So You Want To Open A CBD Store? Read This First
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In 2015, Arianna Zadourian was looking at alternative medicines for her father who had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. "He did not want to feel high, so I started giving him CBD for inflammation and pain," she says. After her dad started seeing positive results, Zadourian became a convert to the power of cannabinoids. So much so that the former business manager in retail decided she wanted to open her own CBD store to help others.
It took a few years for her dream to be realized, but in 2018 she opened her first Pure CBD store in West Hollywood, California. Now she has three retail locations in the LA area as well as an online website with worldwide shipping. Despite the pandemic, she has kept one of her stores open as an essential business, where she sells everything from tinctures, edibles, capsules, flower, vaporizers, skincare, creams, pet supplies, and beauty products. We talked to her about what it's like to run a CBD company.
What problem does Pure CBD solve?
We serve a different demographic than dispensaries. Our customers come in for medical conditions, injuries, relaxation, and wellness. But since CBD doesn't get you high, we serve the demographic who normally don't go to dispensaries. Many elderly, people who physically can't go to dispensaries, or for whom it's not legal in their state or country, contact us for shipment and online orders. In addition, we have a regular sales tax versus a high cannabis tax.
How is it different and unique from other similar businesses?
When customers come into our store, it’s our job to identify any discomfort or issue they have and have a solution for them. That means getting the right product for them and the cost they want to pay. Our job is to educate all our customers on the different products in order for them to choose the right product. That’s constant research for us as a company. Everyone that works at the company has to believe in our cause and feel the need to help people.
We have a method in selecting our products that we call the Pure Method. Companies have to go through a certain checklist to be able to get into our store. Our customers have to be satisfied or else we’re not doing our job. We let the customers know to call us or contact us via email and social media for their results so we get the best feedback on the effectiveness of the products they purchased. A product has to be 95% effective for us to keep it on our shelves. We have a five percent margin of error for all products.
Describe the single biggest challenge you face in the industry.
Advertising is always a hassle. Most ads don't get approved on Google, Facebook or Instagram. I have to constantly come up with different ways to advertise online. It's extremely frustrating because cannabinoids help people yet they are shut down by the major social platforms.
How have you solved this challenge?
We work with other brands to cross promote, and do email marketing and traditional marketing.
What’s the best advice you can give to people wanting to break into the CBD industry?
- Be ready to be in competition with thousands of brands. It’s a very unregulated industry so there is a lot of litter everywhere.
- Find something that makes you different. Do not create the same exact product most brands have. Do not overprice the items and don’t claim to have a CBD product with the lowest amount of CBD possible, this is why we are selective with which brands and products we provide in our stores/online.
- Stay professional. Just because you’re in the cannabis industry does not mean everything is casual. It’s important to remain professional and collected, but also be personable.
- Have a valid reason as to why you’re in this besides the sole purpose of making money. I’m passionate about this industry because of my personal experience with what my father experienced.
- Be ready to have advertising setbacks. It takes a lot to advertise through main sources and almost impossible.
What exciting new trends are you seeing in CBD?
I see a lot of brands creating products that are not only CBD, but different cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and CBC. This is very exciting as we need more products with different cannabinoids in the industry.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in CBD retail in the future?
Having an interactive platform for customers, such as having a doctor who is knowledgeable about cannabinoids and can speak directly with customers. Giving people an experience and a unique tailored consultation for their needs is a great opportunity that we have already implemented in the store. Having events and testing products is a must, as well. These are the things that drive people to a store versus buying online.
What book or quote has been an inspiration to you in business and why?
The Alchemist is a great book to read in general. It taught me about almost everything. A journey is an important part of a person. You have to keep moving and evolving and your business will as well. One of the main reasons I have succeeded in business is I don't dwell on problems. I look for a solution right away and move on.