Reflections From Our Founders: From CBD Stigma to the New Norm - Sagely Naturals

Reflections From Our Founders: From CBD Stigma to the New Norm

by Kerrigan Behrens July 16, 2019 0 Comments


Sagely Naturals Founders Kerrigan & Kaley standing outside in front of glass windows

Since launching Sagely Naturals back in 2015, the landscape has changed dramatically from one that was dogged by stigma to one that is becoming widely accepted today. Now that CBD is moving into the realm of the new norm, we sat down with our founders, Kerrigan and Kaley, to ask them: “Where to from here?” 

Join us as they share what the journey has been like so far, which questions they’re tackling now, the key challenges they foresee the CBD space will encounter, and the questions you, the consumer, need to be asking to ensure you're buying a truly high-quality CBD product. Over to you, Kerrigan & Kaley!

1. What was the landscape around CBD when you launched your first Sagely Naturals products? 

For starters, my parents, who live in Chicago thought I was a drug dealer getting into the CBD space and there was a lot of stigma around cannabis. However, what did prevail was that people’s perception of cannabis as therapeutic was strong, despite the stigma. Our initial research and development on the competitive landscape was dire—tie-dye, stoner culture, and dispensary-focused products made up the vast majority of CBD products at the time and many of which had high amounts of THC.”—Kaley 

No one had heard of CBD in 2015 when we started Sagely Naturals! I remember telling my family that we were planning to start a CBD business and they didn’t even know it was a cannabis derivative. I had heard of CBD in 2013 when a friend told me that her doctor had recommended it for chronic pain she was experiencing and I was really intrigued. In spite of how interested I was in trying it myself, I didn’t have access to it until 2015, when I noticed that a friend had a jar of CBD honey on his kitchen counter. I think I startled him because I shouted “Can I try some of that?!”—Kerrigan

2. Was there a moment, or series of moments where you felt the cultural tide shift to the widespread acceptance of CBD? 

There has been a build over the last 2-3 years and it really started in the natural grocery category and has since shifted to mass retail. Regional natural grocery stores launched CBD in early 2017, Natural Products West launched in March 2018, and CVS and Walgreens followed suit in March 2019. All along the way, there has been momentum building to where we are currently—which is CBD becoming part of every major publication and conversation.”—Kaley 

One moment was when I noticed that we had a handful of customers who had ordered over five times—and this was in the early days. They were ordering every month like clockwork. I knew that the products must have been working for them, or else they wouldn’t have ordered so much! 

Another moment was actually years later when a friend of my parents approached me at a party and told me how much he loved our Relief & Recovery Cream. He is someone who is definitely not a natural foods eater/early health trends adopter and the fact that he was using the cream on a daily basis showed how far acceptance of this ingredient had come.”—Kerrigan 

3. Now that the public is looking past the stigma, what new challenges is Sagely Naturals tackling? 

“Increased competition and big pharma are two headwinds we will face in the coming years. Despite the dissipating stigma, banking and merchant processing is still an issue.”—Kaley

“Many companies are now adding CBD to their products because it’s trendy, rather than to provide wellness benefits. Adding CBD to products like mascara or cookies diminishes the value of the compound and so we are now having to explain to people what the difference is between hemp seed oil and CBD oil and why it matters.”—Kerrigan

4. What questions do you believe are still unanswered in the CBD community? 

“Correct” dosage—this will be a question until clinical trials can be done on humans for all types of delivery methods. There is no perfect answer at this time, people just need to start small and work towards an ideal dosage for themselves given everyone’s physiological makeup is different.”—Kaley

We continue to push the boundaries of what quality means in this space. The FDA isn’t giving us clear guidance on regulations so we’re adhering to stringent quality standards that we have set to be best practices for the industry.”—Kerrigan

5. With consumers flocking to new CBD products, what’s the #1 question they should ask themselves before purchasing anything? 

“Obtaining a finished good’s Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to ensure CBD/THC potency and that there are no harmful contaminants in the product.”—Kaley 

“Have I done my homework to ensure that this CBD is of high quality? Do I know where it was grown, whether it passed stringent testing, and have I seen the COAs to prove all of this?”—Kerrigan 

6. What do you wish for the future of CBD?

“That other brands use CBD in ways that support wellness vs incorporating CBD into recreational products which discredits the efficacy of CBD. Given its such a powerful ingredient, I would hope that we position it as having benefits for wellbeing.”—Kaley

That more people have access to its benefits and that we at Sagely Naturals are fortunate enough to provide them with that access.”—Kerrigan

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Kerrigan Behrens
Kerrigan Behrens

Kerrigan Behrens' passion for CBD and its therapeutic benefits led her to launch Sagely Naturals alongside Kaley Nichol in 2015. She is motivated by the ability to use plant-based ingredients to effectively replace toxic products in her customers' medicine cabinets and she lives for customer testimonials. She currently serves as the Cofounder and CMO of Sagely Naturals.