I had the pleasure of interviewing Mason Ghrannie, the Vice President of CBD’R US. He graduated from California State University Fullerton in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. When he isn’t busy working, he enjoys playing pick-up basketball, surfing, and hiking.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career as an importer. I was importing smoking accessories from China and selling them to distributors and wholesalers throughout the United States. I’ve been able to develop relationships with some of the largest distributors in the country. Last year, I partnered with some great individuals, and we were able to create CBD’R US. We’ve been able to grow the company exponentially due to our experience and relationships we were able to build throughout our years.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I don’t have an interesting story to share, however I’d say the most interesting part about the whole journey has been being able to provide my closest friends with jobs. The greatest feeling is when you’re able to succeed and bring your closest friends with you along the journey. It’s also great to work with a team that I trust.
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?
One of our best-selling CBD Gummies is our Sweet & Sour Kids. The funniest mistake we made when we were first starting was our graphic designer misspelled “sweet” and spelled it as “sweat.” As a result, we had 1000 jars of Sweet & Sour Kids that read “Sweat & Sour Kids” on the packaging label. This was a funny mistake but it was also a very frustrating mistake that costs us a few thousand dollars. This lesson taught our entire team the importance of paying attention to detail.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We started our brand with 15 options of CBD Gummies, but now we’re expanding our product line to CBD snacks, tinctures, and topical creams. Many of our customers love our packaging for our gummies, so we’re currently finalizing and perfecting our packaging for our new products. In addition, we’re working on the product development for our CBD fitness line of products that will be available by the end of the year. It’s always an exciting process whenever we introduce new products to the market.
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 am most grateful for my family. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family. My father, who was an importer himself, taught me everything he knows. I accredit my business success to him. He taught me the importance of hard work, discipline, and how to treat people.
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?
Since we operate a CBD business, we have a limited amount of marketing platforms we are able to use due to strict advertisement policies. For example, we are unable to utilize the Facebook/Instagram advertising platforms and Google AdWords. Therefore, we’ve focused our marketing efforts on SEO and influencer marketing. I believe all companies with an online presence should focus on SEO as their main form of marketing. If the SEO is done correctly, a company can drive hundreds of thousands of visitors to their website.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
3 things that excite me:
– First, the CBD industry is fairly new and it is a booming industry. I love branding and developing new products, and since this industry is so new, we’re able to continuously introduce new products to the market.
– Next, I’m excited about how many jobs are developing because of the cannabis industry. It’s always great when we’re able
— Last and most important, I’m excited our company is able to better people’s lives. There’s nothing better than hearing from our customers about how our products have helped their lives. Many of our customers are no longer taking prescription medicine, and are using our CBD products to help treat their medical conditions. It feels great to make a difference.
3 things that most concern me:
– The laws are changing every day, and I’m definitely concerned about the Federal Government deciding to crackdown on CBD products. We are benefiting millions of people’s lives, and it’d be a shame if we were unable to continue selling our products due to new federal regulations.
– It’s also concerning how individuals who use cannabis and Full Spectrum CBD products for medicinal purposes can still lose their job due to a failed drug test.
– I’m also concerned about the limited of amount of marketing platforms we are able to use. If we were able to use Facebook ads, we could increase our sales dramatically. Unfortunately, I don’t see Facebook changing their advertising policies anytime soon.
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.
– Setting Up Banking for eCommerce Store
I wish we had a contact for a reliable merchant service company that could set up our account with ease. In the bank’s eyes, our business is considered a high-risk business. As a result, It took us about 2 months to set up our payment processing. We spoke to at least 10 merchant service companies until we found one that could set us up with payment processing.
– State by State Regulations
I wish we were aware of state law packaging regulations before we went ahead and ordered our packaging for our edible products. We initially purchased ten thousand jars for our CBD edible products, however once we received the jars, we learned we were unable to use them due the jars not complying with state regulations. This was one of the most frustrating mistakes we made when we first started our company. Luckily, our attorney is one of the best in California.
– Strict Advertisement Policies
I wish we were aware of how strict the advertisement policies are for Facebook and Instagram. Our eCommerce business is just as important as our distribution and wholesale business. Initially, we were planning on using Facebook ads to help drive traffic to our website. We later found out cannabis and CBD business are unable to use Facebook/Instagram ads. As a result, we were forced to switch our marketing focus areas. We currently focus on SEO and influencer marketing to bring traffic to our website.
– Building Connections
It’s important to make connections in whatever industry you’re in, however in the CBD business, your connections mean everything. With the right connections, a CBD company can cut their costs dramatically. For example, our company purchases CBD Isolate for our products from another vendor. We have a very close relationship with the vendor, so we’re able to purchase at an amazing price point. This relationship has allowed us to cut our costs dramatically.
– High Stress
The CBD industry is a fun and exciting industry to be in, however there is still a ton of stress that comes with being in this industry. The laws are constantly changing, and we need to make sure we are abiding by them. In addition, many of our distributors have 60-day payment terms, and it becomes extremely stressful chasing them down for payments. In order to minimize stress, I have learned to practice mediation. Meditating every day for 10 minutes has not only reduced my stress, but it has allowed me to enter each day with a clear mind. I recommend all entrepreneurs practice meditation.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
My number 1 tip for CEOs is to create a positive work environment for their employees. Little things like purchasing lunch for employees 1–2 times per month can go a long way. If your employees enjoy where they work, they’ll be motivated to work hard and the company will ultimately achieve more.
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. 🙂
I’d like for people to be more uplifting. I truly feel speaking to people in a positive manner is the most effective way to get the best out of people. This is just one way we can help make the world a better place.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Instagram: @wercbd
Facebook: Facebook.com/cbdrus/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!