Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous discusses the CBD wellness space with Kathy Ireland, Kathy Ireland Worldwide CEO, and Smoke Wallin, Vertical Wellness CEO.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Welcome back to „Yahoo Finance Live.” Supermodel turned super entrepreneur Kathy Ireland is making a bigger push into CBD. She has partnered with Vertical Wellness to launch her own line of CBD products for beauty health and wellness. Joining me now is Kathy Ireland, along with the CEO of Vertical Wellness Smoke Wallin.
Great to have you both with us. Kathy, I’m going to start with you. You are no stranger to this space. I remember, I think it was three or four years ago, you rolled out hemp rugs as part of your lifestyle brand. So why do this now with the CBD line and why do it with Vertical Wellness?
KATHY IRELAND: Well, thank you, Alexis. Great to be back with you and to be joined with the leader of Vertical Wellness, Smoke Wallin.
We began our brand back in ’93 with hemp, and that was with in the apparel line and in the home industry, so with socks and rugs. And it’s always been part of our DNA. And Alexis, there’s so many celebrity brands getting into the CBD space and it’s good for the industry to get the attention– nothing wrong with the celebrity brand, it’s wonderful. It’s just not what our brand is about.
We’ve built our brand from– it’s a grassroots foundation, and no pun intended, with CBD. Our CBD products have no THC. But it’s a product we believe in.
And in answer to your question of why, I’m a curious person and I want to– I need to understand how everything works, how we’re able to serve our customer. We began with a mission that is all about solutions. And so meeting Smoke and his team, the way in which they work, the integrity of this company that provides so many jobs here in America, supports military veterans and their families, and that the efficacy of these products is exciting to me. As someone who serves on the board of the NFLPI, the WNBA board of advocates, and many other boards working with athletes, working with people with pain, when we can get healthy relief without any of those addictive, unhealthy treatments, dependencies on pills, that is a powerful solution. And it’s exciting to be able to work with smoke to launch our brands this spring. It’s very exciting.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Well Smoke, this is a pretty ambitious rollout, because in addition to Kathy’s line of CBD products, I think you have 10 others. So what are your expectations for the industry? You’re obviously pretty bullish on it, but what are your expectations for this year?
SMOKE WALLIN: Well, it’s great to be here. And thanks for having us.
When we talked, probably at the end of 2019, it was– I would call it CBD 1.0. This is now– I believe this year is the 2.0, it’s the next generation. It’s real consumer products designed with efficacy in mind to help consumers solve their daily needs in health, wellness, lifestyle. And you know, we’ve taken the COVID year to really retool and focus on efficacy and products that really work and are functional.
And I couldn’t be more happy and proud to be partnering with Kathy and her organization. They’ve just been a pleasure to work with all last year getting these products ready to market. And they really are our flagship brand. We have a bunch of brands we were working on already, but when we met and it was a natural fit with our teams and our alignment of values, and just wanting to do well but do good along the way. And we really believe that in our DNA.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Kathy, I want to talk to you for a moment about what you’ve been seeing in your own business during this past year of COVID. So many of us getting back to wanting to be healthy, both mentally and physically. We’re putting more resources into our home. All of that sort of fits nicely with your lifestyle brand. What has business been like and what have the supply issues been like, if any, for your, supply chain issues?
KATHY IRELAND: Great questions. It’s been a time of great change. Our company is nimble. We’re able to pivot very quickly. And something that we had been working on that we launched after COVID is our Kathy Ireland Small Business Network, in an effort to help small businesses not only survive but thrive and scale. And that’s powerful.
Times of COVID, our beauty with these products, Kathy Ireland Health and Wellness, our CBD solutions, and our Halogenix, which is radiance, these are personal care. I mean, taking care of our skin, taking care of our bodies. This is important. We’re seeing a lot of need in these areas. Everybody wants to be as healthy as possible.
And we’re doing a lot more living inside, and so our brands for outdoor living, out Kathy Ireland home by Twinstar collection. People are entertaining outdoors. And Marcus Lemonis of „The Profit,” also the CEO of Camping World, we’ve partnered with Marcus and Camping World to bring Kathy Ireland recreation and adventure by Camping World.
So outdoor living. People are wanting to be healthy. And these CBD products that we’re bringing to market, they’re right in line with serving our customers and bringing them great health.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And Smoke, I want to ask you on the political front. We’ve got now new leadership in the White House. Some say the Biden administration will perhaps be a little friendlier to the cannabinoid industry. What are your expectations there?
SMOKE WALLIN: Yeah. Look, I think we’re in a bipartisan world today in terms of cannabis. I can’t say that about many other things, but in terms of the hemp product, CBD, it’s pretty bipartisan. The only probably detractors or people that are trying to slow it down are the pharma guys.
But as a as a whole, Democrats, Republicans are in favor of hemp, CBD. And I think with the new administration, you’re going to see more liberalization of cannabis overall. We’re dealing mostly with impediments based on the FDA and they’re slowing down the rollout of ingestibles, but we expect that to open up. And clearly, there’s ingestible being sold all over the market, but we’d like to have alignment with the federal government and the states so that we can fully roll out those products.
And we’re excited. The skin care products and beauty products we’re starting with Kathy is just the beginning. We’ve got a whole bunch of creative ideas together that we’re expecting to bring to market down the road too.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah. We’re excited to see them. Before we let you guys go, we’re looking for a little inspiration here. So if you would both weigh in on this, and Kathy I’m going to start with you, would you share with us the best entrepreneurial advice you’ve ever been given?
KATHY IRELAND: The best entrepreneurial advice I’ve been given, many believe it to be counterintuitive, it works for us, and that is consider others as more important than yourself. When you’re doing that, you’re being of service. You’re working because you really want to impact someone else’s life. What you do, you’re going to get great results. The money follows if you do the work well and right.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right. And Smoke, I’ll give you the last word here, best entrepreneurial advice.
SMOKE WALLIN: Well, I love Kathy’s answer and I agree completely. But I’ll add, just never give up. I mean, the reality is there’s going to be ups and downs in any business.
We’ve had a tumultuous year and a half in a lot of industries. You just had your guest, the hotel guy. And obviously there’s a lot of struggles out there. Hemp’s been no different. It’s been a difficult last year.
But it’s just about like staying focused, sticking to your values, executing, and never give up. That’s the key. If you stay in the game, you can– eventually, you’ll win.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I like it. And have a thick skin and don’t take it personal, it’s business.
Kathy Ireland, Smoke Wallin, thanks so much for being with us. And best of luck with the line of CBD products.
KATHY IRELAND: Thank you, Alexis.