When RoseBud Ice Cream, a Denver-based CBD-infused frozen dessert brand, launched in late 2019, it was not under the most auspicious of circumstances. Not only was it a few months before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but founder Sam Rose was still working a day job he hated and found depressing. After undergoing what he characterized as a „stoned epiphany,” Rose, now 26, mustered up the courage to leave the corporate world behind and pursue his entrepreneurial dream full time. Despite some bumps, mostly caused by coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, his startup has thrived. An example of this growth is evidenced by Rosebud’s expansion of its product line with the introduction of its latest delectable goody, CBD cookies.
Currently available in sea salt chocolate chip flavor, with each piece containing 25 milligrams of CBD, the cookies are set to go to market on February 26; right now, they can be ordered on the company website. Next month, distribution of the crunchy treat will expand to brick and mortar channels in Colorado that include liquor stores, coffee shops, grocery establishment and gyms. And that’s not all. According to Rose, his team, which consists of a business partner and an intern from the University of Denver, are applying the final touches to deals “that would open us up for retail distribution beyond just Colorado for these cookies as well.” The ice cream line can be found at various Whole Food locations and other retailers in the state.
For Rose, the conceptualization and launch of his nascent business has been the apex of a long and lingering desire that began when he was a student at DePaul University. True to the uncertainties of life and business, hurdles appeared. “Before graduating college in 2016 I pitched an investor on starting a marijuana dispensary in Oregon for which I had spent two years developing a business plan,” he recalled. “The investor laughed me out of the meeting.”
Down but certainly not out, Rose soon took a friend’s flippant suggestion that he start a THC ice cream company in Denver seriously. “I spent the next three and a half years working in professional kitchens making ice cream, taking various door to door sales roles, and making countless batches of THC ice cream while trying to secure investors and develop a business plan,” he related.
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In May 2019, Rose encountered another roadblock after investors he had courted for nearly two years pulled out of a deal. Resilient and determined, Rose pivoted to selling CBD ice cream at his business partner’s suggestion. Fortunately, it would prove to be the right decision in the end. “After doing my homework I realized that we could reach a lot more people by selling CBD-infused ice cream rather than THC,” explained Rose, who has been bootstrapping his brainchild since borrowing money from his father to help jumpstart RoseBud.
When asked why he chose to follow up his ice cream line with cookies, Rose said the mainstream snack favorite will help widen distribution of RoseBud’s offerings to more reason. There’s also another reason: “Frankly, traditional CBD edibles are boring and don’t taste good,” he admitted. “Anyone can put CBD in something, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Making sure that the taste of our products is superior to everything else in the category has always been the most important thing for us.”
And despite the curve ball tossed his way courtesy of the pandemic, Rose expresses gratitude for his present situation as well as optimism for the future.
“The pandemic has definitely hindered some aspects of the business, like not being able to do sampling for a couple months,” said Rose. “Running a business was always going to be stressful so if this means things can only get better when we return to some degree of normal that makes me excited. Even with the pandemic I know I am incredibly lucky because I’ve never been happier in my entire life and I owe it all to RoseBud. After all the years of trying to get here, it feels amazing to finally live this dream.”