In nine short months, Alexis Rosenbaum has successfully broken into the CBD industry single-handedly. Her company Rosebud is already bringing in six figures monthly and is on track to hit over $1 million in revenue by its one-year mark. Not wanting others to have a hand in her business, the 32-year-old entrepreneur created her company without a dime from investors. As Rosenbaum approaches the end of her first year in the cannabis industry, Civilized caught up with the “one-woman show” to not only find out what she’s learned, but how she found herself involved in CBD, after spending the first three decades of her life living in the Ohio boondocks.
Alexis, tell us about how you first discovered CBD.
I actually didn’t start using cannabis until my 29th birthday. Once I started experimenting with cannabis and saw how it positively impacted my life, I wanted to find a way to use it medicinally every day. At the time, I struggled finding a way to microdose THC. The only way to alleviate my anxiety was to hit a bowl or smoke a joint, but then I was high, which sometimes became an issue when I was trying to work during the day.
Then I tried CBD, since it’s all the rage. It helped with my debilitating anxiety, which was both physical and metal. I had anxiety from a racing mind. Shortness of breath. Increased heart rate. Lack of sleep. Zero appetite. I was running a business I previously owned while sick, and was barely getting through. My stress was so bad. I desperately needed a way to self-medicate and relax in the evening. CBD worked. It dramatically changed my life, and was something I could also use during the day.
Why did you decide to switch from being a consumer to a seller?
As someone who’s very health-oriented, I struggled to find a company that was transparent about where and how they were growing, as well as what was actually in the product. Most of the stuff I found was filled with other fillers, [including] essential oils and flavoring. The CBD companies I researched also didn’t speak to what I was looking for with branding and messaging.
I had sold my previous business in October of 2017 and wanted to get into something new. Cannabis was something I had spent the majority of my life against, but then experimenting with it, and seeing how much it impacted my life positively, I thought who better to adequately communicate [the benefits of] this amazing beautiful plant than myself? Then I spent a lot of time researching, networking, and trying to find farms that I could have a direct relationship with and that I could have a call with weekly. I then took it from there.
In addition to transparency, how else does your business model differ from other CBD brands?
A lot of what’s on the market today is very scientific and very cold, which has some validity. Of course, research is very important, but I think a lot of companies in the CBD industry are not connecting their product to a real user. At Rosebud, we do.
We also really try hard to sell a service first and then a product second. So we have very thorough customer service. We’re on DMs and emails all day. If we don’t have answers – we direct people in the right direction.
What also separates Rosebud is our organic growing processes on our farms, which are unlike anything I’ve ever heard of. Our farmers really believe in restoring the land first, nurturing our plants organically, and providing what they can from the earth alone. Our farm was recently awarded the USDA Organic certification and it applies to this year. Come April, our products moving forward will be certified organic.
Could you go into all the big and little things you personally do as CEO? I don’t think everyone is aware of all the work it takes to start and run a cannabis company.
The day-to-day operation is intense and sometimes I show that on my Instagram. I have a funny video on there of me on a call, while labeling boxes and doing a number of other tasks simultaneously. I honestly like doing everything myself at the moment, because it gives me an opportunity to perfect every aspect of the business before handing off certain functions to others. But the reason I’m still here is that I truly love every minute of it. I’m passionate about the product and the opportunity to build a life for myself. I love receiving testimonials from customers saying that their tremors have been significantly reduced or that their insomnia has gone away after having tried every over-the-counter or prescription medication on the market and then finally discovering Rosebud.
And currently, you’re a one-woman-show, correct? You’re doing all this work single-handedly?
That’s right, but is it a goal of mine to have every single piece of the company on my mind and my plate? It is not. I have three words, which define my goals for 2019: scale, refine, and expand. So I want to work hard on refining our place and who we are. And we’re looking to scale and bring on some team members and then hopefully expand.
Today, everyone wants to be a CEO. Everyone raises funds and hires various teams to help, and people begin to lose control of their own company and their original sight and mission. They sell off shares in exchange for raising capital. While that model can be helpful to accelerate business, it’s never been an interest of mine.
Running my own business is an extension of who I am and what I’m truly passionate about. I feel like when we launched, things took off a lot faster than I could have ever imagined, which is why it’s a been one-woman show at this time, but it’s wearing and tearing on me for sure. So definitely looking to hire people this year.
Luckily you have Rosebud CBD to help with your anxiety. Speaking of which, tell us about some of Rosebud’s products.
Everything we make at Rosebud is clean, pure, simple, and versatile. We have three strengths of CBD at 350mg, 700mg, and 1,000mg. Each batch of hemp at each formula by bottle size is put through a third-party controlled study, where we test 32+ more units each.
Recently we launched our CBD salve at 350mg. The salve is made of certified organic ingredients in partnership with Lauren’s All Purpose Salve.
What major lessons have you learned in the past nine months?
First, I would advise people looking to break into the cannabis industry to not be as naïve as I was. While cannabis is all about friendliness, acceptance, and being open – it’s truly a peace offering at the end of the day – I went into this space thinking that everyone operated around those same values. Unfortunately, it’s an extremely greedy industry. Not every person within the industry adequately represents what cannabis stands for and that was a really hard lesson for me to learn.
Second, I learned to button up Rosebud’s interactions with a strong legal team, to create strong agreements and contracts, and, unfortunately, to not meet with anyone until they sign an NDA.
Third, I learned that it is OK to say no to people, events, and opportunities. It is really important to me that I remain in control of when, where, and how the brand of Rosebud is represented.
Anything new and exciting planned for 2019?
We have a lot of exciting plans and goals in 2019, which include brand refinement, elevating and updating our website, relaunching our subscription service, and a handful of new products that I am really excited to bring to market. You can expect more video content, more storytelling, and some really exciting Rosebud events and activations!