Brandon is ultimately responsible for developing and overseeing the long-term and short-term strategies at Bluebird, managing senior level employees, negotiating and executing deals on behalf of the company, and directing most strategic endeavors whether legislative, regulatory, forming alliances and partnerships, or conducting interviews with the media. He ensures that the company is running smoothly, is well-staffed, has proper resources being allocated, and has a strong foundation to succeed. With the aid of consultants and attorneys, he also helps to ensure that all of our operations are compliant with the various laws we’re bound by.
Can you share with us your story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always been interested in the power of plant-based medicine and had a fascination with cannabis and herbal supplements from a young age. Prior to starting Bluebird, I worked at an apothecary that sold a variety of essential oils and extracts. These products contained many of the same compounds as hemp extracts, like terpenes, and often used the same extraction methods. When I first discovered CBD around 2010, it was through my employer at the apothecary who used it for his personal health. In 2012, I started working on Bluebird at nighttime and on weekends, and eventually was able to dive fully into it with the explosion of growth caused by releasing our first hemp-derived CBD products in 2013.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In 2014, I went on a trip with my father to Lithuania to explore some business prospects and tour a few hemp farms. One day, while we were visiting a hemp farm in the middle of nowhere, our guide suddenly ran to the car, shouting over his shoulder something about a business emergency. He drove off with all of our belongings still in the car, including our wallets, phones and passports. We were basically stranded on this foreign farm for an hour and a half thinking we’d been robbed and stranded. Fortunately, he eventually came back and brushed it off as normal behavior.
On a more serious note, our company’s journey in politics has also been incredibly interesting. Bluebird started as a small, humble company and is now affecting legislature at a state and national level. I never imagined I’d find myself at this place — I had no business experience prior to this, I just jumped in and rode the roller-coaster ride that we’ve experienced.
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?
Letting that guy drive away with my passport! Also, not too long after starting the company, I learned the importance of always getting a written contract before writing a check to someone. Long story short, I began a business partnership based on a handshake with a guy I trusted and ended up losing a lot of money. I basically paid an expensive college tuition in the space of one week. Lesson learned — ALWAYS get a written contract in hand first.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
One of our biggest projects yet — trying to solidify CBD’s place as a federally approved ingredient in food, supplements, and cosmetics.
To accomplish this, we are working with the U.S. Hemp Roundtable among several other associations. This has been an ongoing issue for over four years, but it’s an important one because it will allow extremely conservative companies to enter the CBD market without fear about the regulatory landscape. Although the FDA has acknowledged CBD’s potential as a health supplement, there’s still a lot more work to do to get the final “OK.” However, this could have major historical effects; essentially, this could be what allows the hemp-CBD industry to grow into one of the largest industries in the nation.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped you get to where you are? Can you share a story?
Although I haven’t had any hand-holding or someone saving my ass along the way, I attribute much of my success to my parents for being the most excellent role models I could’ve asked for. Both of my parents are incredibly intelligent and hardworking. They have really helped me become who I am, and who I’ve become is what has allowed Bluebird to happen.
The industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think legacy companies should consider adopting?
Turns out that being radically transparent and honest with your consumers is the best marketing strategy you can invest in! Bluebird really sets itself apart in the industry with its transparency. We have an industry-leading quality control system that allows customers to view third-party lab tests for every single batch of every single product that leaves our facility. Likewise, we work hard to provide the most accessible customer service possible. We have a dedicated customer care team to help guide our customers through their CBD journey.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
The thing that most excites me about the industry right now is its potential to improve the health of millions of people. We hear stories every day about how CBD is benefiting people, and it truly is a revolutionary product. Beyond that, the political and economic impact is also incredible. As mentioned, we’ve put a lot of effort into developing legislature to help the industry grow. We’re already a legacy company in the hemp-CBD world and we only go back six years. We’ve watched the industry grow from a few companies in 2012 and 2013 to today where the industry is making headlines across every major publication from Forbes to the Boston Globe.
My three biggest concerns about the industry are untrustworthy companies, the massive learning and implementation process following the 2018 Farm Bill, and getting streamlined and sound hemp laws passed in all 50 states. As far as untrustworthy companies go, there are a lot of companies making bad products with bad business practices and questionable marketing tactics. This includes making disease-related claims about their products, which is against FDA regulations and creates a safety concern. It would be a lot easier for CBD to get FDA approval if everyone attempted to follow the rules — so if you’re reading this and you’re one of those companies, get your act together!
Likewise, following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still a great deal of uncertainty among companies and health departments about how to proceed. It’s going to take more time to get everyone on the same page. One of our top challenges this year will be getting state legislation passed to fully open up the hemp industry across the nation.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”?

  1. I almost wish someone had told me how hard it would be — but then I might not have done it.
  2. There’s a lack of tools and resources available. Everything was working against us at first, between having limited marketing avenues and constantly switching banks and credit card processors. This has continually improved over time thanks to a concentrated effort from those of us in the industry, but it’s been an uphill battle.
  3. The technicalities of building an organization and its HR structure — how to organize the people and build teams.
  4. Remember to sleep — it’s all going to be fine!
  5. Stigma takes a long time to change, but it can eventually change. Although we’ve been (and still are) fighting decades of stigma around cannabis, we are seeing the tide very quickly.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Try to provide as much context as possible behind decision making or new projects in the company, especially the “why.” Employees become so much more inspired when they feel aligned with your vision and purpose. Extra communication can really go a long way.
You are a person with 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!
Honestly, there’s no more exciting movement that I could personally be behind than the one I’m behind now. The hemp industry has the potential to positively impact billions of lives and the planet itself, and we’re only beginning to understand its scope. We hear stories every day from our customers about the good we are doing, and I can’t wait to see how far this goodness actually spreads. As Forbes noted in December of 2018, hemp “may change life as you know it.”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
We’re very social birds here! Give us a chirp anytime on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Thank you so much for joining us!