Today as part of our CEO Interview Series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Conor Denman, CEO of SMPLSTC. 

Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have a great story about what brought me into this industry! I went golfing with my dad about 3 years ago and he happened to bring a tincture of CBD. He took a few drops under his tongue and asked if I wanted to try it for the benefits. I heard the benefits of CBD from some friends and was eager to try it out. I took a few drops and continued on the golf round. I played the best game of golf in my life that day! The tincture made me calm yet focused, and from then on, I knew I wanted to make my own and possibly start a company.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The biggest lesson we, as a company, have learned is to always use the best ingredients. When we were about six months into the company, we ordered a certain ingredient that goes into one of our tinctures. I ordered the wrong type of ingredient and we started mixing. We soon realized that something was wrong and had to throw away around $20k worth of product. We laugh about it now, but at the time it almost sank our company.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’d say the most interesting story would have to be our trip to Mexico. We got invited to attend a CBD Expo in Mexico City when CBD was just starting to expand in the region. All of the partners and a few employees attended. The trip started off terribly, as all of our product was seized at customs and was being held. We went to the location where the Expo was being held and they almost arrested us because they thought we brought cannabis (marijuana) into the country. We ended up walking away with no product and just our booth. Looking back now, that could have gone a lot worse than it actually did. Yes, we lost money, but we almost lost our freedom in the process. Bottom line, always have documentation of products on hand when traveling. Lesson learned.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? 

We’re formulating a gummy line as well as a pre-packaged flower at the moment. The gummy is a little different than your normal gummy.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’d say the success of SMPLSTC has everything to do with the owners and the employees. We would be nothing without KC Gates and all he does as the Head of Sales/Owner of the company. We also would be a mess without Clayton Jones, our CFO. Each employee has a specific role and they go above and beyond. SMPLSTC is one big happy family and everyone is treated as an owner, and that’s why we’ve been so successful.

This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

Our marketing is straightforward and simple. We don’t try to shove products in people’s faces. We let our products speak for themselves. CBD can be confusing but we try to alleviate that as much as possible with our slogan “Wellness Made Simple”.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

I’d say the three most exciting things about this industry are innovation, the people, and RnD. I learn something new every day. This industry is just starting to scratch the surface and it’s exciting to have a front-row seat. Our customers are awesome; hearing testimonials and how our product has helped our customers is what keeps us going as a brand. I love creating new categories or making new products. It keeps it fun and fresh since we are always creating.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Be prepared for things to not go your way. I’ve had countless plans that haven’t gone my way, but the outcome is always better than what I imagined. Always find the silver lining.
  2. Don’t take yourself so seriously, we are constantly joking and having fun here at SMPLSTC.
  3. Be a leader, not a boss. All of the partners at SMPLSTC are right with our employees and do what they do.
  4. Be ready to fail and fail again. I’ve had a few businesses before this one that didn’t pan out, but I picked myself up and continued to fight.
  5. Don’t dive into a business you’re not in love with. That’s essentially why my other companies failed.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Treat them like partners. With my previous jobs, I learned that I thrived in companies that treated me like a partner of the company and valued my input.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Something I think should be spread through media outlets is the importance of taking care of the inside of your body. We understand wearing a mask greatly decreases your chance of getting sick and we are all for it. One thing that is lacking from the media is taking vitamin C, vitamin D, drinking enough water, getting exercise a few times a week and making sure you take your daily regimen of CBD. Taking care of the inside of your body is a priority that should be spread across the nation.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Instagram: @smplstcbd @smplstcfitness @conordenman