On the latest episode of Cannabis & Main, host Ricardo Baca welcomes founder of Plant and Prosper Kimberly Dillon to discuss cannabis and cosmetics. They discuss the importance of making a good first impression, hemp seed oil versus CBD oil, and the importance of skin care.
Season 2 of Cannabis & Main is brought to you by Fluent Cannabis.
Ricardo Baca: Hello, hello and welcome to Cannabis and Main, a Civilized podcast where we extract one element from today's cannabis scape and go deep. I am your host, Ricardo Baca, founder of Grasslands, a journalism minded agency and it is so great to be with you today. You can learn more about this show alongside the marijuana news and cannabis lifestyle coverage you crave from Civilized found on the world wide web at civilized.life.
Ricardo: Now, this week we're going to dive deep into cannabis and cosmetics with a guest who is a veteran of Procter and Gamble, and Clorox, and has valuable experience in the marijuana topicals and cannabis wellness space. So this is going to be a fun one, I can tell already. As we approach 2020 it's become commonplace to have cannabis infused lotions, and CBD enhanced massage oils. But, what about cannabinoid packed face serums and lip kits, exfoliants and hydration mists, collagen or Biatain? Do we need more THC in our TLC? And at what point have we gone completely overboard on the recent trend of infusing literally everything with CBD?
Ricardo: Marijuana and hemp topicals are a growing category for a reason. You know, these cannabinoids have proven anti-inflammatory properties and more. And that's one big reason we'll continue to see more of these products. But there's also more snake oil on the market than there is organically grown, domestically-sourced CBD oil. So it's definitely a buyer beware situation.
Amy Warner, founder and CEO of Cannabis Basics: Great for your feet, but also just great for any kind of muscle or joint pain. You take it, put it on your temples, your forehead. The most exciting thing for me is to actually see the day where I can not only buy my flower for my cannabinoids, but my hemp seed oil from Washington farmers.
Ricardo: So cannabis in cosmetics, let's talk about it right here on Cannabis and Main. Kimberly Dillon is founder of Plant and Prosper, and a leading strategist in the cannabis industry, and she's on a mission to tap into the wellness potential of the plant. Kimberly, thanks for joining us on Cannabis and Main.
Kimberly Dillon: I'm so excited to be here, thank you.
Ricardo: Love it, my friend. And it's so great to finally meet you.
Ricardo: I've really admired your work. You've been around, you've done some great work. And I think this industry needs more minds coming from the traditional to more traditional industries, talking about branding and marketing and building meaningful companies. And, you know, here's a belated welcome to the cannabis industry, since this is the first time we're meeting.
Kimberly: Thank you. I'll take it.
Ricardo: So cannabis and cosmetics. There's such tremendous potential to go beyond the lotion and the salve and the massage oils right? I mean, we've just barely started to tap into this concept of cannabis topicals or even cannabis ingestibles as a beauty or wellness alternative, right?
Kimberly: I agree. And I think what we see in the marketplace, I like to believe, are think about things in terms of benefits. And so the benefit that the topical market has gone after so far has been around pain. And so most topicals, no matter if they are lotions or salves, it's really going after the inflammation of muscles, for muscle recovery or someone who's suffering from arthritis or lupus, or there is some type of pain relief benefit.
Kimberly: However, inflammation means a lot of things. Inflammation can mean acne, inflammation can mean wrinkles, inflammation can lead to hair loss. And so when I think about beauty and talk about the potential of cannabis in that space, it's really more on not have a look like Beyoncé -
Ricardo: Although that would be nice too.
Kimberly: But it's really about like how do we take care of our bodies, and our skin is our largest organ. And it might not be in pain per se, but it can be inflamed. It can be inflamed because of the sun. And if you think about the science of cannabis and the ECS system, it's primarily in our skin. So why not take care of our skin and think about it from that perspective. So I think sometimes when people think about beauty or cosmetics, they think lipsticks, and the whatnot, and there's a place for that. But I also think of skincare as wellness. And that's just what I'm all about.
Ricardo: Let's start with this concept, skincare is wellness. You know, I'm a heterosexual male, I don't give skincare very much thought. My wife gives me like a face wash that I use generally twice a day, and that's about as far as it goes.
Kimberly: You're doing so good.
Ricardo: I know it's better than I was five years ago, Kimberly. But skincare isn't just about what you're putting on your skin, you were telling me it also starts with what you're putting into your body. Can you tell us more about that and introduce that concept?
Kimberly: Yeah, it works two ways. And so one of the areas I'm interested in is ingestibles, and so, it's that whole concept of beauty inside and out. And so everything happens on the inside, and by the time you see your skin, this is dead skin cells. So it all started on the inside of your body. And we're also, the same thing is true when you think about probiotics or gut health, like food means things in the body. If you eat the wrong things and become inflamed - which is why everyone's drinking kombucha now, because of the inflammation inside of their gut. And we're starting to see that if you have an unhealthy gut or biome, that means you're not sleeping well, your moods change, etc.
Kimberly: The same thing as it relates to beauty and overall well-being is that if you're not fuelling your inside correctly, then you're outside is going to reflect that. That's the same thing as why we take vitamin C or vitamin D. Many women are very familiar with taking biotin to grow their hair. Back in the day, it was biotin was in a vitamin for... pregnancy. I was in high school, like 14, taking pregnancy vitamins. Because I was like I want this healthy hair and these nails. And so, it's always been in existence, it's just never... even if we're not talking about cannabis, this idea of inner beauty is still relatively new. But lots of brands and retailers are moving towards that space, because they're trying to capture that wellness market, because they realize that not everyone is, you know, trying to be a glam goddess, and really thinking of it as it relates to wellness in general.
Ricardo: This is so interesting. So bear with me, because I don't know a lot about this, but I'm guessing, aren't there a lot of supplements and nutraceuticals that we currently take in just for the wellness of our skin and, and healthy skin... like fish oil, don't we eat fish oil capsules in part for our skin and its benefits there?
Kimberly: Yeah, because of the omega fatty acids. And what's interesting that you mentioned about fish oil is that while there's a lot of snake oil in the CBD market, a lot of products in the market right now in the CBD space from topical and whatnot have hemp seed oil, and I see hemp seed oil akin to fish oil. Yes, there are properties that are beneficial to you, but there's no CBD in it. So hemp seed does not mean that they're CBD. CBD primarily comes from the flowers of the hemp plant, and it's not found in the seed. And so basically what you're swallowing if you're buying hemp seed products is literally the same thing as swallowing or slathering yourself with olive oil or like a fish oil. So you're getting the fatty moisturizing benefits, but you're not really getting any of the benefits from the CBD. Which is cool if you want to pay $100 for olive oil. Do that.
Ricardo: Which maybe the right kind of extra virgin from the right Italian olive farm... But no, that's a really good point. And I think a lot of the consumers and listeners who listen to the show are of an elevated mindset. But I think others still need that education that when you're buying something that says hemp seed oil, oftentimes that doesn't contain CBD. And that complicates things because of course, because current FDA and USDA regs., a lot of CBD companies are saying "Oh this is a hemp product.", even if it does have CBD, because they're trying to skirt that regulation in the hemp-derived CBD market. Don't you think that creates kind of a interesting element of confusion?
Kimberly: And it also just sucks for the good guys in the space in a sense that, what if people are trying these products, and they're spending their good money on these products, and then they're saying it's not efficient or didn't work for me, etc. And then they never come back to the category. Not only does that just suck for a new industry, but they are missing out on the magical properties of this plant, and it could have really healed them. But because they're swallowing basically fish oil or putting fish oil on their bodies, they're not actually really getting a good, decent product.
Kimberly: And that's the problem we're in right now. Because we're in this green rush where like everyone can make money. And it's not even just hemp seed oil, that'd be easy, then you'd educate consumers "Hey, don't buy hemp seed oil if you're looking for CBD." But these products are also called, to your point, hemp extracts. That doesn't necessarily mean there's CBD in it, or, I've seen brands called it cannabis sativa oil, which sounds super sexy, and you get the cannabis vibe, but still seed oil. So, it just sucks because people don't get the real potential of what CBD can do. If we don't have consumers believing in us, will this time period close on us and we won't have this chance to do it again.
Kimberly: So that's my greatest concern, is that people just like when there's CBD in the Carl's Jr. burger, people are going to write it off, and it's gonna be like a nothing.
Ricardo: What was that five milligrams of CBD in a hamburger?
Kimberly: Yeah and it's just like, the hamburger enough is awesome, I love Carl's Jr., I don't need to chill while eating a bacon western cheeseburger. It doesn't even make sense.
Ricardo: Kimberly, you will only have one chance to make a first impression, somebody once said that, and it's true. You're right. Like, if somebody has a bad, negative and ineffective experience, it can really turn them off for the rest of their lives. And that's what we're trying to avoid, especially with a lot of the responsible marketing my agency is doing and that you've done in your career.
Ricardo: Hold that thought, we're going to take a very quick break. But in the meantime, hit that subscribe button. And if you'd be so kind to leave us a review, we'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
Derek Riedle: Hi, it's Derek Riedle, the publisher of Civilized. I'm here to remind you that the reason Ricardo is in your ears is because of our friends at Fluent Cannabis Care. We love these guys, they're based in sunny South Florida, they have ten locations with many more on the way. They're also available in Puerto Rico, in Pennsylvania, and in Texas. Fluent is serving thousands of customers every month, and what sets them apart is a commitment to science and facts from seed to sale. They have in house experts working on every step of the production process. They have a wide range of flower, pre rolls, and CO2 extracted full products. And they've all be praised by customers and experts alike. So learn more about Fluent Cannabis Care at getfluent.com. Fluent, we speak cannabis.
Ricardo: Hey, thanks Derek, remember to follow us on Instagram. I'm @bruvs, and Civilized, @civilized.life. Now, back to the program.
Ricardo: You recently left your job of the last couple of years and tell us about the company that you were with, and your role there, what you did. I think that's important to kind of set the stage for what else we're about to talk about.
Kimberly: Yeah, I loved it. So I started with company called Papa & Barkley. So it's the number one topical and tincture brand in the state of California, and doing incredibly well across all categories. When I started, it was literally in the founder's house, Adam. And I had actually just left working for Justin Bieber, a startup there. Where I learned that being a celebrity and having a ton of money does not mean that your startup will be successful. Because no matter what we did, we could not get downloads.
Kimberly: And so then I came into cannabis, I just really, it was new for me because I actually never really smoked in my life. My mother was the one who suggested that I explore it for my sleep issues. Very progressive mother.
Ricardo: Thanks, Mom.
Kimberly: Yes. And I just thought the whole experience was really sketchy and wasn't appealing to me. And so I really loved the guys over at Papa & Barkley. And I was like, "hey, guys, I have this vision of this being a wellness product and lifestyle branding, and taking everything I learned from Clorox and P&G and taking those principles and applying it to the cannabis space", and it was a great ride. They really gave me free rein and really trusted in me. And so we just had a really strong ground game, where we were education first.
Ricardo: That's important.
Kimberly: And everyone on the marketing team, like we went to the farms. You know, we... some of us trimmed, some of us were cleaning, all of us had to really know the science. You talk to anyone at P&B, they're going to be able to talk to you about the science of the plant. They'll know about terpenes, we really made that our brand, and our company ethos was around education first. We really understood what personas we were going after, and just took a traditional marketing approach and sort of applied it to the cannabis space. And so really grew that business from a crock pot business to the number one in the state of California. Amazing. And I have a lot of love for that brand that will always be part of that Papa & Barkley family.
Kimberly: I just saw a lot of opportunities in this space as it related to new categories like beauty, I'm the type of one that I chase joy and ideas and the future.
Ricardo: Love it.
Kimberly: And so I focused on, you know, this brand for a little over two and a half years, and I just had this inclination for something new. And I'm not the one, which is crazy, because we just moved into these gorgeous new offices, and I had the best one in the building. Like, I mean, it was sickening. It was the corner office, there was a garden, it was... And then I was like, "Hey guys, I'm leaving." But that's just because I'm a curious person, and I go where my curiosity was. And I've just been really curious for a beauty perspective in lots of ways and talking to women, and not just women, because women aren't the only ones who are into beauty, but simplistically, from a wellness perspective and just thinking, "Are there applications that can smell good, and taste good, and feel good? Because I feel like this first wave of products was like, "Wow, we got the weed in it."
Ricardo: Yeah, that's a big step. It's homogeneous.
Kimberly: And so I feel like this first wave is okay, the products are green, they taste like grass, etc. and that's great. And there's some subsection of the population that's going to love that. But I think for mainstreaming, and for real scale, people are going to be comparing it to what they you know, have in their general life. And there's a balance there of like, it should smell good and taste good and all those things, but it should also work. So not trying to go to the other side of like, "Here's one drop of CBD in a rose smelling lotion. Good luck", that's not going to do anything for you. So really taking that charge of how do you create beautiful products, but also efficacious products.
Ricardo: They need to work.
Kimberly: Before anything. Otherwise beauty is just hope in a jar, which you can get away with quite honestly. Beauty is a recession-proof industry. So it's actually pretty sexy, because women will buy more when the economy goes down. So that's a crazy sort of dynamic. But I don't want to do hope in a jar business. I think what people want is authenticity and transparency in their products in the same way that you want to know about organic foods and this farm to table movement, I think that's coming into cannabis as well. It should be part of the ethos of really knowing where your product... where your CBD is coming from, or where your THC is coming from. Making sure it's tested, not just tested like "Oh look, I tested the CBD or the THC.", like why don't you test the whole finished good? Because maybe something else in that product is not up to snuff. Which is one of the experiences that we learned at P&B, sometimes it was the other ingredients, like the beeswax or the lavender or something that wasn't to par, because the cannabis regulations were stricter than the general market.
Ricardo: It's so true. I mean, even if you're not ingesting something it still needs to be tested for residual solvents and pesticides and heavy metals and contaminants and, it's not only the cannabis, it is absolutely the other ingredients. That's such an important part of this.
Ricardo: P&G, Clorox, Papa & Barkley, this new beauty obsession of yours, cannabis beauty... Is this manifesting itself into a brand and a company? Are you talking about that yet?
Kimberly: Yeah, yeah, so I'm working on a couple of different products. I am being sort of selfish about it in the sense that I want these products to work. So we are doing lots of consumer testing. That's something that's really important to me.
Ricardo: Exciting, R&D is fun.
Kimberly: Yeah, and really making sure that it's impactful, because I don't want to put anything out there that is a "me too". And I also think when you go to shelf it's confusing when there's 100 tincture brands in the same bottle. And now you're just competing on like, "This one's 1000 milligrams, this one's 2500 mil-", it's very... it's like the cereal aisle at the grocery store. It's like "Well which one do I buy?".
Kimberly: And so I want to make sure that there's product differentiation, and that it's education-led. So that's the phase I'm in. But I am working on products that are both ingestible and topical as it relates to beauty. But functional beauty. Again, it's not lipsticks, it's not color, it really is thinking about skin is health, and making sure that you have proper skincare. And it was funny because you said "Oh I just wash my face and that's it.", but there's other types of examples of skincare, i.e. sunburns. So sunburns is a real big issue when it comes to inflammation and that redness.
Ricardo: Of course.
Kimberly: And actually CBD is really beneficial for sunburns and for mosquito bites, because it's the inflammation of the skin. So it might not be like sexy, like "I'm using a face mask." But we all... I hope you use sunscreen.
Ricardo: I do. I learned that lesson the hard way when I was young.
Kimberly: So you do take care of your skin in some instances.
Ricardo: It's true. Yeah, you know, I just need to be better about it.
Kimberly: I just think that all men should get like a pedicure, maybe once a year.
Ricardo: I actually do. And I get the color.
Kimberly: Oh, love it.
Ricardo: And I always get something ostentatious.
Kimberly: Oh I love that.
Kimberly: I think that men are going to be taking, like, that's actually one of the growing segments in general beauty is around men care. And so some of the top products that I saw at the Natural Products Expo specifically around bald men, and like all the products for their heads-
Ricardo: Absolutely meaningful.
Kimberly: And moisturizing their scalps. And so, I'm actually kind of excited to see products for men, and for like beard oils, and men taking care- I'm kind of into that.
Ricardo: I'm excited that like, it feels good to practice self care. I'm a 42 year old man, I'm okay with that. I do want the occasional bath with a bath bomb. Hell yes. And the more I do take the time to reward myself and to take care of myself, the better I feel inevitably. But I think too often I'm just giving myself, you know, five, ten minutes in the bathroom to get ready for work. And then that's all I have. And you're off for a 10-12 hour day.
Kimberly: I do think that men should embrace more self-care rituals. And I think that masculinity is sort of like changing, which I think is exciting. Because when men are stressed, man, we're all stressed. Right? Like it just trickles down in the worst ways. So I want men to take care of themselves and to feel balanced and to like feel good. Whatever that looks like.
Ricardo: Yeah. Kimberley, you were with P&G, then you're with P&B, which I didn't put that together until just now.
Kimberly: I know...
Ricardo: But you went from mainstream consumer packaged goods to cannabis. And now you're in this industry with both feet firmly planted. You know, P&G, I'm on their website right now. It's like Oil of Olay and Ivory and Crest and just these huge, huge brands, but also lots of chemicals. And I'm just wondering, what have you learned in this transition from mainstream consumer packaged goods to plant-based consumer packaged goods?
Kimberly: I am sure that there's going to be CBD in Oil of Olay and Burt's Bees and all these products, because it's just going to be an ingredient, and it's going to be with those chemicals, etc. What I'm hopeful for, and what cannabis can lead the way for other industries too, is that just have more authentic and transparent products that are good for us. Like the idea of adding CBD to something that's full of chemicals just seems so counterintuitive. But will it make a crap ton of money? Yes, we know it will. But like, that's what I love about the cannabis industry is that, or at least what I would call this first wave, and that's what I hope stays, in my short time here, because even though like three years seems like a long time, it is not nearly as long as people have really... the activists and the people who really paid and built this industry.
Kimberly: So I have to pay homage like I've only taken a short stint in this experience, but what I've loved about this community is around people care and like the farmers are like, showing you off the soil and how they grow. It's so passionate and so true all the way through, and so I want as like big cannabis and big money comes in, I hope it doesn't become just some isolated compound that happens in labs and, and turns into CBD companies of like "Here's 1000 things.", and it still has the passion and that soul and that energy. Because I hope that capitalism can have purposeful brands, I'm hopeful for that. Because like even these... their earnings aren't doing that well, craft isn't doing that. Well, people, you know, people want real products, and they want things that are impactful in their lives. And I'm hopeful that companies in this industry can stay true to the plants as we develop all these products, and it doesn't become some like pharma ingredient, etc.
Ricardo: And I'm hopeful for that too. But what's the likelihood of that actually happening 10 years down the line from now?
Kimberly: I don't think it's big, but more than anything, I feel like people are pissed. I do think that we are kind of like... I feel like we're gonna know if we're on the precipice of a revolution or not. And I think it's not even just on a political side. I think we're seeing in gender dynamics, I think it is about a return to plants, and I think you can't take millennials love of plants, separate it from our politics, separate it from why people love the impossible burger. And, you know, and why... like all of this is interconnected. And I feel like we're all incredibly stressed out. And we're very concerned about our future. And I think we have a choice to redefine that. Will that happen? I don't know. But I think that, at least the option for change is on a lot of people's minds.
Ricardo: Kimberly Dillon, thank you so much for joining us on Cannabis and Main today.
Kimberly: Awesome, thank you so much for having me. It's been a blast.
Ricardo: And to all of our listeners, you know it, we'll be back with you next week. So have a good one and we'll see you then.
Speaker 1: Thank you for listening to Cannabis and Main. Please rate, review and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts and your app of choice. For transcripts, show notes and more of the cannabis lifestyle coverage you crave go to civilized.life.
Speaker 1: That like the voice you heard at the beginning of the podcast was Amy Warner, founder and CEO of Cannabis Basics, Seattle's own since 1995.
Speaker 1: This episode was edited and produced by Jeremiah Tittle of Native Creative Podcasts. Executive producers are Derek Riedle and Katie Labrie. Your host is Ricardo Baca.