Episode 3: Seeing (and Hearing) is Believing for Distributors

CBD Podcast Episode 3

JOE: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," did you know that our products from Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script, and Pure Paws Hemp are available at over 25,000 convenience and retail stores nationwide? Are you a distributor looking for your biggest CBD opportunity? Well, then this episode is for you. Learn about our industry-leading success in the retail space and how we take pride in partnering with wholesale distributors nationwide. This is the "CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of Global Widget "CBD University Podcast." If you are a returning listener, thanks once again for tuning in. And if you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. In addition to consumers having the ability to buy our products from the Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script, and Pure Paws stores online, you can also find our products in retail and convenience stores nationwide, over 25,000 of them, as a matter of fact. It's part of our unique business model and many of our distributors are family with my guests today, and this is one you may wanna check out. We all are also on our YouTube channel with video. I'm just simply dressed as I've been in Global Widget apparel for the first couple episode. I welcome Scot Wooster. And the man dressed to a tee in a three-piece suit, he does, this isn't just for the podcast, this is how he dresses every day, is Vince Gillen. So, I welcome you both to this episode of our podcast.

SCOT: Thanks for having us, Joe.

VINCE: Thanks, Joe.

JOE: First, a little bit of background about you guys, what you do here and how you got involved in the industry. Scot, we'll start with you.

SCOT: Sure, yeah. By way of title, Vice President of Sales Operations. And I've actually been with Global Widget for only about five months. I spent about 20 years in the software industry. And the Chief Technology Officer here at Global Widget is Jon King, that's somebody I used to work with in a prior life, in the software business. And he recruited me over. And so, it's been a wild five months, I can tell you that.

JOE: And Vince, how did you get involved in the industry and how long you been here? What do you do?

VINCE: Back in 2016, Kevin Collins, one of the founders, him and I have been friends for going on 18 years now. And he asked...when we started talking, I was office equipment industry selling copiers, and clearly, there's a lot more fun things to do than that. So, we've been talking about it and just different sales strategies, and I got really interested in... He kind of told me that, "Hey, we got this product, CBD, we're gonna sell it to distributors, and then we're gonna put it in convenience stores." And I was fascinated by the whole idea and we just kind of talked back and forth...I was driving over from Orlando, actually, almost every weekend and then came on board in May2017.

JOE: And as I mentioned in the onset, our products are available now, just over 25,000 convenience and retail stores nationwide. And along with being... That's an addition to, obviously, being available to consumers directly on our websites. Why so much success in the industry on the retail side? And I'll let you guys both answer, Scot first.

VINCE: When when we started, we had the opportunity to either sell directly to stores or you can sell online or you can get into the stores via distributors. A lot of the convenience stores, in particular, only buy through distributors, so our goal was to go after the distributors that were servicing those stores we wanna be in. And one way to have success is to not sell online for cheap and, you know, undercut the distributors. And then a lot of it just happens to be going through and find the right distribution partners and not selling to their competitors. We just found ways to make it work. A lot of it is logistics and just different strategies that way. So, I think that's kind of contributed to our success.

JOE: And speaking of success, we've had a lot of success with trade shows this year. You've both been on the road quite a bit. Some of the trade shows that you guys have been to this year so far?

SCOT: Yeah, I've only been to two. The most recent one was in Miami. And what I would tell you is, no surprise to anybody listening to this podcast, is there are so many competitors out there. So, there's booths full of, you know, people that we expect to see at trade shows, and then people that we've never heard of at trade shows, but there's always a lot of buzz. I mean, going to these trade shows is an exciting opportunity because people are very, very enthusiastic about the CBD opportunity. And one of the things that I'm most proud of, just being part of the company, is I can tell you, our booth is always the busiest one at each show that I've been to.

JOE: Now, what do you guys hear from distributors when you're at these shows as to, you know, the CBD industry and the questions they seem to have and getting on board with this?

VINCE: I would say now, at the trade shows, people are like, "Man, how many more CBD companies can there possibly, or brands that could pop up?" But I think it's really focused on education, and now the talk is on compliance. A lot of places asking about oh state-by-state legality or maybe they're bringing up the FDA, asking more for advice, I would say, rather than on the different brands. Because everyone knows there's just... It's like you'll have 100 there at a trade show, for instance, and maybe 10 of those will be there next year. So, a lot of the questions now from distributors and retailers is focused more on legality, compliance, maybe what we think is gonna happen in 2020, 2021 because it is a big investment for them to bring on any product, much less CBD, which is new for them, their employees or staff, that sort of thing. So, that's been a lot of the talk track lately.

JOE: And a little bit on the educational side, and in two parts of this. The first part, Vince, you were recently at an educational forum, the CSP News in Charlotte, North Carolina, a part of our partnership with CB Distributors. Talk a little bit about that forum and what you were hearing from folks who had the opportunity to meet with you in CB, one on one.

VINCE: So, it was set up...there was four speakers, and a lot of it, again, was focused on legality, data, analytics, and then just some...they took a lot of surveys based on the end consumer. So, each individual store chain that was there then had the opportunity to meet on a one-on-one session for about 15 minutes with the different brands that were there. So, it was a really good experience. And again, I think it goes back to people asking, "What are the most popular products? What should I carry in my store? How should it be displayed? Is this legal?" You know, most of the chains that were there were carrying CBD and they're just really trying to find the right product mix and maybe what they should add of another brand, another product. So...

JOE: Go ahead.

SCOT: I was just gonna say, something that's very common, no matter what audience we are in front of is, a lot of the same questions come up, right? So, there's state law changes, general legal questions, you know, compliance regarding lab testing, all those kind of things, you're gonna run into the same questions just about every stop we make.

JOE: And as a way to further educate those who are partnering with us and those who are interested in partnering with us, our Seeing is Believing campaign. And over the course of November and December, we'll have opportunities and beyond for distributors to see firsthand what Global Widget is all about, our manufacturing and distribution space and seeing some of that testing and the compliance initiatives that are underway. What does that Seeing is Believing mean to each of you?

SCOT: That was a good segue because, you know, really, the reason we started Seeing is Believing and the reason we are inviting people down, you know, to our facility is what I just stated is that the same questions come up time and time again. And people want education. There's no shortage of information out there, but there is a lack of clarity as to what trusted sources, you know, that information is coming from. So, we are really working hard to make sure that we were one of those trusted sources in the industry. But, you know, so that drove part of the reason to do CBD University. The other part is, as we started inviting different partners down to Global Widget to see the facility, we're getting a very positive reaction from all of them. They were very surprised that the facility we have, the team we've built, the operation, the scale of the operation, because they've seen other facilities, they've seen other businesses and it was something very different than what they had experienced previously.

So, those two things kind of sparked the idea, "Wait, people need education, people are asking the same questions. People wanna see that, you know, who they're buying from is, you know, able to scale with their needs, if that's the issue or their trusted partner, whether it be compliance or lab testing or those kind of things." So, that kind of spurned the CBD University idea, and I'm very excited about it.

JOE: And Vince, the Seeing is Believing, what does it mean to you?

VINCE: Well, since it kind of goes back to when we first started selling products, we wanted to have, you know, our brands and as many brick and mortar locations as possible through a distribution network. And I think we've been able to do that successfully while still supporting the end retailer in their location, like being brick and mortar. And I heard this at a different trade show we went to, and it just talked about the support from manufacturer to the distributor and then to the retailer. And I think we really are a manufacturer. When I heard this, it was just being a manufacturer like us that is willing to invest as much in a store as possible as they are just carrying our brand. And I think by doing the whole Seeing is Believing, we get to invite them here and see, you know, what our capacity is, what we can do to provide them the best resources necessary to have success with our brands. And just thinking about that's pretty exciting.

And to Scot's point, everybody that's come here is blown away by our facility and just, I think it has a lot to do with the team we have and the people that we've hired that are not necessarily from CBD world, or maybe not necessarily the convenience store or retail chain, anything like that. We've brought in a lot of people that just do a great job working together to try to have the end goal, which is the same. And we have a ton of resources to offer. And I think by them being able to come here and see that, maybe they can see what else we can provide or give us advice on what to do next or to, you know, just have long-term success, you know. Because it's not just about right now and next year, we're here, you know, 5, 10 years in the future and want them to be a part of it.

JOE: Yeah. And speaking of that, you know, obviously becoming a partner of Global Widget and carrying the brands that we manufacture and distribute, what do we do with your team to ensure the success of those in the retail space, after they decide, "Yeah, you know, I would love to have some of your products into my store?" What do we do to ensure that long-term success?

SCOT: There's actually a lot to it. Like I said, I've only been here about five months and there's a lot of complexities to this business that I would not have imagined. A lot of it has to do with supply chain, a lot of it has to do with, you know, just the distribution model. A lot of it has to do with, as I mentioned earlier, you know, the changing climate of CBD. So, what we try to do is we have put a team together to support those customers and so that they are successful. You know, Vince touched on it a little bit, but on the sales side, we have a CSM team, customer success managers. So, the CSMs are assigned to, you know, certain distributor accounts. And so, when they have support issues, whether, you know, whatever...you know, issues do come up, right? So, whether it's a shipping issue or a billing issue or whatever kind of question, we have a central point for that customer or distributor to reach out to. So, that's a real value add that I think, probably, differentiates us a little bit from our competition. But then, it's really the support in the store.

So, one of the things we do a really good job of is we understand the C-store market, that's what this business was built on. So, I think our displays which, you know, in and of themselves, you know, are good. We provide a lot of materials that go for the point of sale. So, if you look at one of our displays, it's displayed properly, you're gonna see things like a counter mat. If somebody is looking to buy CBD and they're not necessarily educated, they can, you know, read the counter mat and maybe they pick up the information they need. Or on the display, we have, you know, trifolds, which is an information pamphlet that might give them some additional information.

Again, we're trying to help the retailer by educating the customer. We're also trying to help the customer make an important decision. So, I think that we try to go the extra mile, whether we're supporting our customers internally, you know, to make sure they get the product in the appropriate amount of time, but we're also supporting at the end-user level in the retail store, supporting our retail partners as well.

JOE: And on top of that long-term success, where do we... You know, as we head into a new year in 2020 and wrap up the 2019, biggest challenges facing that retail space? You know, maybe it's some of the stuff we already touched on, but, you know, as this industry continues to grow, and more and more names are out there, biggest challenge facing the retail space, and how are we positioned heading in to meet those challenges?

SCOT: Yeah. I think the biggest challenge for... Well, I would answer it two ways. One, for the retail space, it's gonna be choices. So, to your point, Joe, there are, you know, tons of CBD, you know, people entering the CBD market every day. I think there's gonna be a lot of shake up over the next 12 months as it relates to who the players, you know, are that are remaining. I think we're well positioned, particularly, and that's kind of one of the things, when we invite people here to see the facility for CBD University, what they're gonna see is we're very, you know, we're a vertically-integrated company. And that may or may not mean something to everybody listening to this, but what it's gonna mean is, you know, for us is we're prepared for the future because we can control a couple of things, one, research and development. So, we are very nimble in coming out with new product offerings. So, when I say things like, you know, state laws change, well, one state may say, you know, today, edibles and topicals may be fine, but tomorrow, maybe they change their mind and they just, you know, are only allowing topicals.

When you're in control of research and development, you're developing your own products, you're vertically-integrated as we are, and you're nimble, you can react to that. But if you're entering the CBD space and you're not vertically-integrated, you're relying on a different supply chain, I think some of those companies are probably gonna struggle. So, to answer your question directly, I think the big challenge for retailers is what choice. There's lots of choices, you got to choose wisely, because I think there's gonna be a shakeup in the CBD space. And then if I just look at the challenges, you know, for the next year, I think it's gonna be those that haven't built the infrastructure like we have here at Global Widget with not only personnel, but vertical integration and those types of things. I think it could be a tough year because it's, you know, there's got to be a breaking point where there's so many entrants, there's gonna be winners, and there's gonna be losers.

JOE: And if folks don't get a chance to make it down here for the Seeing is Believing tour, so obviously, as we head into 2020, I imagine that you're probably gonna be hitting the road a little more frequently with the trade shows and industry events, correct?

VINCE: That's right. We have pretty busy schedules. So, there's some different verticals we're getting into too. So, the pet market being one of them, fitness, health and wellness, which we've already kicked that off, I'd say over the past probably six, seven months. But those are two verticals that have a lot of opportunity with CBD, and I think we have a couple brands that fit those markets very, very well.

JOE: I wanna thank both of you for taking time out of your always busy day to join me on this episode of the "CBD University Podcast" and I look forward to hearing from both of you again sometime soon, as we get into these visits, and then back on the road with Global Widget at the trade shows.

SCOT: Thank you, Joe. Enjoyed it.

JOE: And that was Scot Wooster and Vince Gillen, both of Global Widget as we discuss some opportunities available for distributors and our Seeing is Believing campaign which is going on November, December, and beyond. I thank you for listening to this episode of the "CBD University Podcast." I wanna remind you that if you would like to, and we hope you would, subscribe to our podcasts on your favorite platform of choice. You can also find our podcast and also additional information about partnering with Global Widget at our website, www.globalwidget.com. And you can subscribe to our podcast on your favorite platform of choice and we are on a number of those platforms. Just hit the subscribe button and you'll get notifications each week when new episodes are published. Once again, I'm Joe Agostinelli, and this has been another episode of our podcast, the "CBD University Podcast." Thanks for listening.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. 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 podcast is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of C-B-D and C-B-D products.