Editor’s Note: In the fall of 2023, GreenBook’s IIEX Health event took place in Philadelphia, bringing both useful and inspiration content to insights and analytics professionals spanning the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical, and wellness industries. Attendees found the content so valuable that we wanted to make much of it available to all who could not attend this in-person event. Before even reading this post, know this: You can view all the sessions on-demand now!
If you aren’t in those industries … how might you apply the learning within your own? At GreenBook, we believe that IIEX is more than a conference series. It’s a mindset. These are the forums in which the most important insights innovations are revealed, demonstrated, debated, and championed. What starts at the events drive change in our world. It is in that spirit that we bring you, directly, some of the poignant content we heard at IIEX Health.
Enjoy our On-Demand Video
The behavior around CBD, its uses, and its benefits has been changing among consumers. With this change in consumer behavior, the wellness industry has had to adapt as well. Get an insider look at the changes happening in the cannabis industry from the founder and CEO of a CBD company right here in the states, Kaelyn Nicks of Jaded CBD. Click to view the video (courtesy of Civicom).
View more 2023 IIEX Health content on-demand!
Whether you were able to attend, or you were not, join us online to see what was shared by some of the biggest brands, the newest startups, and expert-level researchers across healthcare, pharma, and consumer experience. Here’s just two of the amazing sessions you’ll find on-demand:
- Greg Hewitt and James Bauler speak to the innovation process behind Fuse Oncology, a spin-out of Cone Health, after a critical examination of the lag between a patient’s diagnosis and start of treatment.
- Zach Hebert speaks to how the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to deliver the right message and how the right message can help ease the mind of vaccine hesitant parents.
Online you’ll find other fantastic sessions by speakers from Pierre Fabre Group, Novartis, Hinge Health, and more! If you want to stay on top of the trends in the healthcare industry — one of the largest spends in market research — you won’t want to miss IIEX Health On-Demand!
Not familiar with the Insight Innovation Exchange (IIEX)?
Ten years ago, GreenBook embarked on a simple idea: Could we create opportunities for market research leaders to share ideas and collaborate to define the future of insights?
If there was something new to our industry — a company, methodology, or platform — that didn’t exist 10 years ago and is now considered a “best practice” … well, you probably saw it first at an IIEX event.
What starts here will change our world!
(Transcript courtesy of TranscriptWing)
Female 1: Our next presentation is going to be a fireside chat. Susan Casserly Griffin, the principal at Griffin + Skeggs Collaborative is going to be speaking with Kaelyn Nicks, the founder and CEO of Jaded CBD about how consumer behavior towards CBD is changing the wellness equation. Welcome, ladies.
Susan Griffin: So, well, I’m super excited to be here. This is a great opportunity. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to really read through Kaelyn’s bio, this lady spent a decade at P&G managing over 20 product categories and channels representing revenue in excess of $1 billion. This is the real deal in terms of consumer product marketing in the health, beauty and wellness space. She must have started when she was 12. [Laughter] I actually co-produced a podcast called Story Conversations, and in Story Conversations we always start by saying to our guests, “So, what’s your origin story?” I guess, for us today, the origin story we’ll want to hear about really is you move from being this amazing powerhouse in consumer product marketing to founding a company in this disruptive end of the health and wellness market. How that happened?
Kaelyn Nicks: Yes, so I was living in New York City. This was several years ago and I was juggling a demanding career. At nights and on the weekends, I was also managing various side hustles and I was chronically stressed. I was burnt out. I wasn’t sleeping right. I was experiencing a lot of migraines. My gut was all out of whack. A whole sort of negative side effects and I needed help. At the time, somebody had suggested trying CBD. Immediately, as soon as she recommended it, I said, “Absolutely not. I don’t want to get high. I need to be productive. I can’t afford to be on a couch all day.” She’s like, “No, no, no, Kaelyn, try it.” I was naïve. I was uneducated about cannabis and frankly, I was jaded, hence, the company name. I tried CBD and I was blown away as to how much better I felt. I was more level-headed. I felt a bit more relaxed, and when you’re operating at such high cortisol levels and you’re going a thousand miles an hour, it just felt like this weight had been lifted off my shoulders and it just took me down a notch. When I went out to go buy CBD, it was an incredibly frustrating process. The ingredients that people were using are questionable. The tastes were frankly poor at best and it was just really hard to navigate.
So, because of that, taking a lot of my experience in consumer goods, I decided to create something that I would want to use and something that others would want to use too. As a woman-founded company, I am here to disrupt this $61 billion cannabis industry that’s primarily operated and owned by men. My mission is to really defy the stigmas and help raise the standards of educating people. At the end of the day, my job is to help educate other people that might be jaded against cannabis or CBD so that they can better manage their stress and finally get a good night’s rest.
Susan Griffin: So, help us understand when you approached founding this company, with all the knowledge you had about consumer behaviors and the importance of brands, I mean, what are the differentiators that you were trying to establish for Jaded CBD based on your experience?
Kaelyn Nicks: There’s a lot, right? Everybody has heard of CBD. There’s hundreds of brands out
there. So, people are like, “Kaelyn, why Jaded?” Few reasons, one, the fact that again, we’re women-owned. The cannabis industry is primarily owned and operated by men, so I am bringing a fresh new perspective to directly target the most underserved segment in the cannabis industry which is women. So, bringing that new perspective has been critical. The other thing is because of my experience, I’ve spent years formulating these products to make sure that they are extremely clean and extremely effective. So, we are the only CBD brand out there that can claim that we’re vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free, non-GMO, I mean, the list goes on. We’ve done the due diligence and invested the dollars behind creating the most pure product in the market hands down. I think, the third thing too is the fact we give back consumers these days want a full relation – they want a holistic relationship with the brands that they are buying. Because of that, because of the importance that we put on helping improve people’s mental health and empowering women, we give 5% of our profits back to various organizations that support that.
Susan Griffin: So, I don’t know the degree to which the audience looks at cannabis, CBD, THC, LMNOP [Laughter] I mean, for me, it’s always been incredibly confusing. So, I wonder if you could share with the audience just a little bit of CBD 101 and…
Kaelyn Nicks: Totally.
Susan Griffin: …all the stuff we should know as potential consumers of a CBD-based product?
Kaelyn Nicks: So, when it comes to the cannabis industry, the top two most common compounds that people talk about are also called cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is psychotropic. It is what gives you that elevated high feeling. Whereas CBD on the flipside, does not give you that psychotropic effect. It does not make you high. That is one of the biggest barriers and points that I’m constantly having to reeducate and communicate to people. The other way to think about it is in the US market, the government classifies cannabis in two different ways. There’s hemp and then there’s marijuana. What’s the difference? Things that are classified as hemp means that the products contain less than 0.3% THC. Anything that has greater than 0.3% THC is classified as marijuana. Why is that important? It’s because things that are classified as marijuana is what is illegal. That is what’s regulated. It’s managed on a state-by-state basis. Things that are classified as hemp is federally legal. Right now, at least 37 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, 19 states have legalized recreational marijuana, and now as of this week with the elections, we’ve added two more states, Maryland and Missouri, so now 21 states. What that means is about 75% of our country has legalized it medicinally, and about 42% has legalized it recreationally. So, huge, huge progress in the evolution of the industry.
Susan Griffin: Okay. So, consumers are used to all kinds of supplements and also medications to deal with different problems. Asking for a friend, [Laughter] what are the kinds of conditions and triggers of consumer behavior that might shift somebody from that habit of choosing those more traditional things to a CBD product like Jaded?
Kaelyn Nicks: Yes, so there’s really three big benefits bases. There’s cannabis, CBD in general can benefit people in a variety of ways, but really, the big three, one is pain, inflammation. Two is stress and anxiety. Three is around sleep, whether it’s problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
Susan Griffin: Yes. Oh, sorry. [Laughter]
Kaelyn Nicks: For Jaded specifically, we’ve intentionally focused on solving for stress and also solving for sleep. I don’t know if we’ll get into it, but product form is obviously – is a big factor when it comes to figuring out what you’re solving for.
Susan Griffin: Jaded’s product line is predominantly ingestible versus topicals?
Kaelyn Nicks: Correct. So, for example, if you are solving for rosacea on your skin, let’s say you’ve got really puffy red skin and you’re looking for CBD, you’d likely want to take something that was more topical, more of a skincare application. Whereas if it’s more internal, if it’s stress or anxiety or insomnia-related, you would want to take something more ingestible like an oil or a gummy.
Susan Griffin: Yes. We’ve seen this proliferation of products that claim to have CBD. I mean, CBD products are sold in the gas station near my home. It was crazy. But there’s a huge gap that I’ve seen in terms of quality and I wonder how you as an emerging entrepreneur kind of break through the lack of trust or talk a little bit about that quality gap.
Kaelyn Nicks: Right now, because the industry is unregulated, it is very much the wild, wild west. We call it the green rush. Cannabis is a very sexy provocative industry that a lot of people want to get in on and profit off of. As a result, you have a lot of players out there that are candidly selling snake oil and things that aren’t as effective. So, when people are going and they’re trying things like CBD and they say it’s not working, a lot of times it’s because it’s a really poor-quality product. When I was first starting the company, a little story, I was doing some research and there was actually a study done at U-Penn here in Pennsylvania where they went on Google and they purchased the first 100 CBD oils that came up on Google, right? So, very legitimate, verified companies. When the CBD arrived, they tested it to say, “Hey, how much CBD is actually in this product?” 70% of those products had less CBD in them than what they claimed on the packaging, granted this was obviously before Jaded launched a few years ago, but that to say, the quality out there is again, not consistent. That’s why it’s super important as a consumer as we’re trying to understand consumer behavior. It’s really important for consumers to educate themselves to figure out what would be the right fit for them.
Susan Griffin: Yes, it’s interesting too because the whole notion of dosing. We see milligrams, 10, 15, 20, but as consumers, we don’t have a clue as to what’s going to be right for us. But I noted that on your website, Jaded really is stepping into that gap of trying to educate consumers. I guess then, the question would be, as you build this and what I love about Jaded is you go to the website and you’re asked to put in your email address, but that’s not the way you post a question. You say, “Please join our community.” Which I find to be really interesting. What are you finding the consumers are really looking for?
Kaelyn Nicks: They are looking for a trusted resource to come to and get their questions answered. The difference with cannabis and a lot of these herbal alternatives and supplements is that it is very personal and it’s very unique to each person. So, it might work for you, might be different from what might work for you. So, what we always recommend to people in general is to start low and start slow. An additional benefit that we offer to our community is that we actually give them access to dosage specialists. So, if you go to our website, you can actually sign up for one-on-one time. I think they’re like 15 or 30-minute time slots to actually work and talk with a dosage expert so you can get immediate feedback and personalized recommendations based on your condition, your symptoms, what you’re solving for, et cetera.
Susan Griffin: So, you’re building a brand that is really more than a manufacturer, more than a direct-to-consumer retailer. You’re building a brand that feels to me like is shooting for brand authority, right? What’s the feedback that you’re getting around the importance of brand in this new emerging category?
Kaelyn Nicks: Yes, it’s funny, so before I even knew that I was going to call this company I still very much in the inner workings, grassroots effort. I surveyed over 100 people just to say, “Okay, do you try CBD? If you do, what products are you using? What brands?” Out of 100 people that use CBD, not a single one of them can recall the brand. Tell me a category where that exists? Right. Especially when you think about how many people have already heard of CBD. So, there’s a really big difference between brand awareness and category awareness. So, that is where Jaded is stepping in and trying to becoming the brand authority of CBD, especially as it relates to that upscale relatable brand.
Susan Griffin: In meeting each other before this event, one of the things that we talked about which just struck me as so powerful in terms of the expertise that you brought to this whole enterprise was you use the term intentional, that you’re building of the company and building the brand and understanding consumer behavior towards the category and how you wanted consumers to approach your brand was things were intentional. The whole notion of being a community appears to be that way. I also love the fact that you’ve been incredibly intentional around the packaging. It’s a direct-to-consumer product, it’s a website, the packaging didn’t have to be quite so elegant but you intentionally put that forward. What are you seeing in terms of the reactions from your consumers, your customers, your community members relative to that part of your approach to entrepreneurship?
Kaelyn Nicks: I mean, it’s completely different. We’ve found our niche and we are delivering something that just simply didn’t exist until Jaded. People are looking for something that is high-end, that’s elevated, that’s upscale that gets them that’s relevant. We’re not just another random CBD X brand that’s trying to sell the same products that everyone else is. We are much more of a personality, but we’re also building relationships. We’re building, to your point earlier, a community. It’s much less transactional but much more of a relationship in terms of how we’re thinking about building our brand and building the portfolio.
Susan Griffin: How many people here are stressed, can’t sleep, have pain?
Kaelyn Nicks: None of you, right? [Laughter]
Susan Griffin: Okay. How many of you have actually experimented with CBD products?
Kaelyn Nicks: All right.
Susan Griffin: Yes. We’ve got about four minutes left. I’d love to open it up to the audience to ask some questions and maybe around from a point of view of all of these folks in the audience somehow being involved with insights. Are there questions you’d like to ask Kaelyn around other aspects of insights that led to the development of Jaded? Or maybe you want to know where we can…
Kaelyn Nicks: I think they’re waiting for the happy hour.
Susan Griffin: Yes, that’s true.
Susan Griffin: Could we advance the slide? Is that possible? Do we have to do that? Could you? Oh, thank you. You get a discount for helping.
Kaelyn Nicks: Free CBD for you.
Female 3: [Crosstalk]I know that’s really a lot of pressure.
Female 4: Good afternoon. Just a quick question. I noticed that you said 5% of your profit goes towards empowering women. So, when we think about the evolution of CBD and from a social justice standpoint, is there any efforts around supporting some of the people that have been impacted negatively around CBD from a legal standpoint?
Kaelyn Nicks: Absolutely, yes. You’ve nailed it. There is been a lot of effort around – like trying to relieve some of the challenges that have been put on that community. So, we also donate monetary funds to various bailout funds, but we also actually donate product as well to organizations that enforce those efforts, but absolutely, you’re spot on.
Susan Griffin: Other questions? I’m having trouble advancing the slide which is too bad because we’ve got a QR code, all the cool kids have QR codes so we want to try to advance the slide here.
Kaelyn Nicks: Yes.
Male: I have a question I can project. In terms of trying to understand clinical trial data or things like that or efficacy, how does that work in the CBD space in terms of their regulations that pivot that? I’m somewhat curious what a lot of [Unintelligible] how you capture that information in trials and all that.
Kaelyn Nicks: It’s evolving. So, I would say if you would ask me that question two, three years ago, a lot of the research has been done has been on an international basis; Israel, is the epicenter for a lot of the cannabis research, and so that’s where a lot of our efforts and information originally came from. Now as legalization has evolved in the US and with Canada, it has become more of a resource for some of these medical research studies and to help support certain claims. Is it where we need to be? Not yet, but it’s getting there. Especially, as I’m sitting in a room with market research experts [Laughter], it’s an exciting time.
Susan Griffin: We have another question.
Female 5: So, I’m just looking up the interaction effects. So, CBD can cause some drowsiness on its own and it interacts with anti-histamines, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, et cetera. So, how do you message and how do you position that?
Kaelyn Nicks: Yes, I think with any supplement, vitamins, supplement, medication what have you there’s always going to be some sort of potential side effect. That’s why we always recommend again, starting low, starting slow. Everybody is different. Everybody needs a personalized regimen or dosage level and so, I think that’s the way that we’re communicating it to consumers.
Female 1: A question from the app, I’ll just project. What made you want to establish your company name around the current perception of CBD versus the desired perception you’d like people to have?
Kaelyn Nicks: I like to be provocative. Yes. No, I mean, Jaded, it ties to my story. I think at the end of the day too, in order to connect with the brand, they like to see the face, they like to understand the founder. They like to be able to understand the story because then it allows them to connect with them. So, as I made my own move from corporate America to startup world, I felt like that was a competitive advantage that I could use to my benefit.
Female 1: Excellent. Well, thank you, ladies. We’re at time.
Kaelyn Nicks: Thank you, everybody.
Susan Griffin: Everyone, Jaded has a booth downstairs where you can look at products, you can get that QR code and you can talk to Kaelyn in person. So, please do.
Kaelyn Nicks: Thank you, everybody