2020; What a whirlwind year. We started HempX in March of 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We had no idea how many obstacles we would have to overcome because of the shut-downs and we underestimated how long the pandemic would last. We held on and here we are one year later, the grass is greener, and things are finally looking up for businesses!
Our business plan heavily counted on trade shows, craft fairs, and vending at local events to spread the word about our new CBD brand. Unfortunately, all trade shows, local fairs, and events were cancelled due to the pandemic. We went back to the drawing board and shifted our focus to growing our social media presence and e-commerce website.
Our first few months in business were spent developing, formulating, and designing products. The most important thing to us during product development was quality. We knew that in order to stand out against other CBD brands we had to produce the best of the best. Nothing went into our products that wasn’t all-natural, premium, and organic. We teamed up with an extraction lab from Maine and a marketing agency from New Hampshire and set a goal to launch our website and first batch of products by July.
Product development came with hurdles, but the biggest jump we had to clear was over our labels. The label printer we used was out of Chicago because our labels required special UV printing for our custom designs. Many of the printer’s employees were not working at the time due to the virus and lead times for our labels were repeatedly pushed for weeks. On top of that one of the label designs was printed incorrectly and it had to be reprinted. We worked quickly and pushed hard to develop custom products and a website in just four months. Let me tell you that was no easy task, but we pulled it off!
New Products + Website
In July, we launched our website and twelve products! This was a major accomplishment that wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support and hard work from the extraction lab and marketing agency we work with. Here are the first twelve products HempX was proud to announce:
- 1000mg CBD Oil Tincture – Natural
- 1000mg CBD Oil Tincture – Citrus
- 1000mg CBD Oil Tincture – Strawberry
- PM 1000mg CBD Oil Tincture – with Melatonin
- 1500mg CBD Oil Tincture – Natural
- 1500mg CBD Oil Tincture – Citrus
- 1500mg CBD Oil Tincture – Strawberry
- PET 150mg CBD Oil Tincture – Natural
- SOOTHE 500mg Roll-On Salve
- SOOTHE 900mg Roll-On Salve
- 300mg CBD Oil Vape Cartridge – Mint
- Immunity BOOST 600mg CBD Gummies – Orange
As summer continued, the word about HempX quickly spread throughout the motocross community and wider. We spent every weekend at different tracks around New England wearing HempX apparel and plastering stickers on every friend’s dirt bike who was willing to rep it for us. Shoutout to all of our rad friends who helped us by sporting HempX sweatshirts, hats, t-shirts, and graphics kits for their bikes! Through the summer, as the word about HempX Premium CBD Products continued to grow, so did our product line! By August we received the reprint of the errored label and we released three more products:
In the fall, we pushed to start advertising more online and quickly found out that the restrictions against CBD companies and advertising would make it almost impossible. CBD is not yet FDA approved, therefore many platforms still do not allow CBD advertising. We were still determined to grow our online presence, even if we couldn’t run paid advertisements yet, so we started to beef up our website with helpful blog posts, more links, and a lot more information about CBD. This helped to improve our SEO scores and Google ranking. We also added two more products to our line in October:
As our first year in business progressed through the winter months, we encountered another obstacle. Our website’s payment processor threw a curveball at us when they decided to suspend all deposits while they reviewed our account. Because CBD is not backed by the FDA, yet, banking and payment processing for businesses is very limited, highly restrictive, and comes with higher fees. The review of our payment processor account took eleven weeks… which meant all deposits were suspended for eleven weeks. During this time they required us to strip our website of all the helpful blog information about CBD and its effects that we had just spent months working on. They even requested we remove all health claims on the website (even if there are scientific studies to back them up). This was a crushing blow to our SEO and Google ranking, causing traffic to our site to plummet, but we had to do it in order to keep HempX afloat.
Our payment processor also required us to provide third-party lab results for each and every individual product to ensure we were not shipping anything that would violate the 2018 Farm Bill for legal Hemp. Thankfully we already had all of the proper testing done on our products, because we strive to be honest with our customers, which probably saved us from an additional 4 weeks of suspension time. The review ensured our legitimacy as a CBD business and weeded out others who may have been lying about the contents of their products. We completely understand why our payment processor put our business through this long review but we were disappointed by how long it took them to complete it and release our deposits, especially during a pandemic. Positively, we passed the review and can continue to receive orders and take payments!
The Future is Looking Bright
The end of our first year was hectic to say the least but we are happy to announce that things are only looking brighter for HempX as we roll into Spring. We have a new product dropping very soon, that we think our customers will be very excited about, and a few other products in the early stages of development. We are continuing to try and get paid advertisements approved and get our site health back up. We plan to open a HempX store at our Moultonborough office location around Memorial day so that customers or passers by can come in and chat about our products and buy them in person opposed to only online!
All of us at HempX would like to give a special thank you to all of our customers so far. As a small business any order we receive is special to us. We greatly appreciate those of you who have written positive reviews for our products. Stay tuned, HempX Fam, there is more to come!