Welcome to our founder lessons series. This week, CBD Asylum founders share their success story. CBD Asylum are a UK based company that manufacture and distribute a wide range of ever-evolving CBD products. CBD Asylum is the new brand from Virtutum Ltd, who were established in 2017 by owners Liam Jones and Alex Hope, following extensive research in the growing acceptance of CBD products and the benefits they can bring in helping consumers manage their varying lifestyles.

Why and how did you start CBD Asylum?

With the impact of CBD becoming more widespread and the realisation that this element is both 100% safe, 100% natural and 100% legal, CBD Asylum set out to create a range of products, manufactured in the UK, to suit different lifestyles so the benefits of CBD could be experienced by people through many different walks of life.  We receive wonderful stories every day of how CBD has helped people’s lives in a myriad of different circumstances.

We believe if CBD becomes more accessible to a wider audience then it no longer has to remain as the worlds’ “best-kept secret”!  Our mission over the next few years is to keep innovating to ensure that CBD products and the benefits that they provide can be experienced by more and more people on a daily basis.

What have been the biggest success factors

Our focus has always been on the end customer.  What would make their life easier and help them to manage and take control of their day-to-day life?  This has led us to introduce a wide range of CBD products with different application methods (oils, e-liquids, drops and isolate), different strengths and different flavours to suit different needs, tastes and preferences. We believe it is by putting the customer at the core of the business that has helped shape a product range that is in demand and continues to grow month-on-month. We are also firm believers in moving quickly when we see an opportunity. We are a small tight-knit team and who are very adaptable and can make decisions quickly.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running CBD Asylum

Hemp has long been recognised as a natural plant with many positive attributes, without any of the psycho-active ingredients commonly found in other species of cannabis plants.

CBD (cannabidiol) is the key element which can be naturally extracted and used for health purposes with no side-effects.

The human body already has certain cannabinoids of its own (within the brain and immune system) which are positively influenced by additional CBD consumed by the body.

Even though the products are 100% natural and 100% legal, when people hear words associated to cannabis, their minds instantly flick to the shadier side off illegal drug taking.

This is a customer perception that we are having to overcome but the MHRA officially classing products containing CBD as a medicine, should help this process.

It does however raise a different challenge as it means companies who sell products containing CBD cannot make any medicinal claims about the product unless it has a medical license.  CBD Asylum, therefore, sells the products as food supplements to provide a general balance to your body’s lifestyle. It is very frustrating though as we can’t shout about the great stories that our customers relay to us on a daily basis!

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

Well, the first two – market and product go hand in hand.  It is pointless targeting the right market if you don’t have the right product.  Similarly, there is no point having the right product if you are talking to the wrong audience.  It has to be the right product for the right market. Both of these are intertwined and are equally as critical.

The right team is important for long-term sustainable success.  You can successfully get a new start-up launched and profitable with the wrong team – as long as there are some key lynchpins who can drag the business forward.

You can’t build a successful long-term project with the wrong team though.  Sometimes though you sort of need to understand and experience what the wrong people can do and impact to appreciate what the “right team” looks like.

Final words for those chasing the startup dream

Don’t waste too much time procrastinating. Take the plunge, trust your instincts, understand the market you are entering, listen to your customers and continue to learn and evolve.

We launched relatively unspectacularly in 2017, brought in some specialist advice with regards to marketing and branding and rebranded completely in 2018, and have since seen the business take off and our products are now endorsed by some of the world’s best athletes such as Alex Montagnani and Eddie Hall.

We have achieved in under 12 months what might take most start-ups 3-4 years, because we knew where we wanted to get to, plugged the skill gaps we needed to get us there, made key decisions quickly and invested in the business.