Episode 34: Meet the Team Behind GWCBD

CBD University Podcast Episode 34



Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," part two of our conversation with our GWCBD team as we introduced the newest division of Global Widget. Meet our team as we go deeper into the conversation on vertical integration and how our white label and bulk ingredients division could be the perfect fit for your CBD brands. This is the "CBD University Podcast," and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." If you're a returning listener, thanks once again for tuning in, if you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. We also invite you to watch past episodes of our podcast on our YouTube channels. If you were with us back on episode 32, just a couple of episodes ago, we launched our new division GWCBD at the end of July. Just to refresh our GWCBD is there a new white label and raw ingredients division of Global Widget, our vertical integration and in-house manufacturing, distribution and marketing team, along with our 110,000 square feet of facilities in Tampa, Florida make our team the perfect fit for your CBD brand. On the first episode, when we introduced GWCBD, we had a co-founder, Kevin Collins, and the vice president of Balkan Raw Materials, Chad Levitt [SP]. I told you that you would meet members of Chad's team on this episode. I do not lie. We do not lie here. We're open and transparent. And here are members of Chad's team. First time ever on the podcast, we welcome both of them, Clay Rahmberg and Mac Norton. First and most importantly, welcome to the team. And second, welcome to our podcast.

Clay: Thanks for having us, Joe.

Mac: Thanks, Joe.

Joe: First off, this will be the easiest question we're going to cover. A little bit about each of you, your background, and what brought you here to GWCBD. Whoever wants to go first.

Clay: Sure. I'll take that. So, ultimately everybody in this industry is convicted or has a testimonial. I always like asking people how they got into the industry, seems to be everybody has a story. My story is my aunt had bad ankles for years, and I remember going to her house and she wasn't able to get out her chair and say hi to us. And it never really left a lasting impact on me until she started taking CBD. I mean, all the pharmaceutical drugs in the world couldn't get her out of her chair. And before I was really even familiar with CBD, she started taking it and she started walking around again. So, those are the kinds of testimonials I hear all the time in the market. And I just knew I wanted to be a part of that. It's a feel-good sale. It's a feel-good product. And it's something that everybody can get behind. So, that was what led me towards the CBD industry. Specifically, I started out in Colorado, Mac, and I both did at the same company that was really focused on ingredients. And that was what initially got me into the industry and I've loved it ever since. So, I'd say my aunt got me into it.

Joe: Mac.

Mac: Yeah. So, I've always been around salespeople. So, my entire family has worked in sales, so mom, grandfather, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. And so, it's something that I always wanted be involved in. I started of my sales career at Xerox and spent about a year there and through a friend, I got involved in the same company in Colorado as Clay. Clay and I spent about a year and a half there and we were in the [inaudible 00:03:22] space and it was really positive and we saw what worked well and what didn't work well. And so, what's most exciting, I think, about an opportunity at GWCBD is we can see what is going to promote a failure, promote a success. And it's relevant from the onset at GWCBD that this is a winning organization. So, as soon as you talk to our team, as soon as you talk to the co-founders and everyone else here responsible for anything from project management to making sure things get shipped out on time, you know, it's a winning organization and it's what we want to be a part of.

Clay: Agreed.

Joe: I got to ask because I know Xerox very well. Xerox, where?

Mac: Outside of Indianapolis, that's where I'm from.

Joe: Okay. I'm from upstate New York, and Xerox headquarters were there.

Mac: Yeah. We went there for corporate sales.

Clay: You worked for Xerox too, right?

Joe: Awesome. I did not. I never did. No.

Clay: You knew somebody else who did?

Joe: Yeah. I never did. But their headquarters were in my hometown City of Rochester so when he said that I was like, "What are the chances?" Right?

Clay: Gotcha. Gotcha.

Joe: I didn't know that. See, I learned something new even on the podcast.

Mac: There you go.

Joe: A little harder now, what excites you the most about the CBD industry and the potential here at GWCBD? Mac, I'll start with you.

Mac: Sure. You know, people refer to the CBD industry a lot as the wild wild west. And it's an analogy that some in the industry don't like, but I think it's a really great analogy because I think it illuminates a little bit about that there's a lot left to be discovered in the space and there's a lot left to win in the space. And if you have conversations which you have had with Donnie or Kevin on this podcast, the goal here is to win. And like I mentioned in the previous question, you can tell that this is an organization that's extremely passionate about that. So, to come in and to be able to create things and innovate in the space and make a name for yourself, that's the most exciting thing about the CBD space to me is that it's unregulated and we're doing our best to promote, you know, regulatory protocols and make sure that things are taken care of. But the most exciting thing is to be able to put your name onto something and be able to create, you know, lasting relationships and lasting brand.

Joe: And Clay, same question for you. What excites you the most about being in the industry and the potential here at GWCBD?

Clay: Yeah. So the industry is exciting for me, I've always been interested in big business, and I think that this is an industry where, you know, you're not going to go into Coca Cola and convince them to buy your brand of coke. I mean, they're making that, they're doing that well. But what you can do is reach out to some of these bigger companies and discuss with them CBD. They're all waiting as Mac mentioned the regulation. When that does lift, a lot of these brands and a lot of these big companies are already poised. They're already doing their homework, they've done their due diligence. They know they want to be in the space. Maybe they found a partner, maybe they haven't, but they know they want to be in it. And so, the ability and the opportunity to get in ground level with some of these bigger companies and then be a person to help lay framework and bring some of these brands to market is extremely exciting. Specifically to GWCBD, as Mac and I mentioned, we used to work for a large ingredient company. And we were often at the whim of co-manufacturers like ourselves waiting on lead times, waiting on product, and the truly kind of vertical, the vertical integration here. This is actual vertical integration. I'll let Mac go into that in a little bit, but he explains it better than I do. But being able to see the ingredient made, see the products made, walk in the back, see 40 people on the floor making product, boxing products, shipping product, that is what was alluring to me to have total control over the supply chain. It just allows us to deliver more value to our partners. And that was something specific to GWCBD that I wanted to be a part of.

Joe: I'm going to get into the vertical integration just a minute, but I'm gonna throw a curveball here.

Clay: Let's go.

Mac: Okay.

Joe: Only because we talked about it on the previous podcasts, and you know, we always talk about when folks come here for the first time, you know, when your potential partners come here for the first time and you show them around you know, what they're getting behind the name. What was your guys' first thought when you first came here? Did you have any idea? What was here...?

Clay: Seeing is believing, Joe. The seeing is believing is all over the walls here. It's one of the company's slogans. And that was very evident to me. When Chad called us down to come check out the facility, I was like, "What's so different about it." If this place is everything you say it is, then give us a call. I think Mac and I both told him that. And we came down here to tour the facility and it was everything [inaudible 00:07:30]. I mean, when you walk in the back and it's noisy and there's people moving product around, it really is seeing is believing, you go to the warehouse and you see people pick and packing the e-Commerce product, and there's 70 different bins they're choosing from filling 2000 orders a day. I mean, it's really happening is what I guess I'm getting at. There's so many people that kind of hide behind smoke and mirrors and say they're doing what we're doing here when in actuality they're not. I don't think that we're the only people that are making and manufacturing CBD products, but we're definitely doing it well. And I've seen a lot of operations not doing it well. So, being able to come here and be comfortable in what we're selling and what we're providing to our customers and potential customers was very comforting.

Joe: And Mac, your thoughts as we talked about the vertical integration, you know, and the ability to be that one-stop-shop for somebody, whether it is gummies, tinctures, and even pet products.

Mac: Sure. Yeah. So, vertical integration is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the space, in multiple spaces, not just CBD. But it seems like it's more important and it's kind of at the top of mind frame as we think about scalability and what these companies can accomplish. And what is interesting to me most about CBD is that the consumer whether it be in retail or someone that's shopping and e-Commerce, they think much more differently about CBD than they do about a cereal that they might buy. You and I if we walked down the Publix aisle and grab a bag of cereal, we're not going to think about if that company manufactured it and if they took the quality, you know, parameters so seriously, and if they're responsible for the marketing, we don't consider those things when we purchase. But people think that way about CBD. So, what you accomplish with vertical integration is you essentially eliminate this chain of custody. You knock out the amount of hands and amount of different organizations that our product has to touch because we go and we source the raw material. We extract into a raw ingredient, manufacturer in-house those products, and deliver it on shelf and provide you data that's going to help yourself through data on what may be happening in your state. So, it's a real true vertical integration from top to bottom. And what that does is it sets you up for success as a partner. What you want is as many hands as possible in the same organization touching your product to make sure that everyone thinks the same way. And we do. It's very evident. This is a sales conscious organization, the Salesforce really, and that's what I love so much about it. That's what stands out. You asked earlier, that's it. It's a sales conscious organization because if you don't get that right, then you won't be successful as a company. So, when you take the vertical integration and apply it to all those aspects, it's crucially important and we do it well.

Joe: And although we've certainly mentioned this on previous episodes and Chad and Kevin went into great detail about this. It's also important to note that everything you talk about and everything that GWCBD does, we do it right here in-house. And maybe, you know, talk a little bit about that.

Clay: Yeah. I mean, as I was mentioning, like being able to go to the extraction facility and what we've done is we built a campus out here in Tampa. Meaning three facilities and you go visit the extraction lab and you see the C1D1 containers doing all the extraction. You see the ingredient being shipped here for manufacturing, the product being shipped here to the fulfillment warehouse. I mean, it's all happening right here. We're not outsourcing any of these products with the exception of face mask. We're not outsourcing these products. I mean, all 300 plus unique skews are made right here. And I think it's amazing that out of these three facilities in Tampa, we're servicing 30,000 plus retail locations. And now, with Mac and I onboard, you know, the intention is to grow that significantly. So, it is all happening right here. The I've seen this place scale to keep up with demand. So, we had one gummy line running 24/5, and we've now got a second gummy line on the way and the third one being shipped over. And that's all just to keep up with demand. So, again, just the responsiveness of this company to make sure that we're doing all of this in-house and not having to outsource any of it is amazing to me. And that was what, again, attracted me to this company.

Joe: And with everything in-house, talk about the specifics of products that are manufactured and distributed, as you mentioned out of our 110,000 square foot facilities, and how over time if a brand wanted to add products, maybe a different variation of an edible, a topical, or one of the pet products that can be done.

Mac: Sure. So, if you visit 40 different CBD company websites, you're going to see a combination of a couple of different skews and what those would be they'll be some type of tincture, some type of edible product. Maybe that's going to be a castle or a soft jell and some type of topical product. And there's a couple of reasons for that really it's how we were introduced to CBD was via those products, but two, those products sell really well. So, there's a relationship there with those products. And we've got a full catalog, like Clay mentioned, around 300 different skews. You can go to Nature Script's website, you can go to Hemp Bombs website, and you can see all of these different skews and a lot we don't manufacture that we have in-house. And what's important about that is that we want to set our customers up for success. As Clay and I get into this business development role, we want to have long-term lasting relationships and think about how we can really build someone's brand because that's our job. And when you look at this data and what we've been able to sell, you have sell-through in these products, right? They might be called cliché products, but they work well.

So, over time, what people will do is they'll want a suggestion about, hey, is this going to perform, is it not going to perform? So, I guess what excites me most about ban that is that we have all these great stock skews that we can you know, leverage and make small adjustments to. So, if someone wants a regular peppermint flavor tincture that they might find somewhere else with the addition of B12, or vitamin C, or some other active ingredients, maybe some of the base ingredients are different, we're happy to help them with that. So what you accomplish in that sense is you've still got a really popular selling product that the consumer is familiar with, but you got your own little niche, a different ingredients, a different flavoring, something that can help you get into your customer base easily or attack a different market sector easily.

Joe: So, let's say I startup, we'll call it Joe A. CBD and sign on for you develop my product line. What's next in the process? And once the products are developed, is that it? Am I done? What happens next?

Mac: No. Yeah. So, we've actually got a full team dedicated to this. And people were under the impression that it's incredibly easy just to white label products. And that's not the case. Even if we're doing something that's a stock formula and putting someone else's label and design on there, that takes a serious dedication at a time. It takes a lot of collaboration between us as an internal team, but us with the customer as well. So, once you start your brand, Joe, you and I have a very clear conversation about timeline. So, we throw your timeline in a software management tool that is going to help us manage this project and work backwards from that timeline. So, we had your shipment date in mind the entire time, and we throw it into a tool and we have a dedicated project manager on this. And in most cases, it's probably going to be Mary, and Mary's going to look at all of these items and she is going to follow up each individual person to make sure that we get your artwork right, to make sure that we schedule the line time, to make sure if there are other active ingredients outside, we source those to get the project accomplished.

I coordinate with you the whole time, sending you real-time snapshots through this tool. Hey, we've got one more week until shipment. Hey, you and I have to sign off on an agreement to make sure things are squared away so that we can make sure we get everything done and everything to you on a realistic timeline.

Clay: It's amazing. And it really does help a lot. So, I've seen projects not managed that way, and then projects managed that way and it's amazingly clear cut on what the expectations are set forth at the very beginning. But can I go back to the custom products real quick, because I want to point something out.

Joe: Yeah.

Clay: I like the story, but when Mac and I came to visit the facility, we got to walk through the fulfillment warehouse. And again, seeing these people pick and packing the e-Commerce products, just walking through these bins and seeing all these crazy ideas that may or may not have worked, I mean, we have what's called the graveyard at the warehouse, which is products that just didn't work, but we're willing to take that risk to try them, you know, beard balm, tattoo appointment, all these things that may or may not have been a success, but we're willing to try it, I think that's something that sets us apart. But something I noticed that are pink lemonade sucker, and I'll probably have 50 of them since I've been working here. But it was just so cool to see, you know, there's not many people if any, doing lollipops. I'm sure there are, but not at scale. And we have the machines and the equipment to do this, to do suckers, infused suckers with CBD in almost any flavor that you can think of. We had a company coming the other day that wanted to do chewing gum, much like the icebreakers gum. And because we thought there was demand for that and because this customer told us what their potential might be like, we bought an extruder and now we're going to be extruding chewing gum. So, I know we're going backwards, but I really wanted to touch on, I mean, we have a food scientist on staff named Michael who's been featured on some of the podcasts before that I've seen. And his job is developing products for the food industry, protein powders, ready-to-drink mixes. So, you asked us about innovative products and I wanted to touch on a few of those that stood out to me specifically.

Joe: And what's been the feedback affirming...you know, full transparency, obviously, we're recording this podcast during the national health pandemic. But we still do have potential partners on-site. You guys bring folks around on tours, we've taken all the necessary and follow all the CDC guidelines and all that stuff for tours. And we put everyone safety first. What's been the feedback so far after you're done showing somebody around?

Clay: It's the seeing is believing. I mean, it really is. I haven't had anybody come in and not have a smile ear to ear on their face, which is nice to see. And I mean, we literally can just kind of step back and walk them through the facility, explain to them what's going on, and the whole time they're jaws on the floor, because they're actually seeing it being done. I'm a big fan of how it's made the TV show, and it's a lot like that. These people are getting to walk in and see how it's made. And by the gummy machine, we have glass viewing windows, where we can stand there and you can watch hundreds of thousands of gummies being pumped out every single day. And that is one of the biggest things. And I mean, we're even willing to facilitate FaceTime tours. I've done that with partners before. They're health-conscious right now, and understandably, we're happy to hop on a FaceTime call and walk them through the facility and show them everything. So, there's really nothing to hide. I mean, we're really willing to pull up the veil and show you everything that's going on in a full effort towards transparency to let you know where the product's being made, to let you know who's making it. And that's something that is also fairly unique. You know, there's a lot of companies in the industry that everything's proprietary. You can't see how it's done. We'll show you exactly how it's done. You can go try to copy it. It's expensive and it's a lot of work, but we'll show you exactly how it's done because we want people to know where the product's being made. But in a nutshell, everybody's been amazed that's come in on tours with us.

Joe: Anything to add to that?

Mac: Yeah. I mean, I think that CBD is a health and wellness product. So, we do have this global, you know, pandemic going on the interest is still there. A lot of CBD companies received small business loans. So they're actually hyper interested in this point in time of gaining more market share. The CBD industry units is kind of brief existence has been a very tumultuous period. I mean, you've seen a lot of people raise a lot of money, a lot of people lose a lot of money and a lot of companies go bankrupt. And, you know, we talked earlier about what attracts us so much to Global Widget is that from a financial point of view, we are set absolutely from what we can do on a monthly basis in terms of revenue, from the way we're set up from a financial period on the onset, we're taken care of, we own all of this stuff. So, to be able to stand steady in that ground and consult with customers who may be just received the small business loan or going to take their chances to gain more market share because there is more now, we see those people start to filter in. And as we talk to them about custom products, as we talk to them about some of the services that we offer, they become really attracted to us, right? And if we can match that with our professionalism, which is totally already in this organization before Clay and I started, I mean, it's amazing. So, the conversations are much easier, and seeing is believing. I mean, you know, you have great conversations, getting someone here really is the kicker. And once they lay eyes on the campus, then they're sold. And so, from then on, it's just a matter of what do you want, when do you want it? Which is really exciting.

Joe: I want to thank both of my guests, Clay Romberg, Mac Norton for appearing on the "CBD University Podcast." Nice job, guys.

Clay: Thanks, Joe.

Joe: We're looking forward to a more conversation and welcome, again, to the team.

Mac: Thanks, Joe. Looking forward to the next show.

Joe: And for more information on GWCBD, I invite you to visit our website at www.gwcbd.com. Be sure to follow GWCBD on LinkedIn and Instagram and across our social media networks. I thank you for tuning in to this episode of the "CBD University Podcast." If you have not yet done so I do invite you to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite platform of choice to receive notifications when new episodes are published each week and you can also catch full video episodes, excuse me, on the YouTube channels of all of our brands. I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The CBD products are not intended 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 content is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.