Episode 22 – Weathering the Storm and Looking Ahead



Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," in these trying times, consumers, retailers, and distributors are facing a number of challenges each and every day from shopping for essential items to stocking essential items and ensuring stores have everything that consumers need. We discuss these challenges, how we are trying to help all of you in the best way we know and how we'll get through this together. This is the "CBD University Podcast." And it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host the "CBD University Podcast." And if you are returning listener, thank you once again for tuning in. If you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. I invite you to subscribe to our podcast to be notified when new episodes are published on whichever platform you get your podcasts from.

While COVID-19 continues to change all of our daily lives whether you're a consumer, distributor or a retailer, there are new challenges you are facing each and every day, most of which we have never imagined. We hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy during this time. On that note, I welcome my guest for this episode, vice president of sales, Vince Gillen. Vince, welcome.

Vince: Thanks for having me, Joe.

Joe: First, Vince, let's talk about the distribution side of things and we'll start with certainly I think a well-deserved shout out to our distribution partners and retailers who are trying so hard to ensure that stores are stocked with all of the essentials that consumers keep stocking upon.

Vince: Absolutely. Essentials being hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, items like that. And the past few weeks have been definitely something I don't think a lot of us were prepared for from a business sense but a lot of our distributors, in fact, most of them all are busy I'd say probably working overtime trying to find those items to put in the stores because they are really are probably desperate, I would say. But they're doing a great job and, you know, thankfully it's a way for them to have, I guess, revenue coming in and keep the lights on, but it seems like it's pretty stressful.

Joe: And something for our listeners to remember, depending on the state that you are listening from, you may be under a stay at home, a safer at home, a shelter in place order, but grocery, convenience stores, pet stores, gas stations, pharmacies, all among the essential businesses in most of these areas, and as we just elaborated on a lot of our retail and distribution partners doing everything they can during this time. When we talk about ensuring that some people may not realize how that distribution process works and getting product to stores.

Vince: Right. So well I'd say like a lot of the distributors when this happened, maybe they were focused on things like it could be CBD or other, could be cell phone cords, just normal products you see. And as soon as I guess a few weeks ago when it really hit hard everything kind of went back burner unless it was hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, [inaudible 00:03:38]. So they start trying to source domestic and it's become very apparent that they're all now trying to reach out to places like China and wherever else international to get these products. So you can imagine, especially given the time zone difference that they're operating normal day to day business and some of them have a sales team, drivers visiting the stores but we're hearing a lot of the same thing nationwide. I said be like stores are either open or they're not, and then if they're either busy or they're a little slow. So some of the convenience stores especially are seeing a huge increase in foot traffic and then it's caused them to hire more people and but then it goes into keeping them safe, that sort of thing. So it's definitely different times, it is not business as usual, but we're just kind of I guess maybe a fly on the wall if you will. And just hearing about it and trying to support them the best way possible.

Joe: And we as a business have taken measures to ensure the safety of our employees, their families, and our customers during this time. First, you'll notice that this episode of our podcast is audio-only and we do promise we'll get back to doing full video in the near future but that's some of the measures that we are taking with our team. Vince, discuss some of the measures we are taking to meet the needs of distributors and retailers first in the present time and then we'll talk a little bit what we're planning on for down the road.

Vince: Right. Well, on the bright side, for us, we've been able to focus on a lot of items I would say or projects that were maybe 80%, 90% complete and us being so busy all the time, maybe there's like different marketing material and display options, new products in development that we weren't able to get completed, that over the past few weeks we've been really able to button up on some of those and get and get some things done. So even though we are operating mainly remotely, we have a small team in manufacturing production and then a small team in shipping to get all the orders out that are coming in. So it's been a good learning experience for us just as in a business sense, I would say, to realize maybe where we had some gaps on things that when we were super busy. So that's what we've been doing presently. So I'd say our schedules are a little flexible right now, so trying to maybe reach out to people that had questions or stuff. Before that we couldn't answer, maybe there's extra time to reach out to them. But in terms of talking to our distributors and their customers, we've really taken a step back and just kind of been like, "Hey, if you need something, reach out, but we know you have other things to focus on."

Joe: And one of the ways we actually gotten on the bandwagon with all this remote learning and education, we're doing a recent a webinar or type of event for one of our distribution partners. So that's just some of the ways that we're trying to meet the needs as it comes up.

Vince: Right. Absolutely. I'm glad you brought that up. So a lot of the distributors, their sales team have plenty of downtime right now as well, a lot of them could be working remotely. So we've been able to put together training decks and going through whether it's 30 minutes or an hour webinar to bring them up to speed on the product line, have a little bit more intimate Q&A session with their reps and it's gone really well. So we've been able to again just take advantage of the time we have now to do some things that maybe we couldn't do when everyone is running a hundred miles an hour. So we have a few more of those planned next week. We've even made custom sales training material based on the objections that they're hearing in the field. So that's been definitely a huge win for us recently.

Joe: And you touched on it so let's discuss it a little bit. Now consumers, both on the e-commerce side and on the wholesale side, if they shop at a retail partner of ours have probably noticed a different look to some items that they picked up on  talk a little bit about and you talked about the new product rollout and maybe some stuff that's on the horizon.

Vince: Yes. So Nature's Script obviously had a huge facelift, I guess you could say. So a lot of those products are just now reaching a lot of brick and mortar locations from the lotion, the bath bombs, the heat spray, some of the topicals, the roll-on pain freeze for both hemp bombs and Nature Script is in the works to be shipping out as well. So we've actually seen some pretty good traction on those items as well, like the [inaudible 00:09:04] picked up and while we can't say that that's because of the foot traffic in the stores, maybe because they're essential businesses, it's...we'll kind of evaluate that in months to come. But yes some of the new, the new products that we have going out or just some higher potency, higher milligrams of CBD of existing items like our pain freeze and then the roll-on, which is...everyone's been waiting for. We have a lip balm coming out towards the end of May, give or take, and then we have some pretty exciting changes coming on the gummy product. So that's going to be coming soon, I would say.

Joe: And stay tuned for all that. And the best way on top of...cheap plug, I mean, even on a serious toned episode like this I got to give a cheap plug, but best way to stay informed on that, subscribe to our "CBD University Podcast" on your favorite podcast app of choice. But make sure you also follow us on our social media networks on Instagram, on Facebook, on YouTube, I'm missing...on Twitter and also from the Global Widget brand on LinkedIn. And as we have new products rolling out, you'll see all of that in very nice graphic and text form across our social media networks. And we talked about some of the new marketing materials, we talked about the new packaging materials, how about the acrylics that folks may notice at stores, any of that changing and as we move forward or some of the...

Vince: A lot of those will have to be updated with some of the new items, so either replacing the stickers and doing a refresh on those. We do have some newer display options we've been able to work on over the past couple of weeks, shippers, flora displays as well as sidekicks, some ones that I haven't heard of, clip strips. So there's some fancy names to things that go in stores just in different places. So we're excited about that but again, it's just really taking our time to meet the needs of the distributors for when this kind of passes and we can get back to hopefully business more as usual, I would say. I know a lot of things are gonna be changing but I think our distributors and retailers, obviously, we'll be pretty excited about what we've been able to do and accomplish with probably like a remote crew, I guess you could say. But we've been using our time wisely I would say.

Joe: And meanwhile, on the consumer side, customers can continue to shop in our online stores, if you can't get out to a retail store. Follow us as I mentioned across our family of social media networks for each our brands, latest news, special offers and lots of contests and giveaways. Our special offers and contest during this time are just a small token of appreciation for all of our faithful followers, supporters and customers. And I know, Vince, I probably echo you in continuing to wish all of our customers, retail and wholesale partners continued safety and health throughout this challenging time.

Vince: Absolutely.

Joe: I want to thank Vince Gillen, my guest on this episode of the "CBD University Podcast". He is our vice president of sales. And look for more from Vince as we go along here in future episodes as we continue to roll out new products and serve our distribution and retail partners here in the CBD industry.

And once again, if you have not yet done so, I invite you to subscribe to our podcast, the "CBD University Podcast" on your favorite podcast app of choice. You can watch past episodes, this episode just audio-only, but you can watch past episodes on our YouTube channel, full video, of the first 20 episodes. And then we will go back to full video as soon as our team is back from working remotely. On behalf of everyone here at Global Widget, I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast". I do wish that you and your family stay safe and healthy during this time. And thank you for tuning into this episode of the "CBD University Podcast."

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. CBD products are unintended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This podcast is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.