
So just be careful about where you purchasingbecause if they’re not if they’re GMP compliant that does not mean that they have acertification now everything to is on the edible side of things.
Everybody knows that Edibles are the the risk a product,right? Yeah in Most states.
You cannot get a GMP certification on an edible manufacturing facility.
You could have an amazing facility that was already certified beforehand.
And as soon as you start to bring edible products in there,you’re no longer compliant. Yeah. Okay.
So the Edibles it’s look it’s a risk tolerance thing.
Yeah, and is willing to take on a risk for and teachers count as an edible as well.
So just know that’s a risk tolerance thing.
You know, you’re not going to be able to in Most states to get that cgmp certification.
If yours edible manufacturing going on in the same building so they count tinctures to huh.
I didn’t know that it because look what teachers honestly there’s a lot of in this is opinion,right? This isn’t going to be so everybody’s gonna look at rulesand digest things differently the way that I see it is a tincture honestly is more risky than an edible in my opinion because it is a direct blood delivery, which means that look at I knock myself out yesterday often same sure you’re eating and edible.
It’s not going to be a sub lingual which it just by by definition.
If something is a direct blood delivery, it is considered a drug. Yeah, so that that’s it falls into an edible. It falls into a sublingual even if you change the instructions on your on your packaging to say swallow this as well, you know, Anna Mean you’re still in a very gray area.
So some states will allow teacher manufacturing with that with that certification and some will say no not at all it just yeah, that’s right. Yeah, the manufacturers I work with a makes anxious and they got they were able to get it so they were in Friendly States obviously.