Episode 97 – Five Years of Hemp Bombs



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Joe: On this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," we're celebrating five years of our first CBD brand, Hemp Bombs. Award-winning products, the leading brand in the C-score space, setting industry standards, it's all on this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." If you're a returning listener, we welcome you back to our podcast. And if you are a new listener, we're glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. Don't forget to hit that Subscribe button wherever you get your podcast. And you'll get notifications each week when there are new episodes published. You can also find full video of episodes on the Global Widget YouTube channel and on the Hemp Bombs YouTube channel.

Five years ago, it was just the start of the CBD industry, and our first CBD brand was born. Now, a household name available in more than 25,000 retail locations nationwide, and direct to consumers online. We're talking Hemp Bombs. It started with a two-pack of CBD capsules. And now, I welcome two of our longest-tenured team members as we reminisce the early days, how we got to where we are today, and where we're going.

Vince Gillen is the vice president of sales. He's back. Daisy Figueroa of our finance department joins in for this episode. Welcome, both of you, to the podcast.

Daisy: Thank you.

Vince: Thank you.

Joe: And first off, our podcast listeners know Vince probably quite well by now. Always a pleasure to have him on the podcast. But, Daisy, why don't you discuss a little bit how you all got started with Global Widget and what you do?

Daisy: When I came into Global Widget, I came in as a data entry. And about three months, I think I started to handle payroll, which was a big, big increase in duties for me. But it's the most important thing I do here. It's very...it's one of the things that I make sure, you know, I do on time because I want everybody to be happy on Fridays and come back on Mondays. That's a big thing for me.

Joe: And on that note, we'll wrap up this episode. You also have another very important duty, and that is our podcast hosting fee gets paid every month. So, without Daisy, we wouldn't have a place to put our podcast because the bill wouldn't get paid.

Daisy: That is true. I pay all the bills and all the invoices.

Vince: Yeah. You helped out a lot with HR, though, at the beginning, too.

Daisy: Yeah, I did a lot of HR, a lot of translating because we have a lot of big Spanish population working in production. So, I had to get my Spanish back on track for sure when I came in.

Joe: And it's been now just over four years. And, Vince, we'll start with you. You've been here just a little longer than four years. Tell us about the early days of Hemp Bombs and just getting started in the industry.

Vince: Part of it is not changing, I would say, the energy. And it's fun. Every day is different at the office. In the early days, I think there was a lot of uncertainty, but excitement around the products, especially with the success of...you mentiond the two-count, the capsules that we had. And we launched gummies. And then from there, it was just an explosion of different products. So, at the beginning, we all were very uncertain about the CBD industry. So, with laws changing, legality on a state-by-state basis. We were in a different facility, too, a lot smaller. So, probably one of the biggest changes was the increasing capacity on production, people. You know, I think, when I came on, there was less than 30 employees. And now, we're over 300. So, that's a lot of growth in the past four years. It's exciting, and it's still very much a great place to be, and a lot of fun.

Joe: You talked about facilities and the team. We've gone from 30 now to over 300. Your job is even more important than it was.

Daisy: Three hundred and forty-seven, I think, is where we're at standing right now.

Vince: About 347.

Daisy: Yeah, almost 350.

Joe: And talk about the expansion of the team and the growth and the facilities that you've seen, you know, in the four years that you've been here.

Daisy: So, like Vince said, when we first started, we were in...I think, we were renting four different buildings or offices in a plaza. And, you know, shipping was in one building, you know, production was in another building. It was just kind of...

Vince: Everything was very manual.

Daisy: Very...

Vince: So, there was a lot of back and forth, yeah. So, adding the equipment, things were more automized.

Daisy: Automated, yeah.

Vince: Yeah, exactly. But a lot of the people are still here.

Daisy: Oh, yeah.

Vince: We just expanded those teams. I saw quite a few people the other day in our other facility, and they were here at the beginning. And now, they're in...you know, either they're, like, directors of a team or managers and they've just kind of also been able to grow from within the company as well. And that's been great to see.

Daisy: Absolutely.

Joe: An important note, you mentioned four offices to start with. So, to have four locations, they're obviously much different than they were from the beginning.

Daisy: Correct.

Vince: A lot different.

Joe: Now, it's just over about 175,000 or so total square feet.

Daisy: That's correct. When I first started, I think we had about 27 employees. And that was including Kevin and Donnie. And, like Vince said, we're over 300 now — 347, I think, is the exact number. So, that's like 1,000% growth in the last four years. I think, from January till today, it's probably been in, like, an 80% growth rate. We've grown...it's been crazy. It's been a crazy ride.

Joe: You also talked about the diverse work force that we have, you know, both on the production side and on the non-production side.

Daisy: Yeah. We have a lot of different people. One thing I can say about Global Widget is, when we hire people here, we hire the best of the best. And whatever position you're in, if you're working for us, it's because we think you're the best of the best. And, you know, we have Spanish. For instance, there was one employee. When she first came in, this was about maybe three years ago. She was Spanish-speaking only. And in these years, she has learned English, and now holds one of the management positions in production. That's pretty awesome.

Vince: That's great.

Joe: Yeah. It's great to hear the stories like that, that continue, you know, five years later or four years later. And, of course, best of the best, all of our teams in-house which we've talked about on past episodes. That gives us the ability to bring new products, as you mentioned, to the market and plenty of new products introduced over the past five years. And if you're watching on YouTube, we have some of the products here in the studio that we'll be showing off. Obviously, probably two of the biggest years, 2020, the year of more, and the 2021, more award-winning products, Vince.

Vince: Right. Mainly gummies, obviously, with the elderberry which is new botanical blend. And then also the elderberry being immunity. Max Chill. So, yeah. I think a lot of the new products we're going to see are going to continue to revolve around edible forms like gummies, possibly go more down that immunity path. And then we've also added the Delta 8 gummies as well.

Joe: And you can... These are the elderberry gummies. This is the eight-count package. We talked about this, and I mentioned this, you know, on the first question...or on the first statement, available in thousands of retail locations nationwide. And when you see the displays, these are typically the sizes you'll see. Correct? This is the eight-count package.

Vince: Correct. Yeah, that's the eight-count packaging. When we started, it was a five-count. So, that's been a change. It's more CBD. Hence the year of more, 2020. But, yeah. And then we have the bottles now as well. The botanical blend is probably one of my favorite new products [crosstalk 00:09:06].

Joe: I think we got over... We do.

Vince: Yeah. There you go. And that comes in the 8 and 20-count bags as well. So, since day one, our bestsellers have been those smaller units for either whether to capsule card or a bag of gummies. And that's continued to be, you know, the trend. We've expanded out a lot with having the 50 and 100 counts for other products and formulas. But our bestsellers still since day one have been the bags, that 9.99 and 19.99 price point.

Joe: And I don't have the bags of the botanical blends, but if you happen to see on our social media, these are the gummies that, just this year, not only were released, but also were awarded the Best New Product Convenience Store News published back in September. These are the botanical blend gummies Vince was talking about.

Vince: Right. That's the new formula that has the L-theanine, passiflora, and CBD that kind of is a...it's actually a blend of some of the ingredients we first used when we launched, the five-count gummy originally. So, we've made a change in that formula a few years ago, and then now we brought it back.

Joe: Classics. Always in style.

Vince: That's right. Absolutely.

Joe: Daisy, I'll start off you. Favorite Hemp Bombs product.

Daisy: Gummies.

Vince: Which one?

Daisy: The melatonin gummies.

Vince: Sleep.

Daisy: Sleep gummies. But I got to say, I'm kind of...because I love the Pain Freeze.

Vince: Yeah, it's true.

Daisy: Pain Freeze is amazing. No residue. It's just the best. It's one of the best things we have, is Pain Freeze.

Joe: And that's another new product that came out last year, was the roll-on application of the Pain Freeze. I mean, we've had the gel for a long time. We came out with a high-potency version, but we also came on with the mess-free applicator one, that's a roll-on.

Vince: Yup. Actually, the...and it's the same formula, just in a roll-on. So, a little bit different form. So, instead of you having to dip their hands in their jar, they could just roll it on. So, both of them still...they're doing very, very well. So, Pain Freeze is a good product.

Daisy: Mm-hmm.

Joe: Your favorite Hemp Bombs product?

Vince: I'm going to go with the elderberry gummies. I go by taste and the look of the packaging.

Joe: So do the judges when we win these awards.

Vince: Right. Exactly.

Daisy: It is really pretty packaging.

Joe: It is.

Vince: They taste great, but the foil packaging was new, one of the first ones we did in that...with this look here. And they're doing very well in retail, too.

Daisy: It's very pretty.

Vince: I eat about 10 of those a day.

Joe: That's a lot of gummies.

Daisy: Before you come to work or after?

Vince: During...it don't matter. Whenever.

Joe: Right after we're done recording. And since you work in a distribution and retail space with our wholesale partners, what have some of the favorite products been, you know, just from feedback from those who you are in contact with every day?

Vince: So, the Pain Freeze is always a top talked about product in terms of sample requests, "This is my favorite. I need some for my family." And that's from category managers to our distributors, the sales teams. They have...and that's... Even at trade shows, it's the main product that people come to see us about. And then second would be all the gummies.

Joe: And now that we've shared our favorite products, we want you to enjoy some of your favorite products in a podcast-exclusive single-use offer code to save 35% site-wide at hempbombs.com. Use code PODCAST35 until Monday, November 8th. Single-use code. Terms and conditions at hempbombs.com.

All right. A little bonus for listeners as we celebrate the fifth anniversary. Four years ago, when you guys both started, did you ever think this is what the company would be today? Daisy, you first.

Daisy: Absolutely. This is exactly what Donnie said he was going to give us. Exactly. And I had the utmost faith that he was going to accomplish it, that him and Kevin could accomplish it. He told me we were going to get the best. He said we're going to get a beautiful building. We're going to get the best employees. We're going to do great. We're going to be the best, the leaders in CBD. And it's exactly what he said. It's exactly.

Vince: That's a good answer.

Joe: It's a great answer. Vince, do you have any...

Vince: No comment.

Joe: [crosstalk 00:13:36] on that?

Vince: No. I would attest to that as well. I'd agree. I wasn't expecting Daisy to say it like that. Nothing to add to it. But I think, you know, we've made a lot of accomplished in the CBD category and the industry in general. We've made a lot of alliances and partnerships with other brands in the industry as well. And I think, now that we're adding other products outside of CBD, hence the CPG change in name for "CBD University" or in addition to, you're going to see us be able to excel a lot in other industries, whether it's not just, you know, convenience, grocery. It could be on even...they have the Amazon stuff launching, the immunity products [inaudible 00:14:19] manufacturing. So, I think, with the success of Hemp Bombs over the last four or five years, we've been able to branch out and expand our portfolio, the business ourselves, to be more diverse on accomplishing a lot, what we've done in CBD with other products. So, it's exciting.

Joe: So, I got to ask, favorite memory from the past four years, outside of this year's 4th of July part which we don't have to discuss on the podcast.

Daisy: Let me see.

Vince: I'll go.

Daisy: Go ahead.

Vince: Moving into the new facility. That was a big accomplishment, and fun. It was, I think, a great moment for all of us.

Daisy: It was. I got to agree. I was actually on vacation. I was visiting my family in Boston. And I got a picture of our awning when it...you know, the Global Widget sign on the building. And I literally teared up. Like, literally teared up. It was amazing. It was amazing. I think one of my favorites also was the first...the second company party that we had. It was right after we actually got into the building, everybody was settled. We went to Splitsville.

Vince: Right.

Daisy: Everybody came out in their best dress. They brought their family. We got to meet husbands and wives. We had a great time. We bowled. It was fun. It was great. It was a good time.

Joe: We work hard, and we play hard.

Daisy: We do.

Joe: It's how we're all set.

Daisy: We do.

Vince: Absolutely.

Joe: Well, Vince and Daisy, thank you both for joining me on this episode. That was a lot of fun. And just like everything else we do here, thank you both.

Daisy: Thank you.

Vince: Thank you, Joe.

Joe: These are just 2 of the over 300...347 team members, as Daisy mentioned, responsible for your favorite CBD products from Hemp Bombs. Here's to the next five years and beyond. Thank you for joining us for this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." Reminder, if you have not yet done so, hit that Subscribe button wherever you get your podcast notifications each week. Full video episodes on YouTube. I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult with 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.