Kelly Frank and Brian Saxman are the founders of VIDYA Formulated Hemp Therapy, a company whose mission is to deliver honest, reliable, safe and effective hemp formulated products.
Before entering the hemp and cannabis space, Kelly has been in the supply chain and technology industry while Brian was into the marketing space.
In this episode, Kelly and Brian share their stories and the passion behind their mission. Two individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles but both have seen the value of the plant and the impact it has made to their families and friends. They’ll also share the secrets in running a successful hemp and cannabis business. Don’t miss out.
From a consumer, it’s really hard to tell who are the good guys who are the bad guys, learning the supply chain elements was eye opening – Kelly Frank
Some Topics We Discussed Include
[2:36] – How a supply chain and marketing experts got connected to a cannabis industry
[8:12] – Main considerations in creating their product line together
[10:53] – The ideal consumers
[14:44] – Struggles on carrying their products online
[19:09] – Helping people to get real information
[21:22] – Words of wisdom
[27:42] – Where to find them
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Kelly Frank and Brian Saxman
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys Sunday gunless coming to you from Denver, Colorado. Super excited to be here on another episode of The hemp revolution podcast where we are lifting the skirt on the cannabis and hemp industry and telling the stories of the entrepreneurs who are pushing this incredible industry forward. As you know, it is our mission here to empower you with the information that you need to make educated decisions about the products that you are using to care for yourself the people that you love the conditions you may be suffering from, but it also helps you understand what the incredible opportunities are in this space.
If you’re a person looking for products you can trust to deliver the results you’re looking for. Check us out on medical secrets calm and if you’re a budding entrepreneur or established brand who is hitting a glass ceiling or brick wall you know whatever comes first, check us out at the Emerald circle calm we are happy to help you get connected, Resources, Relationships, tools, tips, tricks, and even funding are available for you through our network.
Super excited to tell the story of Brian Saxman and Miss Kelly Frank who are founders and CEO, Kelly is actually the CEO of Vidya CBD, an amazing brand. She’s actually local here with us in Denver. And I’m super excited to allow them to share and tell their story and experience and how and why they got involved in this space. What the many trials and tribulations are being a new business in this incredible industry. And ultimately, what are the words of wisdom that we can share with you to help accelerate your success?
Put your hands together and help me welcome Miss Kelly, Frank and Brian saxman. How are you doing?
Kelly Frank: Good. Thanks. Thanks for having us.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, really excited to have you both. Why don’t you quick, Miss CEO, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are, what your background is and how you ended up in this space and then we will hear from Brian.
How a Supply Chain and a Marketing Experts Got Connected to a Cannabis Industry
Kelly Frank: All right. So I started off in supply chain and technology and, and consulting. And you know, the green rush happened and ended up jumping out and jumping into the cannabis industry I spent a lot of time and aerospace and construction and manufacturing before doing this and so totally different world but decided to give it a go because you know, What more does the cannabis industry needs but supply chain and technology. So…
Sonia Gomez: I thought you’re gonna said more than they need? But me?
Kelly Frank: Yeah, that Me too. So, yeah, so I got in and did consulting out the gate and helps with new product development and branding and whatnot and ended up learning that it’s a really shady world out there. And you know, from a consumer, it’s really hard to tell who are the good guys who are the bad guys, learning the supply chain elements was eye-opening, working with, you know, growers and manufacturers and extraction companies.
So ended up determining that, you know, we should go do this we should go start a brand and you know, bring the best of the best together in order to turn out this brand that’s really honest and true and you know, actually a pure product that’s made well. So I ended up finding Brian. So Brian owns a marketing agency and MOBS Marketing and asked him to kind of join versus to go out this to kind of bring some new product development to the industry. And so it’s been a great experience, I’d say.
Brian Saxman: Yeah, for sure. I got into it a little bit different. Yeah. Well, she, I guess I had the time and I was crazy enough to do it. Yeah.
Kelly Frank: So feels like 10 years.
Brian Saxman: Yeah. So this whole year, and I had hair before I started this. No, but I was crazy enough to take on the, you know, the role of CMO and, you know, really kind of work with Kelly and our other partner, Steve, to kind of, you know, bring a brand new look to this, the CBD world to be a little bit more approachable. You know, as Kelly said, I’m one of the partners at MOBS Marketing. My background is from big New York agency to publishing here locally in Colorado, you know, across many different industries from travel and tourism, to consumer packaged goods to aerospace and everything in between.
But I thought it was really kind of interesting, I got involved with Kelly and Steve want a personal story, my wife is battling cancer and spine cancer and we were looking for alternatives. And you know, I had a kind of a fresh set of eyes for being new to the industry just trying to navigate what and who we can trust and if it is going to be effective for her, you know, for pain and anxiety and everything in between and Kelly and I got connected and tried the product and she’s been using, you know, CBD for the past year we had some pretty good success with pain and anxiety to the fact that she was able to wean off some of her heavier drugs, specifically, morphine, which really kind of opened my eyes of, alternatives.
So, a little passion play for me, certainly. But we also wanted to give this our brand, a little bit of a different look and feel and more approachable in the marketplace that you’ll see with our name, which is a video and also with our packaging is designed and presented.
Sonia Gomez: Love that, first of all, thank you so much for sharing that vulnerability with us. And after the show, I’ll give you some resources for some folks who have had about an 80% success rate with extending, you know, quality of lifespan, but also have seen about 80% of clients with particularly central nervous system type cancers, lymphomas and you know, brain tumors and things like that. Quite literally eliminating the cancer altogether. I’m not going to say cure here, but it’s been incredible to watch and to see, you know, how this plant is moving through people’s lives and creating, you know, I mean, just miracle type transformations for families.
I myself have a story like that where I could easily be a Mexican statistic right now addicted, you know, totally just blocked from my quality of life because of an accident that I was in and it created like these seizure type syndrome in me where I was convulsing and cramping. And, you know, it was impossible for me to even get through a day of school, I gained over 100 pounds, and it took 10s of thousands of dollars and countless hours and months with medical professionals who would spend seven minutes with me in a room only to eat with a prescription, you know, and it was just awful.
So it feels really good to be advocating and educating on a plant that I can personally witness creating these types of changes and without making any claims. I’ll say that hope is necessary to see the fact that anything is possible when you’re willing to look beyond the surface. So how long have you guys been in business?
Kelly Frank: So we launched in May of this year. So we’ve been I mean, as a company, I mean to get to market is probably about a year before that.
Sonia Gomez: Oh my god, I’m so excited to talk about the two contracts. Yeah, you know, sort of viewpoints in this space, certainly from the marketing perspective, because we know many of the challenges lie and in
Kelly Frank: many, many, many.
Sonia Gomez: But Kelly, let’s talk a little bit about the product for a second since you’re involved in the supply chain and formulation piece, what were some of your key considerations when you were putting your product line together?
Main Consideration in Creating their Product line Together
Kelly Frank: So basically, what we did is I mean, from an industry that’s highly unregulated at this point, and there’s so much gray space, what we wanted to do is really self regulate. And so what we did is our manufacturers also a partner within our company, as well, and they’ve been wonderful. So they do all of the formulations and sourcing, but what we do is we extend from that we look at all the stuff to your suppliers.
From an industry that's highly unregulated at this point, and there's so much gray space, what we wanted to do is really self regulate. - Kelly Frank Click To Tweet
So we look at you know, where’s that? Where’s the hemp coming from, you know, how is it grown? Was it grown with organic practices, hemp is great at pulling contaminants out of the ground. So we want to make sure there’s nothing that was, you know, with on that space that were that hemp is ground first of all. Then we look at, we get to see always at every stage too so we get a CEO a, a certificate of authenticity, basically showing that what’s in that oil profile once we receive the oil.
Also, the same thing I mean, we have all the paperwork on all of the different ingredients that are sourced for each of these products. And at the end of the day, what makes our products work is because it’s not just about you know, throwing, you know, an isolette into some early pre-mixed, you know, lotion, it’s a more it’s really about the ingredients that we’re putting in there. Like the Arnica and aloe and peppermint. All of these things are ancient remedies that have been known to work and as far as for inflammation and pain management.
So we couple that with, you know, well-profiled hemp, hemp oil, and then we take that and we go through the manufacturing process, and we get yet another COA at the end of that. And so what we do is we have a third party certification with our strategic partner who thinks 20 labs who’s excellent. They’ve actually really raised the bar for us as far as being able to take our finished product and break it down. And this has been huge for us. So we can actually say that what is in our product is what it is in our product. So we look at, you know, a full panel to make sure there’s no microbial, there’s no heavy metals, there’s no pesticides, the potency that says, you know, 300 milligrams on the package is actually in fact, 300 milligrams, and, for instance, one of the bottles.
And so I think what we’re really trying to do is, we can source from whoever, from whoever really, because what we do is we drive through this compliance process to ensure that they’re meeting the requirements all the way through. So that’s really been I think, our key, you know, core competency, in the beginning, is really, really self-regulating ourselves and making sure that what we’re putting out in the marketplace is a safe product.
Sonia Gomez: Who would you say that your product is best suited for I know that the riches are in the niches, so who is your ideal consumer?
The Ideal Consumers
Kelly Frank: So honestly, I mean, so we went to market thinking, you know, in around 35 to 65. And we did really a, I would say like a grassroots strategy to start rolling this out. So we did the Cherry Creek Farmers Market all summer long and it was a wonderful experience for us because we what we learned was, you know, we can really get to know our customers more so than anything, it’s a long conversation from a sales process which is, it should be and so we’re not looking to convert, you know, customers from different CBD brands, we’re looking to bring new consumers to the marketplace.
So, people that are already in support of, you know, trying new things, new alternative medicines, but they just may not have enough education or knowledge in order to make that decision. So, you know, our goal is really just to provide, you know, that honest, consumer education and knowledge and then so they’re informed enough to make their own decision, but who we ended up really helping was, I would say, our largest is the boomers and so it ended up being probably like 55-65 and up because from and I don’t want to make any claims but from an inflammation and arthritis and pain management, we’ve had wonderful testimonials of what the product has done for others. And so I would say, you know, that’s probably our best target market. And then I would say that from a male-female, it’s been about half and half, which is crazy. Yeah, to be more female.
Brian Saxman: Yeah, initially, when we kind of went through it too. We were looking for, you know, kind of the head of the household, no truth be told, a 35-year-old woman that’s going to be approachable, make it look, you know, make the packaging approachable. Like they can throw in their purse, go to the pool or the gym, and it doesn’t look like they got a big, you know, pot leaf on it and like, you know, talking around corners, what is she using and all this stuff. So we tried to make it that approachable.
And then, you know, that reaches into the household and then you know, the husband or the significant other to that degree would reach for it as well and that has proven to work as well, but once we got it to market some of those that really did work, however, we are seeing if we look at our customer base, and to Kelly’s point, it is skewed a little bit older.
But again, I don’t I think that the target from the 35-40-year-old woman of the household, I think it still resonates because they do a lot of the education with not only with the kids but to, you know, to the, their significant others and, you know, they typically they’ll have their older parents and stuff like that, that are questioning that, you know, what’s in it, how do you use it, all these other things, and I think that that’s still resonating, but the purchase behavior is really skewing a little bit older for us.
Kelly Frank: And so I think that’s the market we’d love to play in mbn and we are and then the other side of it is really the fitness community and so from like yoga and fitness you know, everybody’s very athletic and Colorado. I am I don’t know that Brian is but
Sonia Gomez: Are you uttering anything or anything.
Kelly Frank: It’s done really well and like the workout regimens too. So our program pack really leans towards, you know, helping with from a performance and enhancements, you know, being able to work out longer and harder. So, you know, fitness gyms
Brian Saxman: So I’ve been told
Sonia Gomez: It’s always been told, my workout happens in the bedroom like 9:30 pm after bedtime you heard me sound like if it helps with performance.
Kelly Frank: There you go right?
Sonia Gomez: everybody. Somewhere. I’ll just do yeah,
Brian Saxman: don’t forget to stretch.
Sonia Gomez: Exactly. I want to hear more about from the marketing perspective because endlessly we have heard that there are some pretty significant challenges with marketing your products online. The market keeps getting noisier and nicer–
Struggles on Carrying their Products Online
Brian Saxman: To tell–
Sonia Gomez: Mr. New York, how are you healthy, solve this problem for your company?
Kelly Frank: So, our strategy for marketing and advertising, because is spray and pray. I’m kidding. Now, there’s there’s certainly there’s there’s some challenges, you know, obviously, with the laws, you know, federally, there’s limited opportunities for, you know, for straight advertising and so we have some, we have some challenges with that, not only from a copy perspective but from product perspective of who will take what obviously, we’re a startup so big-dollar branding is relatively not an option for us.
But more strategic plays, driving traffic, generating, you know, kind of our own database and our sphere of influence, I think is really key to our approach and that you know, enables us to have a dialogue one on one with our, with our customer base, learn from them, you know, whether it’s going to be research and development, whether it’s going to be a new product, whether it’s something that they like with our product or not, those are our best, our best avenues for us to do that social media is important for us, you know, to educate, and one of the things that you know, we’re trying to do, and in the name video actually means knowledge. We’re really trying to provide some, you know, lifestyle play, and also some knowledge to our customers.
We're really trying to provide some lifestyle play, and also knowledge to our customers. - Brian Saxman Click To Tweet
So, one of the things that we’ve learned from a sales process standpoint is really, you know, this education piece again, getting it into the folks hands and then really that sales process if you are literally talking to somebody about CBD, that sales cycles, kind of, you know, to get someone to purchase, you know, no one’s really brand loyal at this point in the CBD space, but there’s a lot of curiosity. So, it’s a lot of dialogue, a lot of questions in there from the highest level to the lowest level of does this get me high, so those are the things that we’ve kind of honed in on, but again, try to make our marketing advertising approachable for people with fitness, aspirational kind of, we kind of designed our program around subscription to use it all the time and to really use it for joint muscles but advertising in general for CBD, unless you’re going straight to print publication that’s all about CBD from an online perspective, you really have to get creative on how you’re going to get it out there.
One thing we did originally when we built the brand name out was we knew the complexity of having the words in our message CBD etc. We went with the route of formulated hemp therapy, it’s more approachable for folks will be more folks meaning more advertising avenues will allow hemp to go through as opposed to CBD or anything with cannabis, etc. So we did that strategically because we feel that that’s a little bit more approachable and also, it has a lot more context to it of what you know, formulated him therapy is so that’s really kind of the approach we took. But again, Google AdWords doesn’t exist for us yet.
I would say half has been challenging for us too because people often don’t know the difference. So we do a lot of education. We actually have a quiz on our website that goes through just you know, the typical, you know, standard questions. Is it legal? Can you fly with it? You know, what’s the difference between him and marijuana and CBD? And, you know, rolling it out with hemp, even at you know, the farmers markets we thought would be easy, and it really wasn’t we quickly noticed that like, not having CBD at all is confusing, because not only do we look completely different, we don’t have you know, a brown amber bottle.
We have completely, you know, cosmetic more so looking packaging. I think it was confusing for the consumers even being here in Colorado, which was kind of shocking. So there still is, you know, a big gap and education and knowledge for that consumer in order to make these decisions. And so I think just advertising in general is you know, play on words you think would be easy, but just I mean, people need to understand that, you know, hemp and CBD and marijuana are not the same thing. And that’s kind of the first out the gate conversation.
Helping People to Get Real Information
Brian Saxman: Yeah, and that’s all up to us as an industry right to educate, you know, the folks, you know, to purchase and approach it with, you know, words hemp and CBD. So they’re the kind of they go hand in hand, it’s just a matter of collectively as an industry, you know, making sure that the consumers know that there’s very limited difference in between those two. So, yeah, it’s a challenge. There’s no question about it, you know, creativity, packaging, setting yourself apart, and having some sort of presence out there. You know, wherever that is, at this point is really the key for us at this point.
Kelly Frank: I think though, what we’ve done that was like strategic relationship PR has been great for us. I think that’s a huge avenue just because of the limitations. You know, Facebook is starting to open up a little bit with their articles, but it still changes on a daily basis on you know, what can go up what can stay up and so it’s just, it’s a constant learning curve as far as again, the greatest in the industry being able to understand how to move forward as a company.
Brian Saxman: Yeah one things that we do maybe a little bit differently especially from a small startup we’re really trying to support some of our partners as well you know driving traffic and getting that stuff that cell and brick and mortar not just online as you know, so really trying to support those folks to come into their store use the product test the product buy the product obviously, but you know, really having a support a marketing support for those once they come on board from a wholesale or from a partnership standpoint. So it’s not just dropped a box off of our product and then see you later what do we do in-store what do we do on social media etc. So, you know, and they seem to like that as well.
Kelly Frank: Yeah, we do a training classes with their staff so that they get educated and they can sell the product because I think but sometimes people forget is, you know, even putting it in a fitness gym, they, it’s gonna sit on the shelf, because unless somebody can speak you know intelligently on what that product is. It’s gonna be hard to move it off the shelf. So we created an education program around, just the product, not our product, but education in the industry and obviously on the product as well as how to use it, what do people like about it? What differentiates us and then just trying to keep them up to date on what changes in the industry, so they’re aware of it as well.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely I love that. The final thing that I’ll ask you guys in the in our interview today is knowing that there are so many challenges and roadblocks knowing what you know, now, even if it’s just within your first year of business, what would you go back and tell yourself or somebody who is interested in getting involved in this space or maybe are just a couple miles behind you, in gaining traction, what would be wine?
Helping People to Get Real Information
Kelly Frank: So I mean, honestly all of our business partners, I mean, we came together because of one thing the plant works. And so we’ve seen success in all of our families, as far as benefiting from using it. And so I think that is kind of what is our staying power. What keeps us here is because we know the value of what it’s doing. And so we want to be able to share that with others as well. I will say this is my first out of the gate running a company, so I knew would be challenging, but I think it’s tenfold in this industry because it changes on a daily basis, which is good and bad.
I think the reason they come in and do it is because a, there’s lots of opportunities, we need lots of good companies out there supporting this cause so that regulations and everything change and this will loosen up and the people that are actually doing it right, and the right regulation, right compliance are going to be the ones that stay around. And so I think that’s the benefit is, we know that there’s a lot of goodness that’s going to come out of this.
So I just say for people coming in, you know, it’s persistent Some patients I mean, there’s so many twists and turns, but at the end of the day, like when we look back I really I think I said, you know, last year’s felt like 10 years, but we’ve accomplished a ton we really have and, I mean, just from banking and payment gateways, and you know, e-commerce platforms, there are so many things like as far as just making sure that you’re regulating yourself along the way. It’s a lot of research, a lot of legal involved, but I think–
Brian Saxman: I would add to that, too, and I think, most importantly, just the grind of trying to these little nuances that if you do run a business, you take for granted in the real world, but in the hemp world, it’s a lot more challenging. So if there would be anything I would do different and it’s not even different. I’m glad we did it. But if I would advice for somebody, align yourself with good, honest people, because at the end of the day, there’s still a lot of stuff out there that’s not on the up and up and if you can, if you get smart people like Kelly and Steve, and you know, our manufacturer and some of our other strategic partners. It works, that’s the thing.
I think if you’re in it for the right reasons of helping people get better convinced that the plant works, align yourself with good people because then that will resonate and align your ideals and your mission with those folks. And I think that will help in the long run.
Sonia Gomez: Can I agree more great pieces of advice that you guys are offering here I’ll piggyback with one key thing. Really know who you are and who you want to be in this market. Understanding how to leverage your personal strengths will help you to identify what lane you should be driving in. And if you’ve ever been on the freeway, you got the asshole on the left trying to pass on the right, it’s not going to work there. You’re going to get a traffic jam. So everybody has to know and understand what their lane is. And you have to play your passion to its absolute max capability, especially if you’re making that corporate cannabis jump.
Understanding how to leverage your personal strengths will help you to identify what lane you should be driving in. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
You have to understand how to use and lose leverage your skill sets and experience and tailor it to an ever-changing rainbow type industry. And what I mean is, one day something could be blue the next day it can be green, but they’ll hold you responsible for the time that it was red, you have to just ya know that I going to be willing to go with the flow because there’s nobody going to be around tapping on your door saying guess that we’re changing regulations tomorrow, you have to have a certain level of risk-reward ratio that you are willing to play full out and 100% with your unique skill sets. Now this applies to you if you’re looking to get a job in the industry and you want to bring your value to another company or brand who’s trying to grow and excel in their space.
If you have an existing business and you want to add CBD to that, really understanding what your lane is and bringing in the right people or partnerships to fill in those other gaps to be a part of your core team is going to be your ninja strategy for succeeding in the space. Especially if you’re running your own brand and business in the cannabis or hemp space, so my words of wisdom to you are being your most authentic, perfect self and continue to develop the necessary skill sets so that you can thrive instead of surviving in this industry.
A really fantastic book for you to take a look at is The Millionaire Master Plan. Now, The Millionaire Master Plan is the book that was written by Roger James Hamilton. He was a futuristic entrepreneur, and he talks about using your using the power of the universe, identifying what your unique skill sets and tendencies are, and putting that into a specific path. Warren Buffett is a really good example of this.
Warren Buffett built his wealth on timing and accumulating information so that he can pick the right time to make the right move. Oprah built her business off of being a connector and a people person and somebody who was advocating for education and information and hers was a relationship type business. We may have a systems person like Jeff Bezos, who just wants to figure out how to get the product to the person in the fastest, easiest, most effortless way so that there are no objections when it comes to pushing the buy button.
Everybody has their own way of looking and thinking about how business should be done. really understanding those key things about yourself will help you to leverage your skill sets to add bring the most value into the marketplace and the marketplace is going to reward you by helping you to be a part of a profitable enterprise. Those are my words of wisdom for cannabis and hemp space. Guys, where can people find you if they want to check out your products or any of your education?
Kelly Frank: So they can go to vidya-life.com and so we have an online store. We are also in shred for 15 locations and Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock. And
Brian Saxman: we also if you want to take the quiz, you can text the VIDYA to 264-600 and it’ll bounce back a short quiz. You know, very basic questions, but it’s something to share and it’s something to take a look at it.
Sonia Gomez: Awesome. And what will the quiz do you help you identify what products are going to be best?
Brian Saxman: No, it’s more of an educational piece. You know, I think we designed it for, you know, to pass along to mom and dad or whoever is curious about CBD that have questions like, for instance, can you travel with it? Does it get you high, all the other things, so it’s just a kind of a little thing for people to take a look at and pass on to people that are curious.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing. I love that. of that so much. quizzes are super engaging. So that’s a lot of fun. I really appreciate your guys’ time can’t wait to get together with you offline because we are all any semi neighbors. And yes, all of your links and social media channels will be posted inside of this blog. So for those of you guys who are tuning in to today’s episode, make sure that you check out the Vidya’s links, social media, websites, everything will be posted inside of the blog that will show you a more descriptive more description on their company and products, as well as highlights from today’s show. And some of the key points that we covered, super excited to have every single one of you as a key part of our community and make sure that you like and share content just like this.
With your help and sharing content like this, we’ve impacted over 300 million people’s lives with our content in just two years. So I’m super grateful to every single one of you guys who tuned in and who are a part of this incredible and growing community.
Remember that everything that we do is to serve you with the education and truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make empowered decisions about how you want to care for yourself, the people that you love and the conditions you may be suffering from or otherwise caring for this beautiful gift of life that you have if you’re a budding entrepreneur trying to break through the glass ceilings are pretty walls. Check us out of theemeraldcircle.com and if you are someone looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for check us out at medicalsecrets.com we are happy to help. I’m your hostess with the mostess, Sonia Gomez and this is the hemp revolution. Thanks so much guys.
Kelly Frank: Thank you.
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