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Associated CBD

Associated CBD

What it does

Associated CBD was created with the express goal of making CBD products accessible to all affordably and in one simple place. By curating a marketplace of high quality CBD brands we want to help bring the significant health benefits of CBD to as many people as possible at the most competitive prices. Beyond this we also want to offer a level of unrivalled customer service and education to consumers as the wider market battles to release the shackles of a misguided reputation. 

Founder story

The founder’s Ben and Barney, school friends from over a decade ago, decided to set up Associated CBD after having similar investments in growth companies that diversified into the relatively small but growing US Cannabinoid space. As these companies eventually brought their products to the U.K, the investment ultimately led them to trying the products and getting a glimpse into the benefits CBD could have on people’s lives. By trying the products first-hand and realising that there really is something quite special about CBD for a modicum of reasons the conversations behind the story began.

The first time Barney discovered CBD was so useful was when taking it in the run up to a particularly important (and stressful) senior client management presentation. Public speaking is typically not something anyone loves no matter how many times you do it. The hand sweats, that feeling in the pit of your stomach, and then blurting out your speech at 100mph can be a typical occurrence. But this one time, following a full 1ml dosage of a 1000mg isolate CBD oil these problems just did not arise. The usual anxiousness was gone, and the ability to control his nerves and enjoy giving the presentation meant for a more receptive audience and successful pitch. For him it almost felt like a cheat code. Like a better version of himself. Overtime he extended his usage of various CBD products to curtail anxiety in a wide range of both work and social events and it’s formed part of his daily life and routine that he will not go without. He further reaped the rewards of CBD topicals for localised pain, as someone who has had his fair share of football injuries over the years, including a broken leg and a number of knee surgeries! He’s found the CBD muscle balms and salves particularly good for reducing these aches and pains. His current go-to CBD oil is an Orange County MCT full spectrum oil which has a wide breadth of benefits and works well for him for sleep, pain and of course anxiety.

For Ben, the benefits of CBD go a little further. Whilst seeing noticeable differences in anxiety, the key usage for him is improved sleep. A workaholic and somewhat insomniac, the ability to switch off has never come easy. The improvements in the speed in which to dose off and then proceeding sleep quality when taking CBD before bed has been unrivalled for a non-pharmaceutical product. For anyone with sleep issues, finding something that truly works is like gold dust. This also led to Ben searching out further compounds to aid sleep, and now at Associated CBD they stock other sleep aids containing further ingredients such as Zinc, Magnesium, 5-Htp and Lavender scents which are highly regarded as key components in better body regulation for sleep. Ben has always been more interested in CBD edibles before bed and is one of the reasons why Associated CBD has such a huge range – great for those with a sweet tooth as well!

It’s incredibly rare to find products that are having such significant positive impacts on consumers all over the globe, yet so many people will probably not know what it is, or worse still, know of nothing but the negative connotations of illegal cannabis usage. It is this huge disparity between a struggling and unknown reputation and genuine and in some cases life-changing benefits that created an opportunity we did not want to pass up. An opportunity to not only build a business, but to help educate and improve the wellness of the nation at the same time. 

But whilst Ben and Barney swear by the benefits of CBD for them personally and many hundreds of their customers, it’s well worth talking about the difficulties in promoting CBD as such in a market shrouded with complications for businesses in this space.

The challenges the business/market is facing

The CBD market Associated CBD has entered into is by no means plain sailing. In fact, it’s incredibly complex and fraught with challenges every step of the way. Sadly, it is also littered with a graveyard of start-ups that have failed to make the grade, despite some analysts stating that CBD “may be the fastest growing commodity in human history”. Quite the quote.

The key challenges Associated CBD are facing fall under 4 key headings:

  • CBD and health benefits
  • Overzealous social media marketing clamp downs 
  • Education
  • Regulation

Without going into huge detail here the main challenges are all somewhat interlinked. Ultimately with CBD, there is a lack of strong scientifically backed and peer reviewed evidence for CBD having many of these health benefits Ben, Barney and millions of consumers worldwide attest to. It is expected this will change as more and more studies are completed and money begins to pour in from Big Pharma particularly in the medicinal cannabis space. But for Associated CBD in the interim, what this means is that they cannot make any health claims about the benefits of CBD. And clearly for anyone selling a product that cannot talk about what is used for makes life somewhat difficult.

The social media space is also a tough arena for UK CBD companies – you can follow Associated CBD here. Paid for advertising in the traditional sense is almost banned completely in part for the above issues, but also as whilst CBD is just one specific cannabinoid taken from the hemp plant, hemp forms part of the species of plant of which marijuana is attached to. Which goes back to fighting off a damaged reputation and the importance of education. If we had a pound for everytime someone asked us if CBD will get you high… (it doesn’t – that’s THC which is the psychoactive element which is not found in any of our products over the legal limit of 0.3%)

Regulation is also a key stumbling block which the industry is struggling with. Not so much for Associated CBD currently, as we are a marketplace rather than having our own brand of products, but the recent update saw many brands removed from having the authority to sell their products. We may have plans to create our own branded products one day, but currently under FSA guidance, this looks relatively difficult with almost no brands given full Novel Foods Authorisation, and no brands allowed to sell unless on the market pre Feb 2020, so innovation is currently stifled. Regulation is absolutely critical to make sure consumers are getting high quality products and we were always fully behind that, but sadly the time it has taken and the process in place has fallen short of what we would have expected.

The opportunities business/market is facing

However, despite the aforementioned challenges the opportunities for us in the space we feel are absolutely huge. The fundamental reason that we are sticking with this, wading through the uncertain landscape is because we believe so strongly in the products we sell and the differences they can make.

The UK market is growing at an exceptional rate, yet still sits as a tiny proportion of the much more mature US CBD market. It is our hope that if we can stay the course and stick to our principles of sourcing high quality CBD and offering it at affordable prices with all the customer service you could ever need, that will help us build a base from which to grow.

If we go back to the earlier point about how most people do not know what CBD is, that for us is a massive opportunity. Many of our customers have actually been first time users from some of the marketing we have done through well known voucher sites. By getting the word out and allowing new consumers to try high quality CBD, we believe we will turn many of these into converts for using CBD as part of their health routine. We are also starting to see some real traction in terms of reviews coming through and there is no better feeling than reading a review about how it is alleviating someone’s back pain, or helping people sleep after years or difficulty.  

Much of this is allowing us to speak to our customers and help them through the education process and hopefully provide a customer experience they enjoy and share. We constantly monitor our email and live chat service to help with many of these beginner questions, and we have found our blog here a very well viewed article covering off things like “How much CBD should i take?”, How much CBD is in a single pipette”, as well as many of the difficult questions that people are looking for help with like, “will this help my pain/anxiety/stress etc.” It’s these sorts of questions that highlight to us almost on a daily basis that people are out there looking for alternatives to OTC and pharmaceutical medications. CBD in our view absolutely has a role to play to fill this void.

As an e-commerce business, there is also a huge emphasis on driving traffic through to our site via intelligent and creative advertising that still sits within the boundaries of what is allowed. We have only taken baby steps in this regard so far and we are looking to upscale this in the coming months, but like any business we have to have a tight rein on costs and bang for our buck. The opportunities also extend beyond the UK as the regulatory landscape continues to relax around the world.

Advice for others

We are always looking to leverage our already extensive contacts in the CBD/investment space to help build up our profile and utilise what is typically a close community looking to help each other. The CBD market is unlike any other as there is a real comradery between businesses, as the opportunity and market is so vast we all need to work together to help get the message out to the masses. We don’t need to fight each other competitively, we need to support each other and we always encourage new entrants to reach out as most companies will lend you some advice and help offer crucial insight.

Some other functional advice would be to fully research the fundamental underpinnings of your business if looking to move into CBD. Website providers, payment gateways, business bank accounts, etc, all come into focus when looking at CBD. There are many applications and businesses who won’t touch CBD sadly, even now, so this one is high up on our list of things to consider.

A final piece of advice from Associated CBD or for anyone looking to build a business, is make sure you love what you do. The late nights, non-stop ideas and never-ending to-do-list are part and parcel of being a business founder. You need the motivation, the love and the belief to keep it up! Having that will take you a long way!

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Monika Wassermann is a doctor and a freelance writer based in the UK who lives with her cat Buddy. She writes across several verticals, including life, health, sex and love, relationships and fitness. Her three great loves are Victorian novels, Lebanese cuisine, and vintage markets. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to meditate more, weightlifting, or wandering around in town.

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