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How This Entrepreneur Turned $18,000 Into a CBD Powerhouse

PureKana CEO Cody Alt shares his top insights on scaling an in-demand brand.

Cody Alt had been in the entrepreneur game for years before he hit it big with CBD. After running successful crude oil and meal prep businesses in his 20s, Alt had already established himself as a hungry self-starter who’d stop at nothing to see his operations scale, before he turned an investment of $18,000 into millions with PureKana—one of the industry’s top-selling and consistently highest-rated CBD companies.

Courtesy of PureKana
PureKana CEO Cody Alt.

PureKana entered the hemp landscape in 2017, when competition was quickly starting to build; but in just a few months, Alt’s venture broke away from the pack—even the market’s pioneers—with its ultra-concentrated, Kentucky-harvested CBD known for making good on claims of relieving stress and anxiety.

Though Alt admits the company’s breakneck success wasn’t without missteps, the CEO insists he’d “rather move too fast and have some hiccups, than move at a turtle’s pace and be afraid of making decisions.”

No wonder he’s already onto other ventures—including Kushly, which sells edibles, vape pens and pre-rolls to marijuana dispensaries in Arizona and California. Thinking big comes naturally to Alt.

Here, he shares his top tips for building and marketing a brand from the ground up.

Customer satisfaction is your biggest asset.

Alt started PureKana with a relatively meager investment, but he credits word of mouth regarding the product’s quality—and not extra rounds of funding—for quickly scaling the brand.

“Most people think that you need a lot of money or a big investor to get going: You don’t,” Alt says. “If you come up with a superior product and people like it, you've won. Take care of those customers like they’re your last, and word of mouth will be your best friend.”

Alt adds that quality and consistency will keep consumers loyal in the face of rampant competition. “Ten years ago, you could cut corners and probably get away with it,” he says. “Today, consumers aren't stupid. They're very educated and have information and review sites at the tip of their fingers at all moments, so the minute you start cutting corners, you will lose. It’s not if; it’s when.”

PureKana's line of CBD oils and other premium products.
Image credit: PureKana

Capitalize on what you know.

A year before launching PureKana, Alt was banking valuable know-how with his company Elevate Media, which provided social media management for cannabis-related brands. By the time he was at the helm of his own CBD venture (along with co-founder Jeff Yauck), Alt was thoroughly familiar with his product’s consumer—and the type of marketing that would speak to them.

“I had a pretty good track record with logos,” Alt says, adding that he’d found that “simple, sexy and modern-looking” images were more likely to draw interest from his target customers than marijuana leaves or other typical cannabis imagery “that a lot of people think you need if you’re in this space.”

By the time he was running PureKana, Alt says, “I had a knack for marketing and building brands.”

Embrace the competition.

“Everyone and their mother is trying to start a CBD business now,” Alt laughs. But he’s fine with that. More competition means there are more “foot soldiers educating consumers on CBD. The good business people will thrive.”

Competing businesses can also serve as motivation to smart entrepreneurs about staying current and engaged, whether by introducing new products or ramping up social media giveaways and email marketing, “which is a great way to get in touch with customers and see what they like,” he says.

To flourish in this space, an entrepreneur has no choice but to stay abreast of new developments and trends, stay competitive, and to “evolve as the industry does,” Alt says.

Click here to learn more about PureKana's line of CBD and other premium products.


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