Podcast The Hemp Revolution

How to Be Successful in the Franchising Cannabis Market? Interview with Jeff Tacy and Brandon Bobart

Jeff Tacy is the CEO of Franny’s Farmacy whilst Brandon Bobart is their Director of Franchising. Jeff is actively involved in developing and maintaining their Hemp and CBD business unit. They have built a product line of more than 30 exceptional items, opened 6 CBD clinics, a production plant, a distribution center, an eCommerce platform, and launched one of the first OPOs (Online Public Product Offerings) sold out in 7 days, with another on the way to Franny ‘s Manufacturing.

Franny’s Farmacy is a vertically integrated business family that involves companies in a farm, growers network, production, distribution, franchising, and dispensary. They are North Carolina’s first female-owned hemp farm in over 75 years, attracting national attention & press. 

In this segment, Jeff and Brandon share their incredible experiences, trials, and outstanding skillsets to succeed in the franchising world of cannabis. 


We just keep pushing forward because we’re very persistent and adamant about cannabis continuing to get into people’s lives and take over a bigger market share of the pharmaceutical industry, and we see that happen every day. – Jeff Tacy


Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

 

Some Topics We Discussed Include

3:16 – Humble beginnings of Franny’s Farmacy
7:05 – Grassroots factor in deciding to enter the canna market
9:44 –  Inevitable trials they’ve encountered
15:52 – Maintaining quality and consistent culture
24:43 – Must-have skill sets to add value in the cannabis industry
31:46 – Building goals and social efficacy
40:26 – Hemp derivative baby products
48:30 – Words of Wisdom
55:21 – Connect with Franny’s Farmacy

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with Jeff Tracy

Connect with Sonia Gomez

Transcript

Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys, Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado. Super excited to be here on another rock your socks episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast, and if you’re not sick of me yet, you’re never going to be, because I’m telling you what this is going to be another amazing show. 

As you know it is our mission to empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated informed decisions about how you want to participate in the industry, how and where you select your products from and more importantly, how you approach your own health care, the well being of your family members and loved ones or otherwise caring for this beautiful gift of life that we all get to enjoy here. 

If you are a person looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for. Check us out at medicalsecrets.com for our favorite pics. And if you are a budding entrepreneur, or established business owner trying to break through the glass ceilings and brick walls that you have been in this industry has in store for you have no fear. We are here to help. Check us out at theemeraldcircle.com for some tips, tricks, resources, and relationships that you can use to succeed quickly in this space. 

We are excited to invite yet another set of incredible entrepreneurs who are creating massive change through their fully vertically integrated company, Franny’s Farmacy, that is a tongue twister. Franny’s Farmacy is a vertically integrated family of businesses. That includes a farm growers network, manufacturing, distribution, franchising, and dispensary businesses. They are the first female-owned hemp farm in North Carolina in over 75 years, drawing national recognition and pressed smart move guys. 

Franny’s Farmacy businesses are based on years of experience and knowledge, providing value and CBD products that you can trust delivered by their very successful e-commerce and franchise dispensary model. Hear a little bit more about the change that they are creating and the success stories that they are celebrating. Please put your hands together and help me welcome my good friends, Jeff and Brandon, what’s going on guys?

Jeff Tacy: Welcome. We’re super excited to be here. You know, when you do an intro that’s not good. It’s pretty hard to follow up.

Sonia Gomez: But when you’re that good looking though, guapo I’ll tell you what, they’ll just be distracted by all the rest of it.

Jeff Tacy: Like your style. That’s a good way flattery will go a long way.

Humble Beginnings of Franny’s Farmacy

Sonia Gomez: I got it on deck. I got it on deck. Hey, guys, why don’t you quick and dirty. Tell us a little bit about who you are, what your background is, what roles you’re playing in the company, and how the hell did you end up in the canna boom.

Jeff Tacy: All right, this is awesome. I love it. One of my favorite subjects to talk about, but I’m Jeff Tacy. I’m CEO for everything Franny’s and I am the basically person behind the operations for everything that we’re doing in our vertically integrated businesses. And we’ve been very blessed that we got in really early, and we were able to go out and get a pretty good market share and every day, every week, every month, we just continue to grow our business and expand out from local to regional to national. Sitting beside me here is Brandon Bobart, he is our Director of Franchising. 

Brandon Bobart: What’s up guys, how are you doing? Thank you for having us today. I’m super excited. Yeah, so I’m the Director of Franchising. Jeff and I have worked side by side for going on a year now. We, along with our team developed a package to take our dispensary concept and make it a turnkey model for your local businessmen and towns and local communities. So we worked with the company Franchise Marketing Systems this summer, and we put together an FTD and we’ve been out since August of this year selling franchises. We’ve now sold seven franchises in five states, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. 

We along the way have really been able to impact a couple of things were two of our big missions of Franny’s are supporting local farmers and putting more females in charge. So the more franchises we open the more stores we can supply with products and then, in turn, put more females in charge and support more farmers.

Sonia Gomez: Oh, I gotta tell you Franny is a hot bag of babe. All right, and hippie in high heels. I call myself the stiletto stoner. So is she my soul sister or not? I gotta be honest.

Brandon Bobart: She’s like, we like that could be the case. So I have a funny story for you how we got started in this industry. Okay. 

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I’m in. 

Jeff Tacy: So, in 2018, we were into our second season of growing and we prep the field. And just for the record, I’m the husband half of the farm too. So Franny is my wife. But, you know, we had primitive clones. So we’ve got, you know, a couple of thousand clones in the ground, and they were about six inches tall. And I looked at my wife and I said, All right, honey, we’re $30,000 into this grow. We got six-inch tall plants, how do we make our money back? And she looked at me and said, I don’t know I want to grow cannabis. And I said, Okay, cool. I’m gonna go out and see if I can figure this out. And you know, one thing led to another and we launched the first dispensary. 

And after that we opened another dispensary and distribution business, manufacturing business, Brandon came on board and we launched the franchise company. And we’re just off and running. And then right now the outlook is very positive and great. We’re super excited to be where we are as a brand in this industry.

Sonia Gomez: You should be you’re such an incredible thing. You guys did such a great job with branding. I’m checking out your products right now. I think you have such a great diverse set of products, which I’m really excited about. I think a lot of the questions that we get asked from our consumer following is what brands should we be buying from and why and this is a lot of the motivation why we started The Hemp Revolution because gone are the days where I feel like people are buying products. They’re much more interested in the people behind the products and the projects. They want to be able to know that what they’re supporting what their money is going towards. 

Gone are the days where I feel like people are buying products. They're more interested in the people behind the products and the projects. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet

Grassroots Factor in Deciding to Enter the Canna Market

I’ve been following you guys for a bit. I’m super aware of all of the canna boss babes that are out there, so Franny falls in line and a good job riding on the coattails my husband has a similar I’m out in the front a lot, and he’s in the background making all the magic happen. So we don’t take you for granted either. I’m sure that your role could not be replaced. Talk to me a little bit about to get to where you guys are at it sounds sexy, it feels super sexy. And I think that there’s a reputation within the industry right now that seems like even though the industry is quote-unquote cash-rich, people assume that it’s easy money and the trials and tribulations that you hear when you sit down and have a conversation with an entrepreneur who’s pioneered the pathways, certainly in your neck of the woods. 

It is not easy money. There are many many different roadblocks and challenges that you have to overcome to get to where you guys are at right now. Why don’t you quick, tell me the story not or not quick, but tell me the story from you shared a little bit about the concept of it. But first of all, what made you guys decide to jump into the cannabis or hemp industry? First place number one, and number two, could you have ever anticipated the challenges that you would face as a new entrepreneur in this new industry?

Jeff Tacy: Good questions and great segway. We originally got interested in cannabis because we were looking for different ways to help the farmers in our local community here in Western North Carolina. You know, North Carolina was notoriously a big tobacco state. And now that tobacco is almost nearly gone away in this state. We really wanted to see if there was a way that we could figure out a new cash crop, a new opportunity for farmers to get back to farming and make a living. So at the end of the day, that was the foundation of this pursuit. 

What we realized as we were getting into it is that how we could best support these farmers is by building this vertically integrated system of businesses where we go ahead and build a big supply or not supply, I mean, a big sales arm, it’s going to require a larger supply, which trickles down to the farmers because as we grow in sales and distribution, we need more plant material, which means that, you know, we’re adding farms to our system of growers. 

So that’s really where we came from grassroots, and that was our intention. And every year that we get bigger and bigger, we’re adding more farms to our grow permit, which is pretty awesome. And then, you know, be going well– 

Inevitable Trials They’ve Encountered

Brandon Bobart: I just gotta say, you know, you’re talking about tribulations and just trials like things that kind of make it a more difficult proposal than just starting any old business, right? You got to look at basic things like credit card processing, for example, you can’t just go out there right now, and find a credit card processor based in the United States who’s willing to do work with you. And it goes for, you know, insurance, for example, it took us maybe, I don’t know, six to twelve months to figure out which insurance policies are worthwhile, you know, you go out and you work with people, you give them a caste deposit, money gets taken, we worked with PayPal to do some banking and, you know, large amounts of caskets to get taken. 

Just general things that other businesses don’t have issues with, you know, our VP of Sales comes from a traditional business background and, you know, he’s blown away by just kind of the lack of professionalism in this industry. You know, the difficulty in finding quality marketing, you can’t go and advertise with your AdWords and traditional social media channels and things like that. So, you know, plug and play strategies and other industries are not applicable here. So not only do you have, you know, a very competitive market, but then you also have a very just broad set of challenges that are present in other businesses.

Jeff Tacy: Yeah, unlike other industries, you know, we can’t go out and do Google ads, and we can’t go out and do Facebook ads. And you have to get, like really creative in how you’re going to use your marketing dollars because a lot of the traditional methods just flat out aren’t available to us. So, we’ve been through six credit card processors in the past two years, we’ve, you know, been through different banks. 

And it’s very interesting because banks and credit card processors tend to have thin skin and get scared really easily, you know. Which is interesting to me, because we’re pioneering in an industry that’s been in prohibition for 76 years, you know, we’re on the forefront of this. And we’ve had threats from the FDA, USDA, the NCDA, the SCDA, they’re all putting out these opinions and all these intimidation tactics to try to slow us down and back us up and get us on our heels. And we just keep pushing forward because we’re very persistent and adamant about cannabis continuing to get into people’s lives and take over a bigger market share of the pharmaceutical industry and we’re seeing that happen every day. It’s super exciting. 

Brandon Bobart: And you want to talk about fortuitous timing. I mean, not only is that happening right in front of us but literally, the research is unfolding right in front of us. I mean, any other point in history, I don’t know if the science would have been there to support the movement to on a medicinal therapeutic level, but right now, it’s right in front of us. I mean, it’s happening every day.

Sonia Gomez: I know that’s probably, I just got chills everywhere when you just said that because there, you know, at all, I know 101 people right now off the top of my head that I could list. People who have fought the blood, the sweat, the tears, West Coast, East Coast, the victims of the war on drugs, all of these different things and for these same generational decades, we have seen the propaganda around cannabis and hemp and the efficacy of its derivatives get pushed further and further into the line of the danger zone. 

And I think right now there’s just this perfect storm that allows the timing to re-educate, re-inform and empower independently the people who are, you know, there’s there had to be this breaking point where the opioid addiction was so severe in the different parts of the country that perhaps are not so affluent–

Brandon Bobart: Yeah I’m from Kentucky, so I’ve seen it hit really hard and–

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, exactly. And so I think it had to be just bad enough that middle–

Brandon Bobart: [inaudible] school before this, and they trained us on how to use Narcan at a school in case someone came into the school. I mean, that’s what level we were at as a society where the opioid addiction really took hold.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. And it was no different for me even in San Diego, where I finished high school and people had to start learning, you know, what overdoses look like and how to add and how you could deal with the emergency situation. So it’s so bad it crossed ethnic and financial barriers into all of the communities. And I think that it got just loud enough that people started to actively seek out natural solutions and when cannabis presented itself or hemp CBD or create them or any of these other plant-based medicines that are coming online right now presented itself as a viable solution. It was only natural for Israel to release the 50 years of research that they had. No, I’m just kidding.

Jeff Tacy: Even our FDA here at home, you know, won’t recognize any of that, you know, a half-century of research but there’s some pretty powerful and nefarious money behind I think the FDA is motivation–

Brandon Bobart: The billionaires [inaudible] that we’re literally talking about right here are the ones paying the politicians now to make all the noise and keep things status quo.

Sonia Gomez: Well off the record, which I’m on the record right now, but I’m going to just say it anyways [inaudible]

Jeff Tacy: [inaudible] Las Vegas conversations with old Bossman–

Sonia Gomez: Exactly 80% of the funding going to the FTC and the FDA and the share coming from Big Pharma, so they’re 80% farm, you know, funded by them. So, you know, I take everything at face value a grain of salt, it’s like a cheating boyfriend who continuously lies to you and you’re still just forced to listen to him. Same situation. So–

Jeff Tacy: The reason why we keep the farm, FARM back in pharmacy, so we’re trying to change that narrative. 

Sonia Gomez: You know, I think the thing you guys are doing is so great. And I love your commitment to the farmer and the birth of this business is really about helping to restore the economy that this country was built on, which is on the backs of the farmers and that really allows you guys to control the supply chain from start to finish. 

Maintaining Quality and Consistent Culture

Talk to me about the culture that you guys are cultivating as a company, and how that translates because one of the biggest challenges I’ve recognized with franchise models is the fact that the company culture as a whole doesn’t translate from location to location. It can get out of hand very, very quickly. And I recognize in my research that you guys have been in a great job at maintaining both quality and consistency and client and customer experience. How did you guys cultivate that culture, and how do you maintain it as you continue to grow and expand?

Brandon Bobart: Yeah, so I mean, you know, it’s all about leadership, and we have great leadership and Jeff and Franny and they have enabled their employees to build systems that make it successful. So you know, we really were able to use the farm as an asset. We have Airbnb is on our farm and you can check us out. We have a website, frannysfarm.com and I think we have 14 occupancies or 16 occupancy out there and multiple units. 

Anyway, so the employees come up there and they put their hands in the dirt they embrace the culture they spend a lot of time in our dispensary is they spend time in our distribution center. They spend time in our manufacturing center, you know, they see the process, they are really and you know, I don’t want to use indoctrinated but just kind of see from start to finish, you know what we’re about. And yeah, it’s a snapshot and but you know, we do a lot of site visits too. So we’re always going through old checking pulses with the franchisees and providing feedback and, you know, grows and glows like, Hey, you know, I’m doing really well here and I love the customer interactions, but I think we could, you know, polish up in this area. 

So it’s all a communicative process, and you solve problems by communicating, and that’s what we are trying to put our money on, and you have a pay people and support them. And I think that’s, you know, done through a living wage. And we really try hard to support that with all of our employees, whether they’re hourly budtenders or salaried staff we provide benefits to full-time employees, we provide options for employees to purchase stock through our online public offering on start engine. So we open up doors for them, and we try to promote from within, so, you know, it just tries to make that emanate out and Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot of fun, I guess. 

Jeff Tacy: Yeah, I would add to that, that like, you know, a big part of the buy-in that we get from our direct employees and also from franchisees that are considering representing our brand. There’s really two other pillars other than having farming in the background. And definitely one of our main interests would be education. Our business model is in big part based on education in a brand new industry that people are unfamiliar with, it’s super important that we help people make educated consumer decisions. So every single person that works from this company, I don’t care if you’re in manufacturing HR, if you’re a budtender in a retail space, or even in our distribution business, you’re going to be an expert in this industry, because anywhere you go, anybody, you talk to, you have to be able to help them understand the ins and outs of this industry. And I think that’s lacking in a lot of other brands that we’re seeing out there across the country. 

Our business model is, in big part, based on education in a brand new industry that people are unfamiliar with, and it's super important that we help people make educated consumer decisions. - Jeff Tacy Click To Tweet

The second thing that I’m I wanted to bring up is just sheer quality. And you were talking about this a little bit earlier, you know, we’re finding more and more that like consumers, they want to know where these products are coming from, they want to know where the ingredients are coming from. And they want to know their quality ingredients put together to make quality finished products. And I think we’ve done a pretty good job of positioning ourselves and our products as some of the best products in the industry. Because we’re not the cheapest brand out there, I’m just gonna go ahead and tell you, we’re not the cheapest brand out there. 

We're not competing on price. We're competing on quality, and thus far, we've been very successful with it. - Jeff Tacy Click To Tweet

We’re not competing on price. We’re competing on quality, and thus far, we’ve been very successful with it. And through the franchise model, you know, we’re getting people to buy into our franchise model, because of the quality because of the story because of the training that we’re offering. They just aren’t getting that from any other CBD franchise, or if any other franchise ORS out there. And we really on figured it out and we’re making sure that we’re offering all those different aspects so that when people look around and compare us to franchise models, we stand out. And we’re seeing that in the success that we’re having.

Sonia Gomez: What comes along with one of your franchises, when I talk to businesses, you know, of all different phases and stages there’s this huge desire to have ownership of something that is your own. While I’m also recognizing a pretty significant deficit in somebody’s ability to create a recognizable brand, you know, to build a company culture, to really identify and connect with a specific avatar that is, will act as sort of a–

Brandon Bobart: One of a strategy to be a business owner and you don’t have necessarily the wherewithal or the creativity or the time in any game bevy of reasons why, you know, and yeah, I mean, it’s a crazy space. I think Jeff has more experience in the franchise business, he actually franchised burrito shop in the early aughts, before you know Chipotle and all those things kind of took off. So for me, it’s a brand new business, I guess, had an odd connotation of it. But it’s definitely we’re seeing people change their lives. 

So this I mean, they’re for example, we have a hickory franchisee You know, he stopped doing a pharmacy career saw the value in this and decided to shift gears and open a franchise, we have a former software engineer in Athens, Georgia who you know on the farm and for years like wanted to dispensary never knew how saw our ad come across on Leafly. 

We did some native advertising with Leafly. And it came across and he was like, immediately like, called us and then 70 days later you have a dispensary and he has been on cloud nine ever since then. Because he not only gets to be the business owner, he’s always wanted, he gets to be the bastion on a change in his community, bringing a quality product. He has daughters and a wife and he feels good about the female-founded female brand. I mean, it just all like checks all the boxes for him, and he doesn’t have to spin his wheels on how to make it successful. 

Jeff Tacy: Yeah, I think a lot of what we’re seeing out there is that you know, once people get past the hemp fever, and think that this is [inaudible] a wicked industry and they’re like I can just go open up my own shop, you know, once they get going and get into it, and those customers start coming through your doors and they start asking the pertinent questions like, Oh, yeah, well, where’s your product from? And you know, the pretty typically what we’re hearing is that well, it’s from out West, you know, and Okay, great. Where were the plants grown? I don’t know. I mean, what’s in the products? I don’t know, you know, like a pretty common that’s a pretty common conversation we have with people that come into our retail shops that they’re like, you know, oh, yeah, I went to the place up the road. And then I came in here and they’re like, wow, that’s like a night and day experience because of the level of education that we’re giving people when they walk in the door. 

So this industry and I know you know this, this industry is way more complex and involved than anybody on the outside looking in things. Because all the ingredients when you’re talking about isolate and distillate and crude and Phytocannabinoids and all the different plant components, I would implore you to walk into the shops all across the United States and see what level of in-depth conversation you can have with whoever’s representing that shop. 

This industry is way more complex and involved than anybody on the outside looking in things. - Jeff Tacy Click To Tweet

I can tell you from experience, I travel all over the country, it’s not very well represented. So, that’s been a big part of what we’re all about, man. It’s all about education and making sure that when people come into our place, they’re going to have an entirely different experience than walking into any other of these pop-ups, get rich quick shops are out there.

Sonia Gomez: I am, I really like how you guys frame and talk about the reality of the industry. And, you know, I think sometimes it’s easy to feel punch drunk by the hemp fever that you talked about. There’s so many people out there, especially the marketers who are out there being like, this is a $22-billion industry and everybody should get in while they still can And, you know, it’s like–

Jeff Tacy: It’s ever graph. I mean, it has to be real, right?

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, yeah. So, you know, it’s pretty interesting to watch but I’m talking like I literally quite literally before getting onto the phone with you guys today was having a conversation with a business owner who’s been wildly successful in his other space as a marketer and is really struggling five years into his business is really struggling to just break even at $5,000 a month. And I’m always astonished to see like how long and how hard business owners will ride this train before they throw in the towel. 

Must-have Skill Sets to Add Value in the Cannabis Industry

And my question always is, you know, if it’s not working, when are you willing to stop? And have you ever asked yourself the question, how do you apply your current skill sets to an already existing brand or business so that you can piggyback off of their success and contribute To the way that they will grow, you know, as an educated and professional person. What would be some of the things that you would say, as a business owner, as a powerful brand and contender in the industry right now, what are some of the skill sets that you guys are looking to incorporate or bring into your business that you always feel like is a value add? And how would you like to be approached by those people who have those skill sets? How do they find you? How do they position themselves in a way that makes you as the business owner, confident that they’re capable of filling those gaps?

Jeff Tacy: I like the way you segued into that, because you know, what you have is the competition out there is flush with cash. You said it, we all know it. The problem is that a lot of them are late to the game. And the vast majority of them don’t understand this industry, and they definitely don’t understand consumerism in this particular industry. And it goes back to what I said. It’s not as easy as it looks. It’s not as simple as it looks at all. And you know, yes, we have our brand, we have our pathway we have not brought in a bunch of investment money. We don’t have VCs, we don’t have equity partners. We don’t have any of that. We have bootstrap, grassroots in every one of these businesses that comprise our vertical integration. 

Now with that said, this year, as established as we are as a brand and as we’re getting more national attention, I’m open to conversations. What am I looking for when I have a conversation with somebody that might be interested in becoming part of a big brand that’s going somewhere that has the staying power and longevity? I’m looking for talent, not just money. I’m looking for talent. I want people that understand systems and know-how to do marketing and know how to do sales and know how to do financial management and all that because at the end of the day, I mean, we’re still a small company, we’re 30 to 40 employees that are managing all of this. 

I want people that understand systems and know-how to do marketing, sales and financial management, and all that because at the end of the day, we're still a small company. - Jeff Tacy Click To Tweet

So, we’ve gotten this far with our brand. And if we had more capital and more talented, there’s just no talent where we could go with this? And that’s exactly what my goal is this year is to probably raise more capital and find more talent. So we can just grow this brand faster. 

Brandon Bobart: People that are flexible are problem solvers it’s 100 miles an hour type business, you know, dog eared kind of whatever business where, you know, seriously, one or two weeks feels maybe like a quarter or two-quarters of time. So, you gotta be ready to work. I mean, we work seven days a week, we don’t take a lot of days off. We’re always ready to kind of meet that new, unseen hurdle, that new letter that’s gonna come out down the road. 

And to me, it’s just really funny how a lot of these brands have positioned themselves because if you look at what’s been successful in other spaces the farm to table movement and the craft brewery movement, people want to see traceability to a product, you don’t want to walk into a brewery and be like where was this brewed? And they say, Well, you know, I don’t really know or while out west and you know, we just buy it or Hey, you know, we pay someone to actually make this and we don’t, you know, we just give him a recipe and then they make it over there and they sell it back to us and then we’re gonna sell it to you today. I mean, that story is not successful. 

So to me, it’s just a tried and true model, and what we’re trying to do is recreate that in the cannabis space. See the shelf, and for us, that’s really where we’re going with this is health and wellness brand and, you know, we want to position our stores in spaces that are near gyms and physical therapies and all those kind of nice, you know, for example, we’re doing a store in Westport, Connecticut, we’re going to be next to Urban Outfitters, there’s Savannah Bee Company, a Peloton, you know, very nice major retail brands and you can say whatever you want about their ethics as companies, but people spend money there, and that’s, you know, where we, there are people who trust them and people will, you know, are in the stores and that’s where we want to be. 

Jeff Tacy: I’m kind of laughing a little bit because Brandon made me think of something that’s along the same lines, which is you know, this industry is happening so fast. It’s so complex that when employees come in for an interview or potential employees come in for an interview, and they’re looking for a job description. I’m like, I’m sorry, you’re not the right person. You know, I mean, like, I need people they can think independently and can bring the game to the table to adjust on the fly that is innovative, creative. So if you’re looking for a job description– 

Brandon Bobart: Or a training manual–

Jeff Tacy: Yeah or a training manual. You’re not getting it, you know what I mean. The cool thing is that we’ve built our reputation up to be so good in the industry that when we do have an opening or a position, we’re getting three to 500 applicants stretched all across this country that you know, have an entirely different level of interest and follow up to try to become part of our organization. But if you get in with us you better be ready to do it because the expectations high and it’s the only way we operate. And that’s the way we roll is because this is happening so fast. I only want the best of the best talent. That’s it.

Sonia Gomez: I love it. I love it you guys that get hungry. Because this is like the craziest thing ever, I swear. Okay, so next question I have for you guys and in a minute we’re gonna segway into the quote-unquote words of wisdom, although you guys are dropping bombs all over this place like it’s a Russia Ma. 

But I am going to ask you like more specifically, like what are you know, what are some words of wisdom here in just a second but I first want to ask you guys, you know, with all of the ways that you guys have diversified revenue, whether it’s through Airbnb or you know, having you pick a blueberry spot on your farm, what are some of the new things that we have to look forward to with Franny like I have to know what are some of the new goals? But I know you you said education. Every company says education. What does that actually mean? What are the initiatives? What are some of the goals? How do your communities reflect your guys’ success? What is the social efficacy that you guys are building into your business right now? And what are the goals that you have for 2020?

Brandon Bobart: Well, you missed the sexiest revenue stream of them all which is Goat Yoga.

Sonia Gomez: I’m sorry, are those tiny little creatures that I saw your wife holding on the website?

Brandon Bobart: You want to see a funny afternoon. Wait, so we have a bachelorette party from New York City come down to [inaudible] for the weekend and getaway. They come in and do some Goat Yoga it’s time. 

Building Goals and Social Efficacy 

Jeff Tacy: And that people love it. But no on a more serious note to really kind of address your question is my wife and I have taken it upon ourselves to become part of the North Carolina University Research Program. It’s a three-year program. It is currently generating the only really genuinely bonafide data collected over multiple years, that’s going to go into reports that’s going to have statistics about different strains and different inputs into the strains from soil preparation to different types of nutrients and the different pests that we’ve dealt with. And this is going to be over a period of three years. 

So it’s really important that as we travel across the country, and get in front of hundreds and thousands of people that we’re honest with people about what they’re getting into when they get into this industry. And you know, we talk to farmers, and we talked to processors, and we talked to wannabe retailers, and we talked to people that cover the entire spectrum of interest in this industry. And I think it’s very unfortunate that you can go out on the internet and you can read various pieces of literature that mislead people to think that it’s relatively easy to grow an acre of cannabis and make $100,000. 

Do you know how many times I’ve gotten fired on calls from people that have read that very same piece of literature, and I’m like, Listen, do you want to talk to a guy that’s grown for three years going on four years now? Or do you want to read something on the internet that is completely misinforming you as to what reality is on the ground? 

I think it’s really important to when you deal with people and talk and interact with people, just be honest about the reality of it. It’s farming; it’s grueling, it’s hard. It’s the highest risk aspect of this entire industry. I always advise people, start small, make sure that you source really good genetics from a reputable source, figure out what it takes to grow a really good high-quality plant because if you don’t do that, you’re done. You can spend all the money, do all the work and end up with a zero at the end if you haven’t gone into it, knowing that it’s a very high-risk business. 

It's farming, it's grueling, it's hard. It's the highest risk aspect of this entire industry. - Jeff Tacy Click To Tweet

So that’s my offer, and my wife’s offer to the community is honest with people. This is not easy. There’s nothing easy about this be prepared for failure because the chances are the vast majority of the people that jump into this without doing the homework in the research are not going to be successful.

Sonia Gomez: So true. I was just visiting on the Western Slope. And I, this inspired another question of mine. I was just visiting on the Western Slope in Colorado where I was meeting with a handful of farms who like, saw the sex appeal. Like it was a Las Vegas strip club. They were like, yeah, the cannabis industry, the hemp industry, like, let’s throw a handful of seeds out in this dirt and get busy. And like, they grew their whole thing and they’re calling me at the end of their first season then they’re like, Hi, we have 3000 pounds of biomass, and about 600 pounds of smokeable flower and just wondering curious, do you know anywhere we might be able to sell it? And I was like guys!

Jeff Tacy: Yeah, you and 2000 other farmers across the country I mean, that’s the problem is that we have an imbalance in the supply and demand particularly coming out of the 2019 harvest. It’s ugly out there I feel bad for these people that got misled into there’s an unlimited demand. If you grow it, they’ll buy it. And I’m sorry, but that is not the reality. 

Brandon Bobart: It’s so bad here. I mean, you know, there’s some local hemp growing groups and one of the guys posted in the last year is like, how much will someone pay me to come to take these plants out of my ground like literally it’s that bad, like, don’t even want to get them out of the ground, don’t even like, they just have no idea people don’t know to trim it like there’s just snow and especially on the east coast. I mean, you know, a lot of the growers left and the like awareness of cannabis culture and cannabis knowledge here is rather limited and what goes well out here is not well documented, like Jeff said, we’re really working hard on the educational piece to provide growers, you know, a successful strain and a successful process and standard operating procedures to be successful. But just jumping in, you know, two feet first with no plan for success, new processor, it’s definitely tough to profitability. [inaudible] 

Jeff Tacy: It kinda breaks my heart. I get a lot of phone calls because we’re so high profile, I get a lot of phone calls from farmers. I mean, it breaks my heart to have to sit there and tell them like I’m really sorry, but you’re in that pool of farmers that got in without like, seeing the end game and unfortunately, I just don’t have good news for you right now, you know?

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, that was somewhat of my sentiment. However, the silver lining is knowing that there are brands like yours who are starting to work on behalf of you know, the farmers who are still really passionate interested so I’d for clarification sake, I don’t want to make any assumptions. But one of my friends who owns a pretty significant hemp brand is also pulling together a coalition of farmers who they supply the strains, the education, basically all of the infrastructure that you need to become a hemp farmer. 

And because they have such a significant distribution, they come back and they purchase at market value from you as one of the partnered farms as long as you followed all of the recipes and its quality and blah, blah, blah, because that’s something that you guys have built into your business model where you’re enrolling farms who want to operate under that type of umbrella? Maybe they have two to five acres, they want to grow–

Brandon Bobart: [inaudible] more farms this year. 

Jeff Tacy: Yeah, well, so 2018, we had the capacity to grow what we needed to get us through to the 2019 harvest. So with the rate of growth that we’ve had in our distribution and retail businesses, we had to go ahead and contract with four other farms, and we were able to buy their plant material from the 2019 harvest. And, you know, I’m the numbers guy, so I’m doing all the projections about you know, what plant yields are and how many plants that equates to and looking at, how many plants per acre and you know, we can kind of project out and extrapolate, like what we’re going to need for 2021 and it’s looking like I’m gonna have to add more farms this year. 

Now, I mean, I want to be careful in saying that, that doesn’t mean that like we’re this, you know, Coca Cola or Budweiser of the CBD and hemp industry that I need, like 100 farms grown for me. Realistically, if I can add another 2,3,4 Farms for the 2020 growth season, then we’re right on track. You know, maybe someday these brands going to get big enough that I can hire farms further down Piedmont and so the state of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, I don’t know but you know, it’s slow growth. I mean, I know people think this industry is like going to be a $23 billion industry by 2026. And it very well may be, but it’s still a slow-growth business, especially when you only get one grow season per year. You know what I mean? So, I don’t want to mislead anybody think like, Yeah, man, we’re your solution to helping you keep growing. We’re–

Sonia Gomez: Certainly the model the thing that I’m looking for because I’m supporting a lot of brands and businesses and farmers thinking about how they can work through the challenge of fuck I didn’t plan properly for, you know, where I was going to put this stuff. And my advice to them is create a coalition, get a brand who already has the distribution, develop a relationship with them, and then just do the piece of it that you’re best at and provide that brand, you know, don’t try and make your freaking whatever it’s going to, you know, the holly hopes hemp company like nobody cares about that you know what I mean. Work with the brands that are already established in the community, [inaudible] your value.

Brandon Bobart: There’s a lot of pride that gets in the way of that we’ve seen that happen a lot of times, you know, people really want to be in charge and do things their way. That doesn’t always lead to success.

Hemp Derivative Baby Products

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I would have to agree. Well, you guys have a lot to celebrate right now and I’m looking, you know, I’ve been looking and one of the things that excited me most about what you guys are releasing right now is your mommy and me products. I, being a mom of four and having used hemp and cannabis derivatives on my kids, for as long as I can remember. 

And watching my aunts and my uncles who are considered to be the struggle known as sort of woodland fairies of the Humboldt hills. They’ve been making the stuff for years. I’m using it with us for years. I have not yet seen and I’ve been talking about it a lot. But you are probably one of the first companies that I have seen create baby products, you know from hemp derivative. And so that was one of the things where I was like ding nailed it! You guys are gonna kill with that. What’s up whose idea was that to put that into the fold and what is your guys’ plan to make that a huge thing? Because Hello, moms everywhere need to hemp all over their babies.

Brandon Bobart: Oh yeah, I mean, I’ll tell you my wife just had a baby in October and so she was able to use a lot of those products. We have a breast boosting balm that was great for her as she was nursing our baby. And so it was really nice to you know, see that in action. And you know, it’s branded, like you said very beautifully, a nice pink bop and then we do have a baby line. You know, we have a lot of plans to kind of keep pushing that forward through some testimonial marketing and some product placement. But I don’t know, Jeff man, what do we have them? 

Jeff Tacy: Well, I mean a lot of the decision making in this company about directions and where we go is by committee. You know, we get our executive management team, and we get our production workers, and we get everybody together. And we talk about, you know, what types of new products would we like to see out there? What’s going to be popular? What’s going to be in demand? What aren’t other companies doing? And a lot of times, that’s what’s going to drive the decision making for us? 

I think something that’s really important. And again, that is along the same vein as education is that you know, I want to caution consumers that when they go out there, and they look at products and they see CBD on the label, they need to dig deeper than that because if you go in and you see that a product contains CBD, you need to look at what the other ingredients are that’s in that product because just because it has CBD doesn’t mean that the other stuff in it is necessarily beneficial. 

And in some cases harmful if you were to take any one of our products, and it could be the women’s line, the pet line, the edible line, men’s line, the baby line, or any of them and take the CBD out of it. Our products are going to be great on their own without the CBD. When you put the CBD in them, it just has that extra enhanced added benefit of having cannabinoids in it. I want people to make sure they’re reading the ingredients because it’s super important so that they don’t get taken advantage of.

Sonia Gomez: Oh man, so important. If I can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, there was no way I was going to use it on myself or my child, especially while I was breastfeeding. So I think that it’s so important. And you know, for those of you guys who are listening and just heard that piece of advice, I literally cannot tell you how important it is that you actually implement on that because, you know, seven out of 10 products don’t even have active milligram of CBD in their products. So you really have to, be really do a further depth of research because a lot of the brands that are holding, you know, first place positions, quote-unquote, are paid to play, they are spending exorbitant amounts of money to make sure that they have top-line exposure to you that doesn’t necessarily mean that because they’re the easiest defined that they’re the best to use. 

So always take your time to self-informed and self educate and look past the glossy advertisements and find the things that are truly carrying the medicinal properties and ingredients that you can pronounce. There’s plenty of non-synthetic ingredients that are going to make a difference in how you feel and function on a daily basis. Okay, I was just going to say, I want to segue into the quote-unquote words of wisdom. And this is an opportunity for you guys to talk about. 

First of all, before we get into words of wisdom, one more question. Talk to me about your guys’ products, what are the things that you guys think set you guys furthest apart? I know we just talked a little bit about ingredients. I know that you guys stabilize your supply chain because you’re working the soil to sell. But what do you think are the other two or three things that set you guys apart in the marketplace full of noisy brands? You know, what are those things that make you guys different else?

Brandon Bobart: That’s a good question because I was kind of thinking about saying this when you were talking about the baby products, you know, if you go to a manufacturing facility, it’s a GMP compliant facility. So that really means that it’s dialed in from cleanliness and standard protocol perspective. So, we’re checking ingredients in, we’re checking ingredients out things have lot numbers, batch numbers, and what we’re really able to do there is ensure quality control. And so we have a team that operates now seven days a week to ensure that products are being made products are being tested. 

And I think to just the small-batch level, I mean, everything’s made with love, everything’s made by hand things aren’t sitting around for months at a time and some warehouse and being shipped from one part of the country to another part of the country, you know, they’re made with love and then literally walked up to our distribution center and shipped out to you and you know, very often those products can be less than several weeks old. 

So I think that is a big part of it in our products, you know, selection, we use only therapeutic grade essential oils, mostly organic products. We have a couple that, you know, still aren’t but we’re really working on making sure our employees are paid a living wage, so they kind of talked about that earlier, but I think that’s a big part of who we are is making sure that you know, we take care of our people and you know, if you take care of your people then I think they’ll take care of the clients and, that’s a big part of who we are and our messaging. I don’t know, what else do we really? 

If you take care of your people, I think they'll take care of the clients, and that's a big part of who we are. - Brandon Bobart Click To Tweet

Jeff Tacy: I mean you hit the nail on the head as well as you know, we aren’t using 100% certified organic ingredients, but we’re definitely using as close to it as we possibly can. Unfortunately, for some of the ingredients that we need for the broad array of products that we have, we have to use some that are on the organic side. But with that said, Brandon hit the nail on the head, everything we’re doing a small batch, it’s all being tested. We have really rigorous quality control measures in place. And you know, it’s a big part of what’s making our products stand out among all the noise that’s out there. It just is.

Sonia Gomez: Well, I believe you I was super excited when I started to find you guys. I was like, Oh my god, and look at the goat. And look at they have baby stuff. And James Did you see what they’re doing with the farms? I want to go pick blueberries. Absolutely. And you guys tell me that, what?

Jeff Tacy: You can stay at the farm.

Sonia Gomez: I was just gonna say and then I figured out I found out that you guys have like Airbnb on the actual farm like clear one out called the maid. I’m on my way right now. Like, I’m bringing my kids we need to like go to the babysitter over there it’s gonna so–  

Brandon Bobart: [inaudible] summer, you can bring them to drop off and then maybe mommy and daddy go into town because that’s a little more fun. 

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, that sounds great to me. And by the way, my 17-year-old has been working with the plants since he was 10 years old, so he’d be a really good helping hand.

Brandon Bobart: Come around May and June will be super busy.

Words of Wisdom

Sonia Gomez: Perfect. Sounds good. Okay, and this final segment words of wisdom. I’d love to hear from you guys. Knowing what you know now, coming through what you’ve come through, and knowing that there are budding entrepreneurs and young blood business owners who are trying to break through glass ceilings and brick walls. You’ve already given some incredible pieces of advice. I want to hear from each one of you. What would you say to the budding entrepreneur or young blood business owner who is trying to gain traction and momentum with their brand and business? What are some of the key considerations or key things that they need to know to accelerate their success, or just not fuck it up so bad that they fail altogether?

Jeff Tacy: Start small, I mean, don’t get in over your head. Because if you start making big investments into inventory and things that you can’t move, you’re starting with a bad business model. The other thing is, is that you got to be ready to do it all, you got to be able to do it all yourself or you better have the money to build your team because, I mean, you know, if you’re gonna try to even remotely mimic what we’re doing, you got to have the business savvy and experienced to do it, you got to know how to market you got to know how to ship you got to know how to package you got to know all that and it takes time and money to figure all that out. 

I personally think, and I’ve been saying it for a while that if you’re not in the game at this point, and you’re not getting traction at this point, it’s going to be tough. It’s gonna be an uphill battle because in my opinion, for a lot of people that train already left the station, and you might, what you were saying earlier, you might want to see if there’s a way for you to partner with somebody that’s already got a machine that’s working for him. 

Brandon Bobart: Yeah, I’ll just add too I mean, on the sales side, you know, I’ve kind of learned a lot trial by fire. I’ve learned a couple of lessons and being just super communicative and trying to respond to people right away, I found in this industry, I mean, that’s not a standard. So I really try to reach out to folks right away, connect with them right away, really show honest feedback and kind of talk through them and then. When we do trade shows and things like that, I think one thing I learned is to make sure you’re following up leads right away if you see a good lead connect with them right there. Get their phone number, put it right in your system, like don’t let them squirrel away and go, you know, we do some franchise trade shows and you know, they’re going to go see 40 other booths and if you don’t make that connection right now and really show your value and show your words, it’s not gonna come to fruition and, you know, somebody told me that, for every hour or no, for every day, you wait you can throw away, you know, five to 10 leads at those type of events. 

Make sure you're following up leads right away, if you see a good lead, connect with them right there. - Brandon Bobart Click To Tweet

So just being overly communicative and just being flexible too. I mean, we’ve had so many deals come to the table and we get down to the last thing and there’s, you know, a clause to be adjusted or, you know, a $5,000 here for, these kinds of things that I think if you, you know, took a hard line on and weren’t willing to be flexible, I think you’re gonna just watch a lot of business, walk out the window or walk through the door rather. 

Sonia Gomez: Such good key pieces of advice. And I think a lot of folks take that for granted. There’s always this allure, bigger is better, right? The Trump mentality where they have to be the biggest and the richest and the best and, you know, all of these things where I think that there’s a lot taken for granted and a lot that’s missed and being able to slowly grow in a sustainable way and earn your respect and reputation and more importantly trust within the industry. So I’ll piggyback off of what you guys have said to offer. You know, one key piece of advice here.

If you are a brand newbie and you have never tried your hand working with or on behalf of this plant, you are in for a treat and the trial of your entire life. Mary Jane, who, by the way, is the same as cannabis as hemp, as CBD as marijuana, they’re all the same. Okay, there’s just relatives and small things that make them different, but they’re all the same. Cannabis is the same, and she is a demanding woman. Okay, she wants and needs your time and attention. So if you’re married and you have kids, tell him to fuck and hold on a second while you go and take care of your mistress, Mary Jane when is properly cared for will pay you over and over and over again in love, in prosperity and recognition, respect and trust within the space. But if you falter and you try and go too big, too fast, you will fail. It’s inevitable. You have to use 80% of your time and efforts into planning and about 20% on execution. 

And, again, I say this over and over again, but nobody listens. No matter how mature this industry gets, it is still a relationship-based business. So how you do one thing is how you do everything and if you don’t follow up and you don’t follow through, the opportunities are going to pass you by because someone less talented, with less experience and less knowledge and know-how, is going to follow up and pass you by getting the opportunities that you were once looking for. So make sure that you plan ahead, follow up, stay in integrity with your word, and grow slow. There’s no shame in doing something small really, really well so that you get to accumulate the resources necessary to do the next big best thing. 

Make sure that you plan ahead, follow up, stay in integrity with your word, and grow slow. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet

And again, your nucleus is in your community. So you don’t have to always think about having a national or international company. Start thinking about what problem you want to solve for your community first, the people that you want to be working on behalf of every day, and the products will and support will be a natural byproduct of your passion for solving that problem for the specific people who are in your community. And they will thank you over and over and over again every single time. 

That’s my words of wisdom. And I’m super, super grateful for you guys for how you’re approaching building this business and the reputation that it’s contributing to showcase how professional we can and should be as an industry. But how careful how full of care we can be as business owners as you start to build and grow your brands and businesses. I’m just I’m so super proud and very honored to get to know you guys and to continue to be a support system for how you guys are growing.

Jeff Tacy: Well, thanks for having us. And you know, I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to get our story out there. And if only one person sees this, it helps them make better decisions and their business pursuit, then I think it’s been a success. So thank you for putting this together. 

Brandon Bobart: Thanks for the proper questions, too. Yeah.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. I’m just, I’m super proud. And hopefully one day I get to meet your lovely wives and babies I love family on businesses that are operated by good friends. So absolutely love that and please let us know how we can continue to support. If folks want to find you and your products, where’s the best place for them to go?

Connect with Franny’s Farmacy

Brandon Bobart: www.frannysfarmacy.com, and if you are into having the real live farm experience, go to www.frannysfarm.com. We are happy to have you in any of our dispensary we’re going to launch a brand new rendition of our website this month, and it’s very educationally based, so be on the lookout for that. But our website right now is up and running fully functional. There’s plenty of educational material on there. So check it out. I’d point you in that direction. First and foremost.

Sonia Gomez: Man, it looks really good–

Jeff Tacy: Inquire [inaudible] so you can get a call from Brandon.

Sonia Gomez: I’ve been cruising around on your website for the last couple of days in preparation for the interview. And it’s so user friendly, super informative, very simple. So for you guys who are tuning in, make sure that you check out the social media handles as well as the website links that you will see posted around this interview along with the show notes, show highlights and all of the mentionable that will be included in the blog surrounding this video. 

Hey, guys, I want to thank you again so much for your time and attention. And for those of you who are tuning in with us, thank you so much for being a part of our community because you have liked and shared content just like this video today, we have been able to impact hundreds of millions of people’s lives around the world. And quite literally you and your participation, because you will like and share this video and are tagging five people that you know, are going to get benefit from this. You have made it possible for us to move the needle towards global legalization and acceptance, transforming the way that we think about and talk about cannabis and hemp inside of our family and communities. 

So thank you so much. I invite you now to like and share this content. Make sure that you tag five people that you know it’ll make a difference for. I continue to serve you every single day with my mission to empower you and educate you with the truth about cannabis and hemp from the industry’s perspective but also as a person who’s looking for products that you can trust to deliver the results you’re looking for. Check us out at medicalsecrets.com for some of our favorite picks on products. And if you’re a budding entrepreneur, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com. We are happy to help. I’m your hostess with the mostess, Sonia Gomez, and this is The Hemp Revolution. We’ll see you at our next show, guys.

James Brinkerhoff: Thanks for listening to this episode, we took notes on this episode for you along with all the links and resources mentioned in the episode. Get them free on the show notes page here at www.medicalsecrets.com. If you love this show and our content, please subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you really want to help us get the message out there, please rate review and tell all your friends. With your help, we can continue to reach the world with our message. And until next time, we hope you join The Hemp Revolution and we challenge you to dream big and love the life you live!

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