Episode 66: Around the CBD Universe with Sunday Scaries



Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast" we take you around the industry and check in with another CBD brand to see how they adapted to the changing landscape of the CBD industry and the emerging trends in product development. This is the "CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CBD University Podcast." If you are a returning listener, I welcome you back to our podcast. If you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your favorite podcast platform of choice. Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts and get notifications when new episodes are published each week. You can also catch full video episodes of our podcast on the YouTube channel from week to week if you'd rather watch the video episode. And for those who watch our video episodes rather than listen to them or do a little bit of both, you'll notice this is another one of our Zoom episodes, and we've talked to a number of folks in the industry. We featured reporters, industry advocates, legal representatives, distribution partners, but for the first time in our podcast, I welcome a fellow brand of the CBD industry, Sunday Scaries, and the co-founders are joining me, Mike Sill and Beau Schmitt. Mike and Beau, welcome to the podcast.

Mike: What's up, Joe, thanks for having us.

Beau: Yeah, thank you.

Mike: Excited to be here.

Joe: So you guys...although I'm in Tampa, you guys are in...whereabouts in California?

Mike: We're located in San Diego.

Joe: Very nice. Hopefully, it's nice and warm out there too.

Mike: Always is, rigid 60.

Joe: Sixty here and they're dress in winter clothes. First of all, let's talk about the history and story behind Sunday Scaries. Why did you guys start with Sunday Scaries and where did the name come from?

Beau: That's gonna be Mike.

Mike: I'll hop on that. So Beau and I actually used to own a bar and grill together, so we had a past venture right outside downtown San Diego, the local neighborhood sports bar with a focus on craft beer, and we were in the hospitality industry for about a decade in its entirety, and about two years in of opening the bar we were incredibly stressed out to put it lightly. We were burning both ends of the candle, going to work early and working, you know, on the business by trying to find ways to promote and cut cost, negotiate with vendors, and then also in the business, we're running around helping to host, bartend, expo food, however much we could, you know, putting in enough effort to make sure that business was running.

And one day our buddy Garret came in and noticed that we were just visibly stressed, hadn't slept for a while, and were just worried about how the business was functioning and paying bills and all that, and he was like, "Hey, Beau and Mike, I gotta get you guys outta here for a weekend. Let's go play some golf." So Beau and I hesitated a little bit because we were shackled to the business and felt like we always had to be there, but finally said yes and got out on the course with him and he reached for his bag and grabbed out some CBD, a tincture. Beau and I both took it without hesitation on that and felt the immediate, you know, cool calm relief and fell in love with CBD right there on the golf course, and then after that, you know, went home, jumped on the computer and tried to look for products to buy, and that was 2017, and it was really tough finding brands at that time. There was definitely gaps in the market with regards to credibility, you know, different brands showcasing their supplement facts and what ingredients were actually in the products, and there was a lack of, like, a sticky CPG brand as well, so we decided to make the plunge.

Joe: It went from that back in 2017 now to a very saturated market and staying top of mind in the consumer's mind is no easy task. So as one of the major brands out there, what are some of the challenges you face with thousands of companies entering the market to try and capitalize on the popularity of CBD today?

Beau: Yeah, so I mean, you know, 2017, early 2018, it was amazing because Facebook, Google, Amazon didn't have any anti-CBD policies. We could scale really quickly. We did scale really quickly, and ingredient-based marketing was all we needed. Hey, we have a CBD product. People are like, "Oh, hell yeah. I wanna buy that." Now as the industry has matured, just like any industry, whether it's coconut water or razors or deodorants, you know, the brand and the brand archetype is what defines, you know, your ability to differentiate yourself rom your competitors.

And so, you know, as Simon Sinek put it in the Ted Talks, you know, we move away from the what we're selling and why we're selling it, you know, what is our mission, what is our vision in three years. And so, you know, the number one core value for Sunday Scaries, and we have, you know, five core values that we hold close to our chest, is delivering happiness. The Tony Hsieh Zappos story where we'll do everything for our customer. Customer service is number one. If someone calls us and they're like, "Hey, I'm in Austin. I need a pizza place," we'll look it that. And, you know, just making sure that the customer doesn't feel alone in their journey with anxiety and stress, and that's also something that differentiates us is, you know, very customer-centric but we only focus on stress and anxiety. We don't focus on pain, inflammation, and a lot of the other, you know cure-alls that the companies market towards.

So, you know, we're also millennial-focused. We have a fun brand archetype. We consider ourselves the "Deadpool" of the wellness, you know, CBD industry, a little edgy, not perfect, but try to be the superheroes for those around us in our personal scary squad. And yeah, you know, we felt when we entered the industry that most of the companies are focused on targeting the boomer generation, but the millennial generation...I'm a millennial. You know, millennials are 24 to 40 years old. We have a very unique set of anxieties, kind of these over-the-counter anxieties that plague us, and that's what we wanted to tackle, right? Everything from social media, online dating, student loans, financial distress, technological isolation. So, you know, that's how we approach and differentiate our brand.

Joe: So let's shift gears a little bit in expanding the brand, and the end of March brings the deadline to apply for the Novel Foods Dossier in the U.K. And since CBD is considered a novel food, that means brands such as Sunday Scaries need to submit a lengthy dossier. Talk a little bit about your U.K. expansion.

Mike: Yeah, so we started that towards the end of 2020 and immediately saw success there. A lot of it has to do with just the earned media presence that we have as well as influencer marketing, and I think that the consumer base out there really resonates with our brand because we bring the California chill to the U.K. And that whole process has been great from the front end. Obviously, there's the impending doom of...I think it's the end of March actually is the deadline to submit. And to be honest with you, we didn't really have the infrastructure, the internal infrastructure, to fully be able to take that on.

We recently just hired on an operations manager with a supply chain and logistics background, but in order to do that, obviously, it's important because you want your stability test and you want to ensure that you're selling something safe to the consumer. We follow the same practices that we do here in the U.S. with the third-party COAs. Obviously, we source our materials from a hemp farm in Greeley, Colorado. We flew out there and personally met with the farmers and we have a really good strategic partnership with our processing facility who has every certificate under the sun just to ensure that what we're selling to the consumers are safe, and the same thing just transfers over to the U.K.

Joe: And what about here in the U.S.? As a brand, how do you see the new administration impacting the CBD industry? It's something we talked about with, you know, industry insiders now for the last few months.

Beau: Yeah, I mean...it's a guessing game, but obviously, you know, we're all in for Sunday Scaries, so we have a lot of confidence that it's...you know, wholehearted confidence that it's going in the right direction, that CBD as a dietary supplement will be classified as, you know, Generally Regarded as Safe, GRAS, and it'll, you know, enter mainstream health and wellness industry like a turmeric, like a fish oil, like a biotin. And, you know, the amount of excitement that brings to Mike and I...because we really do think that CBD has exponentially more benefits than even currently, you know, it's praised to help with. So, you know, as far as the administration, we can just say that every quarter, we check up. We think it's moving in a positive direction.

Mike: Yeah, to dovetail off that too. That was great, Beau. I think that...you know, there's two things happening. One there's this anticipation in the CBD industry, specifically for them to make an announcement that it's gonna be a dietary supplement, and I feel like the FDA gets hammered, especially by our industry. Like, you know, why are they dragging their feet? What the heck is going on? But considering the past year with the pandemic, I mean, they've had their hands full, and then, you know, you stack on like an opioid crisis on top of that. It's kind of important to show some empathy too on just how much they probably have on their desks, you know.

And then simultaneously, you know, you have this whole thing going on with marijuana and you're seeing states by states, you know, it's like a domino effect of this recreational activity happening where it's being allowed, and I think that as more and more states start falling, I think federally they're gonna have to look at it differently and obviously that's gonna affect the cannabis industry in its entirety.

Joe: And shifting gears now to products. Making CBD accessible and affordable, especially you talk about that, you know, millennial age range. How does Sunday Scaries keep CBD accessible and affordable for its customers?

Mike: I think that we're not the kind of brand that sells to everybody. We definitely wanna make sure that we keep it affordable to our consumer base. As we talked about earlier, there's, what, 3500 other CBD brands on the market and we're not, like, a value-based brand, you know. We're not selling, like, a discount product. We spend a ton of money on R&D for our products. We spend a ton of money on building the brand, and I think that the right consumer will respect that and they're gonna want an elevated product. So are we the most expensive CBD company in the game? Absolutely not, but we're not a value-based product either.

Joe: And something I did notice on the website when we talked about products is we see more and more of this in the industry is specialized products. I notice you have a line of edibles that are vegan. Talk a little bit about your vegan products and what led to the development of those products, and I've got a bottle of the vegan gummies right here.

Beau: So I mean, you know, our number one core value, like I mentioned, is to deliver happiness. So, you know, we have a very active consumer base that we get feedback from. We get that through email, through surveys, through NPS, and after we launched our flagship CBD gummies with vitamins and CBD oil with vitamins, the next step was really listening to our consumers and figuring out what they wanted. One unique thing, a fun thing that we love doing, is we actually, besides our two flagship gummies and oils, we individually brand each product. So it's not like Sunday Scaries Vegan Gummies. It's Vegan AF or it's Bra Berries or it's Unicorn Jerky.

Joe: That was not planned, by the way, but I just had them in my hand to talk a little bit about what's behind the Bra Berries but just as you mentioned, I just happened to have it in my hand.

Beau: Yeah, and, you know, it's really so that the consumer feels like they have a product that really represents them. It's Vegan AF, you're taking that stance. And it was tricky because, you know, vitamin D3, which is in most of our products for added benefits is actually lanolin-based, which is, you know, from sheep's wool. Not a lot of people know that, but vegans know that, so the D3 specific to that product is from lichen, so it's plant-based. You know, moving into the other products, Unicorn Jerky is very close to us, especially Mike's history. Bra Berries is very close to me. We launched that last year for October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month because, you know, growing up, my, like, second mom, my best friend's mom passed away from breast cancer, so we tried to do everything to give back to...for this, we donated a portion to the Pink Agenda to, you know, further cancer research.

Joe: And I was gonna ask that because I notice on the back of the label, and I don't know how good the camera's are gonna pick it up, but there it is. The pink...gotta love high definition. The pink ribbon, obviously, on the back and these are the Bra Berries, which are a strawberry gummy. But talk a little bit about the cause behind that and the proceeds from the sales of these.

Mike: Yes. So they're going to the Pink Agenda and then, you know, when you order that it comes with a little postcard that talks about Lisa, who was like my second mom who passed away. You know, it even hit harder because this past October my, like, best friend growing up, Drew, had his first baby boy, Parker, so, you know, we wish that Lisa could be around to see that and, you know, that's why we're here. It's a part of our why, part of our mission. Our mission is to give back and do the best that we can to promote better mental health and use the brand to do fun things to give back.

Joe: And finally off of the trends. What other trends in 2021 so far are you keeping an eye on and how does the emergence of minor cannabinoids play into the roadmap?

Beau: Yeah, so we're looking to experiment with other minors, specifically CBN, so stay tuned for a product that's gonna roll out by May, which is going to be a sleep tincture, more to come on that. And I think that's gonna be a trend that's gonna continue snowballing throughout the year for sure is just more studies coming out on what the particular cannabinoids do by themselves as well as, you know, together with other ones specifically. And then finally, I'm sure we should probably just discuss Delta-8, which is something that we're gonna abstain from diving into. I think there's just...there's always legal grey area in CBD and I think there's even more with regards to Delta-8 and we try to make all of our products so they're non-psychoactive, but I think it's just in its infancy stages. It might be a flash in the pan, but I feel like there's something that's gonna come out by the FDA or some sort of regulatory body about whether or not they can do that since it's so close to, you know, THC, which is Schedule One.

Joe: Well, guys. I wanna thank you for the conversation. Always a pleasure to catch up with fellow brands and thought leaders in the industry. I enjoyed the conversation, Mike Sill, excuse me, and Beau Schmitt, my guests on this episode of the "CBD University Podcast." You can visit Sunday Scaries online, sundayscaries.com, and see all the products that they have. And I tell you what, as we get into October and some of the other different months, I would love to get together again and talk about some of the causes behind your products. I think that's a great story.

Mike: Amazing. Joe, thanks for your time.

Joe: Yeah, thank you, guys, and I thank you for listening to this episode of the "CBD University Pocast." A reminder if you have not yet done so you can subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform of choice and get new episodes...get notifications when new episodes are published each week. 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.