Richard Rose has been the leading innovator in the food industry for four decades, 25 years of which have been in hemp alone. He is known as the grandfather of the North American hemp food industry, “The Hemp Nut.”
Since 1980, he has created hundreds of vegan food products from soybean such as TofuRella which landed him to the Inc 500 list of fastest-growing small companies in the US.
After 14 years, he realized that hemp is more nutritious and tastes better than soybean. So, in 1994, he pivoted to using hempseed.
Since then, he’s been creating healthy hemp food products and has been a hemp advocate and entrepreneur.
In this episode, Richard shares how he made strategic partnerships with people so he can stay focused on the things that he does best, how he is helping in pushing this industry forward and a whole lot of insightful information and words of wisdom. Don’t miss out!
To think you’re going to approach it like you might have approach selling tires or hair dryers or whatever your business was before is going to be a flaw and you need to find some magic in your marketing and in your operation, your business in general that you can communicate to your customers. – Richard Rose
Some Topics We Discussed Include
3:26 – Richard’s background and transition from tofu to hemp
11:45 – How he makes strategic partnerships with people so he can stay laser-focused on the things he does best
19:22 – The reaction when he started to move into hemp-based products
29:45 – His first move to get that first win that showed that all his hard work was going to actually create traction
38:33 – His thoughts about how the industry is going to go
44:19 – Words of wisdom
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Richard Rose
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: Good morning and good day to all of you out there listening in on The Hemp Revolution Podcast. I’m your host, Sonia Gomez. And this is the journey behind the scenes of the entrepreneurs, cannapreneurs, the incredible people behind the products that you know and love. Sometimes we get an opportunity to interview and showcase some of the godfathers and grandmothers of these incredible movements.
Maybe you’ve heard of veganism or creating alternative food sources that do not have animal products in them. Perhaps you’ve heard of different types of cultivation or even strain genetics. I mean, we’ve had some incredible people on this podcast and today is no different.
As always it is our mission to bring the truth about cannabis and hemp to the forefront so that we can make empowered educated decisions about how we want to take care of ourselves, our bodies the people that we love conditions we may be suffering from but also how we can live happier, healthier, daily lives enjoying this beautiful gift of life.
If you are listening in today we are going to be sharing some time with the grandfather of the North American hemp food industry. The hemp Nut which has been around for 39 years making and marketing vegan food 25 years in hemp alone. Our guest today who is coming all the way in from Italy. So jealous I gotta be honest, I’m so jealous is going to be sharing his journey on how he started to pioneer the movement around hemp nutrients. Put your hands together and help me welcome Mr. Richard Rose. How are you, Richard?
Richard Rose: Hello. Great. How you doing? Nice to see you.
Sonia Gomez: I’m doing good. Yeah. Wonderful to see you too.
Richard Rose: Thanks for having me.
Sonia Gomez: And, yeah, really happy to have you. Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us, you know, intros are all good and well, but I want to hear straight from the horse’s mouth. First of all, we’re in Italy, are you?
Richard Rose: I’m in the north up by Milan Lake Como area.
Sonia Gomez: Absolutely incredible. And I want to hear how you ended up over there. But first, why don’t you share a little bit about who you are, what your background is and how you got involved in the hemp movement?
Richard’s Background and Transition From Tofu to Hemp
Richard Rose: Well, my name is Richard rose and I lived in California my first 45 years of my life. That’s where I did most of the food work that I started in 1980. Making vegan foods from tofu, so I made tofu and then soy milk and foods from it over 100 different products and in the 80s distributed nationwide, diet centers, health food stores, supermarkets also in Canada.
And then in 1986, I pivoted to the product that got us on the Inc 500 fastest growing list of small companies and five years later which was Tofu Rella. And Tofu Rella was a cheese alternative cholesterol-free, lactose-free and it got into national distribution supermarkets health food stores coast to coast in the US and Canada. In Trader Joe’s, Trader Joe’s about a third of our business. Canada was about a third of our business it was in all the supermarket’s up there and many in the US and so then I’m in 1993, I was on the Inc 500.
And then the next year, I pivoted to hemp seed foods. I had been using soybeans, all those years since 1980, 14 years by that time to make my food and over 100 products but I realized that hemp seed was actually more nutritious than even soybean. And it tasted better. It tastes like pine nuts or sunflower seeds doesn’t need any processing, unlike soybean, which had to be cooked and filtered and all and so I pivoted started making HempRella. A cheese alternative was the first product and it got pretty quick national distribution.
Plugged into the distribution we already have established and sales force. We were unusual in that we were one of the first virtual companies they were called virtual businesses or companies and what that means is we outsource everything in the business except our core competencies, which was marketing and product development.
So we outsource production to co-packers and storage to cold storage warehouses and trucking and even sales it was outsourced to brokers, even payroll. So we did basically just the bookkeeping and the marketing in house. And that way I was able to scale fast, it’s really hard to scale. We grew 1700 percent in five years and that kind of growth is difficult doing it in house and luckily we were contracting out all the production to co Packers. So we could do that kind of scaling, fast-growth without having to buy more equipment and hire more people and buy more refrigeration space and all the trucks and all that.
And as well we were able to do it without bank or investor financing. So the way that worked was we paid in 30 and got paid in 10. So typically what happens it’s the opposite. For most companies they have to pay for the goods before they sell them, the more risky it is for them and the harder it is to be successful because they have to finance the receivables and the inventory somehow. The way we got around that and was paying in 30 and getting paid in 10 so with all the growth was self-financed, just from cash flow, that system is what I had going for well by 1994 I had it set up for eight years so we were able to just plug the hemp cheese HempRella into that system and got immediate distribution coast to coast and US and Canada that way.
Then the next product was Hempeh Burger, Hempeh burger with 10% hemp seed in it, and that was called hemp a burger. And that was plugged into that same distribution network. Those were the first to perishable and frozen hemp foods in history and in North America and maybe in Europe as well. And we ran with those two products for a couple of years but in the meantime, I had been trying to take the shell off the hemp seed.
I knew that once we could shell hemp seed, it would be a game changer for the hemp food industry. The analogy is sunflower seeds. Can you imagine taking a handful of sunflower seeds with the shell on it popping in your mouth and eating them? It’s not palatable, you’re not gonna like it. Whereas if you took shelled sunflower seeds, easy-peasy, it tastes delicious and there’s no shells to pick out of your teeth. So that was my goal for four years and I finally found a company in Germany beat me to it was doing it so I just started buying from them. That was the 96 and that product was named HempNut and I was the first one to put the two words together hemp with nut and it was an obvious first choice for that material.
Today you call that hemp hearts, but back then hemp that was considered the generic term for that for shelled hemp seed and then from that we used HempNut in the cheese and in the burger and then we made see chocolate chip cookies and an energy bar and hemp seed oil. We had a lip balm, peanut butter that was half hemp nuts, a number of products all into the hemp nut incorporated brand.
Sonia Gomez: Man, this is incredible. First of all, I remember vaguely only because I was so young, but I remember my mom who used to bring home, the soy milk and all of that hippie yummies, she’s he went to school up at heartwood, just to give you an idea. Yeah, Garberville and Redway and so just to give you an idea of like, how I grew up totally barefoot and topless, running around in the forest and eating plant-based diet a lot of the time. So I totally remember these products that you’re talking about. And I’m like, a little starstruck right now that I’m actually talking to the person who created any of it. So thanks, food was dinner was yummy, like every night.
But one of the things that caught my attention, and I think that it’s a really important subject for our listeners, because in the industry right now, there is not so much of an era of together as one, everybody’s trying to do it all themselves. And one of the things I say often is hire your weaknesses and partner up, don’t partner down. There’s a really, really significant difference between trying to do everything yourself bringing it all– I mean, ham companies are wearing it like a badge of pride right now we’re fully vertical. We do everything ourselves, it’s all in house.
And yet behind the scenes when I talked to them, even though they have this really powerful front-facing brand and all of this stuff, everyone’s hurting for cash flow, no matter what the image as upfront, everyone’s hurting for cash flow. So my question to you is, when you are growing and scaling, even at half the rate that you did, what are some key elements that you have to consider? Or how do you go about making those strategic alliances or partnerships with people so that you’re not doing everything yourself but really able to stay laser-focused on the things that you do best?
How He Makes Strategic Partnerships With People so He Can Stay Laser-Focused on the Things He Does Best
Richard Rose: Yeah, that’s a good question we had seen over the course of those years, we must have had a total of, I don’t know maybe a dozen or dozen and a half co Packers around the world. I was able to do the HempNut. I was the first one to do it, no one was doing yet in North America first by years, so I had to create a brand new global supply chain to do a brand new product that no one had ever seen. And really the birth of an industry.
Today that product is 90% of Canadian hemp. We use co Packers around the world bought the seed in China certified organic hemp seed in China had it shipped to Humber where it was shelled and then had it shipped to LA where we stored it. And if we didn’t work with co-packers it would have been impossible to do all the things that we did. Financing is really going to be– the faster you grow, the more you’re going to need receivable to finance your receivables and inventory I’m to the degree you can work with a co Packer who will give you generous terms, the less money you’re going to have to raise outside or get by bank by finance for.
If we didn't work with co-packers it would have been impossible to do all the things that we did. - Richard Rose Click To Tweet
Luckily for us, it was a perishable food in the perishable food industry was used to quick terms, net seven that 10 that 15. Because of that it worked in a dry goods situation or a grocery item, it might be harder, tinctures or gel caps or something. It might be harder to get that because they’re more used to net 30 to net 90 terms day terms. So it’s going to be harder to pull that off, I believe.
But one of the first things you have to decide as an entrepreneur, entrepreneur, a solo entrepreneur, my first employee I didn’t hire for like two years after working out of a spare bedroom, growing TofaRella, I think it took two years so what you need to hire, what people need to understand is that Let’s say you’re a grower and you’re really good at growing your master grower, you’re awesome at it. So people want more of what you grow, and but you get busy. So you’re like, Oh, I gotta hire somebody to help. Often what they’ll think is I need to hire another grower, and that’s a huge mistake, because what’s going to happen is you’re going to hire another grower and then another and another, and then you’re going to end up managing a grow business. Instead of being a grower and your strength. your wheelhouse is not in managing the business it’s in being a grower, not a manager of a grow business.
So I always tell people the E-Myth, Michael Gerber’s E-Myth, his book, is, the concept is that your first hire should be a business manager. It should be somebody who can fill out the insurance paperwork and get the permits and make sure the taxes are paid on time and do the hiring and pay the rent and do the bookkeeping Do all that stuff that isn’t, isn’t growing, because you’re good at growing and you should just stay in the back and grow you should not hire more growers and then end up being a manager that’s just a recipe for failure. So that should be your first hire.
Working with co-packers is real there’s an art to it. And first in vetting them and making sure that they’re the right one and they’re not going to screw you up either and bed, product quality or in playing games with contracts. We had one that sold our saying cheese out the back door to other people and that was a problem we had to change Packers. So it’s fraught with dangers and complications but if you can navigate that, which is totally possible if you can navigate that and get to the place where you’ve set up the supply chain and it works you’re going to be able to do amazing things that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise both in terms of product production but also in r&d because those guys are good at r&d and they’ll come up with an idea Hey, what about this we can do a hickory smoke.
My co Packer came to me one day and said you know we can smoke the cheese, hit with real hickory not add flavor with real hickory-smoked and I was down I went for it. It was an amazing product. And we were able to do great advertising with it like we had one ad that the headline was when we first introduced hemp cheese they said we must be smoking something, we are now. For the Hemp Rella and things like that. So you know there if you get hooked in with the right guys, they’re good at production. They’re good at quality. They’re good at logistics and they’re good at r&d and you’re gonna have the company the ideal company in your back pocket to work with that you can go to with questions and problems and work collaboratively on the business.
Sonia Gomez: That’s so important. Mark Cuban said the first thing that you should do is hire your weaknesses. Don’t try and fill the weakness, but hire the weakness and stay in the area that you’re the most powerful. Another person that I follow that is all about being in alignment, like in your natural flow is Roger James Hamilton, New York Times, bestselling author of The Millionaire master plan, somewhat my Bible right now like this sense of how entrepreneurs especially solopreneurs are moving through a wealth spectrum how we move from being you know, in survival mode to thriving and building out a team that is a direct compliment to the things that You know, we’re trying to accomplish and looking at how our businesses are being put together.
You know, for instance, I have a training company, I have a media company, and I have a high-level coaching program where I’m supporting brands and businesses getting to that next milestone that they want to hit. And I’ll tell you, at one point, I was running it as one company, and I was having my team do everything. And I was trying to do everything in each one of those companies. And once I sat down and started to silo them out, I was able to take my team and create little mini CEOs for each one of those facets.
And then I could just operate at a high level, you know, remaining in a visionary position for my company, and we started to see really incredible growth but manageable growth, which eliminated a tonne of stress, not only for me but for my team who took the brunt of everything, you know, coming down the pipeline. So I’m really fascinated by this idea of Being inflow and really playing the role that is most potent for you. And for those of you guys who are tuning in, I invite you to do some self-reflection and decide if you are in fact working against the grain or working in flow with the things that feel most natural and natural and most fulfilling to you.
What was the reception Richard when you started to bring out all of these plant-based foods? What was the reception when you introduce hemp, for instance, it was still somewhat of a controversial subject only hippies used it. Soy became an international product and food relatively quickly, but it was a bean it wasn’t related to the cannabis plant. What was the reaction when you started to move into hemp-based products? Was it welcomed or was it controversial?
The Reaction When He Started to Move Into Hemp-Based Products
Richard Rose: Both. So starting in 1980 with tofu and soy foods of vegan foods. Back then you have to remember that in the ’80s literally tofu was literally America’s most hated food. So they would do I think it was Gallup would do a poll every year what do you know to figure out for some reason they wanted to know what was America’s least favorite foods. And yogurt was number two but number one was tofu. And so I was selling America’s most hated foods during the Reagan 80s and still able to make a go of it still got in the Inc 500 and that prepared me for pivoting to hemp seed foods in the go-go 90s.
I believed in leveraging the stigma not hiding from the stigma that’s kind of two ways of looking at it you can say well, let’s take the word hemp off the label and not have any green and not have any leaves and just sort of beat around the bush on it. And then or you can do what I did, which was meet the, the challenge head-on and for instance on the Hemp Rella label it had a neon green, a seven finger hemp leaf on a dark purple background right on the label. So as it sits on the shelf, you see this bright neon green hemp leaf staring at you in health food stores. And what that was able to do was leverage the stigma. So instead of hiding from the stigma and running away or whatever I leveraged it and the text on the label the copy said barely legal, for instance, was one of them.
Another one was Jamaica jack flavor was I think our first flavor was called Jamaica jack and it had the Jamaican national colors in on the label. And instead of like hiding it or something, I just dove into it and sure some didn’t want to carry it . Whole Foods said it was a political statement they refuse to carry it. They had a ban on hemp foods until 2004. Ironically, a vegetarian worker owns socialist Co-Op, also said it was a they didn’t want to care it because it was a political statement. But they were saying it I know ironically, they were actually serious. However, it was sold at the PX the supermarket on Travis Air Force Base.
So some had a problem with it, and others didn’t. I could tell when I would go into a health food store and show it to a buyer on sales calls that some of them you know, they would have long hair and it’d be a hip health food store in some hip area. And I’d show it to them and they would just turn white, as soon as they saw and their eyes would get big and they’d say, you’d have to go now what I realized was happening was that they were funded by either the owner was grown weed or local grower was– dealer was given a money to start the store or whatever. Those were the guys that I could tell something was going on because even though they were hip and they had hip customers and they sell a tonne of it they would just turn white and just freak out and just basically [inaudible].
And the only logical explanation was that they didn’t want to draw attention to their store or something because of pop money. So it was as big as the pushback was from Whole Foods and Ocean Beach, People’s Food Co-op in Ocean Beach, California, it was as equally or bigger reception positive for it. So then we rolled out the Hemp Rella to Expo East in Baltimore, which is the big natural food trade show on the East Coast back then, and we had a booth because we’ve been doing the show so long.
We had really good locations for our booth. We literally have booth number one in the foyer as people came down the escalator right in front of them, and so the whole time as they’re standing on the escalator riding it down, they would see our booth right there and it had, they knew us been around for, you know, a long time and they knew us and they heard that we were going to have something different that was worth checking out.
And by the grace of God in Inc Magazine that month, so everybody flying to Baltimore on United that Inc magazine was the main business magazine they would distribute people would read and on page 68 it was was a full-page full-color page picture of me holding my products with his electric guitar and my hair down on the beach in Florida and no text just full page full color. I was on tour the band at the time and so people are like, Oh shit, it’s Richard. Holy moly, it can’t wait to see what’s up, you know, so that coupled with being in the foyer of the entire, the entire exhibit hall, we were 3d the whole weekend of people wanting to sample and see what was going on and stuff.
And the president of the largest natural food distribution chain, United Natural Foods Incorporated, Michael Funk at the time, who was an old friend and he came in he looked at what the new products were in and tasted it looked at the package and shook my head said he gave me distribution nationwide and all his houses. I think there’s five at the time. And so I had instant distribution, and that allowed us to tell all the retailers the rest of the weekend that you want to fly as you know, these kinds of hands of God, things that I mean, I couldn’t have planned it any better.
And then it all added up to really phenomenal momentum. And momentum is really one of those hand of God You really can’t create momentum. Whoever came up the pet rock, everybody probably told him that was a stupidest thing they ever heard of. And he does it anyway and then there’s this huge momentum everybody wants to pet rock the babies or whatever the fat of the day is, that’s all because the momentum that you’re able to go as we call it today go viral back then it was just momentum and you know, we had this momentum from the expo east and from the ink magazine and from it being hemp and having a big leaf on the label and all this stuff. So all that added up to really good momentum and it drove it really drove it if I was a startup trying to do that I wouldn’t have had that momentum. And it would have languished it would have not gone at done anywhere.
People was said this is too weird. They’d be afraid that this long hair was making it in his backyard or his garage or his kitchen or something. There’d be all this kind of push back based on who is this? And why is he doing this and what’s in it and all that kind of stuff? But we were a known entity and pivoting the hemp foods from soy foods, it was just the right thing at the right time by the right people and in the right place, and it just worked.
Sonia Gomez: Oh, my God, this is such alike, this could not be a more relevant conversation for the things that I have addressed. And I’ve had business owners from all different phases and stages of success or failure in their businesses. And, you know, I think a bottleneck for folks is not knowing how much time to spend on the step that they’re on, and always wanting to jump to the next one, because it seems like it’ll be more exciting. And one of my mentors said, Sometimes if you’re creative, you create more problems so that you don’t have to deal with the ones that you already have.
Yeah, and it was a really interesting thing to say, because a couple of points in my own business, I was like, well, this isn’t working, maybe I’ll do this, okay, I’m going to try this over here. And I never gave myself enough runway to get the momentum, I would get traction. But then because it wasn’t moving as fast as my aspirations, wanted it to, I would make the pivot, right, the inevitable pivot that you have to make as an entrepreneur, but I would make it unnecessarily and start going on another direction which would put me on a whole nother time frame.
So what I hear you saying is to gain that momentum takes a lot just to get there and then anything that you plug into that once you build trust with the marketplace, you can roll all different types of thing out but you started with one thing, one thing really well soy-based natural foods or vegan foods, and then you brought him into it. What I recognize is happening a lot in the hemp industry right now beyond the fact that everybody’s trying to do everything themselves and everybody’s trying to have the absolute best and they’re creating internal competition an external competition rather than partnerships.
Everyone wants to skip to the momentum, but they're missing what it takes to actually gain traction first, and build the mission and the message behind the brand. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
Everyone’s working competitively rather than collaboratively. And what I’m recognizing is that everyone wants to skip to the momentum, but they’re missing what it takes to actually gain traction first, and build the mission and the message behind the brand. They’re just pushing, pushing, pushing products and brands. When you had your logo and your name and your label and your product. What was your first move to get that first win that showed you all of your hard work getting ready was going to actually caught to create traction so that you could get momentum?
Getting That First Win That Showed That All His Hard Work Was Going to Actually Create Traction
Richard Rose: I think it was before hemp I think it would have been getting a placement and getting legitimization from supermarket chain Safeway in California was I think the first year was the first one Rally’s out there in Sacramento. And then Trader Joe’s. I mean Trader Joe’s a third of our business just selling them tofu cheese, nothing more and they were selling it for half the cost per pound than the health food store across the street. It didn’t affect my health food store sales, you know that kind of legitimization for a tofu product and for hemp product or CBD product goes a very long way.
The supermarkets in Canada when they took it on, you know it was that legitimization that was sort of the when I knew that this would work but to get to there, it took me seven years of what I would call what I felt was failure, even though I Introduced hundreds of products I was living, you know, I was living on under a grand for my wife and I a month and for all those years trying to build this and learn branding and learn marketing and you know, I was a music major in college. So I didn’t really know a lot. I was just figuring it out by trial and error as we went. But in hemp food, I think it was it was a lot easier just because of who we were by that we were a known entity in the industry.
We were in the trade journals all the time. We were called quotes all the time. We were in food processing trade journals, we were in ingredient trade journals, we were a known, and we were in the Inc 500 I mean, only 500 of us that year, we’re on the Inc 500. So, today it’s the Inc 5000 but back then it was the 500. So I’m not convinced if anybody else could have done it very easily, if at all, including myself if it was a startup and it was only because I was already doing essentially the same business for years that I could pivot to hemp seeds, to hemp foods and make that transition.
And even though I had long hair, it was still a legitimate thing because we were a legitimate, a known legitimate company. And then I don’t know if you saw it, but I was on the Rosanne show. Rosanne Barr had an afternoon talk show for a few years on CBS and in 1999. In August, I was on that with her and we were dressed head to toe and hemp, including the shoes and aprons both of us and we made a potato salad for seven or eight-nine minutes, talked all about hemp. She tossed me softball questions about hemp.
And so we were able to educate 3 million people about hemp seed foods and about hemp seed as a food and nutrition and about hemp in general and showing our clothes and why it’s so cool and, and stuff like that. And you know that was I think to this day that was hemp foods biggest audience on TV, certainly in the US and that went a long way towards legitimizing it as well. That was 99 that was right when everybody was starting Nativa and all the competitors that were knocking me off started coming online and introducing products and it was really good to have a national tv legitimization of this new emerging segment that was happening right in front of people’s eyes.
You know, hemp had been fibre for 12,000 years, it had been food but it wasn’t utility to mankind was as a fibre crop not it’s not a food crop in 94. And then 96, when we made when we started shelling hemp seed, turned it into a fruit crop. That was what I call hemp. 2.0 is the first change in 12,000 years in hemp. And today it’s 90% of Canadian hemp so the shelled hemp seed so, Until CBD, it was the value driver for hemp in the world. And the reason to grow it was more for seed than fiber, in most places.
So that kind of thing really inspired others to get into it. And inspired Canadians to pivot from they were trying to do everything they were trying to do fiber and animal bedding and everything. And they finally said, screw that, let’s just do seed and oil. And they set their path that they’re on today.
Sonia Gomez: Pretty interesting landscape that you’re coming from just the time periods that you’re describing, and being from San Francisco myself where I spent probably seven years living there and my let’s see, I was probably Probably seven to about 11, 12 years old, my dad still lives in Nevada. So I went back all the time, during the summer to be with my dad.
The timeframe that you’re describing being in the Bay Area in the northern part, the northern part of California, what a colourful time to be there. Quite a bit was invented at that time by what you’re calling yourself the long hairs and quite a bit was brought to fruition through your guys’s creativity and, and capacity for imagination. I’m astonished right now to see the contrast in the industry now where I think we’re in phase three, what I what I would call a phase three, the pioneers, and I’ll just talk about the cannabis industry for a second the pioneers of the industry, you know, hit in the hills, practice all of the things that we’re talking about right now in the hills I call them our Strega Nonas, they were up there boiling in their little cauldrons and making these incredible medicines.
Stage Two, they all came out of the woodwork trying to create this legal industry. 2009, it was a similar time for us when we came over to Colorado from California to help write legislation that would legalise cannabis recognised as an credible gap in education.
Now phase three, we’re seeing big business come in, venture capital, bigger money, higher education is coming into this space and a lot of the originators are retreating back standing on the outside looking in and looking how hemp has moved from advocating for fibres and fuel and things like that which was in the later part of the 80s 90s, early 2000s. To it pretty much going silent around hemp as cannabis went mainstream, and now you can’t go anywhere without seeing or hearing about CBD, right, this illustrious ingredient in hemp?
What is your opinion having gone through what you’ve gone through and built what you’ve built? What is your opinion of hemp’s legacy? Do you believe that it will in fact disrupt these other industries as heavily as it’s disrupted the healthcare system? Or do you think that its main use and focus will remain inside of the healthcare system? How do you see him capabilities diversifying across these mainstream industries?
Richard Rose: And by hemp, you mean in this context CBD?
Sonia Gomez: I mean, I don’t think that the industry is mature enough to be able to differentiate but they’re still calling it industrial hemp, right? And they can’t recognize and I mean, they’re still quite literally here in the United States. And I know because I’m talking to almost everybody. They’re still saying like, Well, this is hemp. This isn’t marijuana and marijuana is different than cannabis. Right? So there’s still a pretty bad mixture here and an understanding of how to differentiate this strain of cannabis because it’s all cannabis.
So I’m really interested to just hear, you know, there’s already been a significant disruption in the food industry with hemp. Right now there’s a huge highlight on CBD. There’s many, many, many more emphasis on all of these different cannabinoids coming out. Just how do you think that this is going to go knowing what you know and having done what you’ve done for hemp?
His Thoughts About How the Industry Is Going to Go
Richard Rose: we’ll see, FDA is going to finally get off their butt and do something about CBD. I think what will happen with that is that there will be a couple of different levels, there will be drugs, approved drugs like Epidiolex and then there will be intrastate vendors just producing and selling within their state that will be able to avoid FDA to a large degree and then there will be companies that are more like wellness, health and wellness using it like they might have used ice in the past or something like that or a probiotic in the past.
So they will have a couple of different levels. I don’t think FDA is going– this has been scheduled one for almost 50 years and the most draconian laws with the heaviest enforcement with the most money thrown at it. All these years couldn’t stop a plant so far and I don’t think they’re going to be able to do so now and I think FDA recognizes that the cats out of the bag, the toothpaste is out of the tube, they’re not going to be able to get it back in so they have to figure out how to how to manage it but it’s that’s not going to change. the seat side of the food.
The golden era of hemp seed foods was in the late 90s. There were far more there were four chips on the market. The burger was on the market, the cheese there was a couple of ice creams on the market. Today you don’t see that you don’t see the kind of diversity that you saw back then it got bigger, there’s more sales, there’s more production but it didn’t get wider just got deeper. So I think there’s a tremendous amount of room still in the food industry for every food company to have hemp like kettle chips should have a hemp corn chip. Clif Bar should have a hemp bar if they don’t already.
Everybody will have a hemp version of whatever their main product line is. They’ll have a line extension that includes hemp. In terms of the food industry, my goal has been to disrupt 15% of food soy in the US and that would take about a million acres of seed to do that. That for me was the first milestone to really aim for to make it a real legitimate industry and that’s still I mean, that’s we’re still working on that goal. we’re nowhere near it yet.
Fiber I just, you know, fibers a nice idea and it’s been around 12,000 years and fiber and we’ve used it for many things, but it takes the biggest cost for infrastructure to do fine textiles, for instance, and if somebody is going to just have to bite the bullet and spend that 20 million as well as maybe another 5 million to get all the farmers within 100 miles to grow the fiber the way they want it done, which is going to be different than seed and it’s going to be different than CBD.
So I think that’s going to come last just because there’s so much emphasis right now on CBD and seed the hempcrete we still have to find a way to use this These these waste stocks that the seed in the CBD industry is generating as well as the marijuana industry is generating. Find some use form I think before we start growing thousands of acres just for fiber for virgin fiber for processing. Plus centers can AF you know people can be growing to connect from the south and starting the processing until they’re ready to pivot to hemp.
And then within hemp, there’s other products there’s terpenes there’s CVG there are cannabis and there’s can flavonoids. There’s hemp sprouts, there’s hemp juice, there’s a hemp juice powder, there’s instant mixes like instant ice cream, frozen yoghurt mixes, it could happen there’s you know, we could have hemp yoghurts and ice creams and cheese and burgers and breads and chips and and literally all that good Could be hemp.
All these people they’re doing THC infused dinners and foods, none of them that I’ve ever seen use hemp. And so they’re using they’re making a big deal about cannabis dinner. Chef was going to do a cannabis dinner. There’s no hemp seed oil, they’re using olive oil and there’s no there’s no shelled hemp seed in it anywhere so husbands can’t even get around to doing it. I don’t think we can ask craft to get around to doing it. Yeah, either.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I hundred percent agree. Okay, in closing here, we usually do what we call the words of wisdom. And this is an opportunity for us to share a little bit with our with our listeners. And just to give you some, some idea of who is listening, we have budding entrepreneurs, people who are trying to figure out how to get in, they want to get in they recognise that there’s an opportunity. They may have a unique skill set, but they’re not quite sure how to go about it or what you know what they should try and go after then then we also have the existing business owners maybe they’re hitting some sort of glass ceiling or some sort of challenge in their business.
And they’re looking for the words of wisdom to help them make that next move. You have outlined a couple of the inevitable challenges that come along with solopreneur ship or even being a can opener or him for newer. I’d love to hear from you. What are some words of wisdom that you can share with our community to help them navigate through the next steps in their business?
Words of Wisdom
Richard Rose: Whatever you think you know, is not right. So don’t think that whatever you know today about hemp or CBD or cannabis is all there is to know because I’ve been studying this 47 years I’ve been smoking 47 years for medical bipolar. It’s kept me alive. It’s kept me on this planet. I’m so I’ve been studying at 47 years 25 professionally in hemp, and I’ll tell you I learned something new every week. Sometimes every day. I learned something new. And it’s because I know I don’t know it all. Even though I know a lot about it. I don’t know it all.
And so I learned a lot every day. I think the minute you think you know it all about any subject Dunning Kruger, demons will take over and screw up your life. And you have to have an open mind, you have to have a idea that you can constantly learn about this and that you barely hardly know anything about it, even though you think you know everything about it. That being said, How do you find the information? I’m doing today? I’m doing the Richard rose report is for people like your listeners coming from an entrepreneurial background. I approach it differently. I don’t prefer workarounds for compliance, as opposed to just straight compliance in the way that maybe the regulators would want you to do it.
I look for ways that I want to do it within the compliance framework, you’re going to have to be really clever at how you move forward and I’ve rarely see anybody doing it? what I would consider, right? There’s still a lot of overhead room for improving your branding, improving your marketing, improving your product development, improving, improving your production, maybe a 10th of 1% of the products that I’ve seen or what I would say are doing it right going about it the right way.
The right intent, whatever there’s people aren’t there the industry isn’t sophisticated enough yet. And that could be a differentiation for your marketing where you are sophisticated enough and however it is that you express that to your your consumers. I suggest people follow sharp people Medical Genomics on Facebook and on the web, theRichardRosereport.com.
There’s 90% of what I see being offered out there in terms of information tends to be wrong in some aspect or only partially this story like they’re omitting a vast amount of the story that will give it more context. So I think it’s never been harder to separate the educational wheat from the chaff today and get the right information than it is today. And I think that it is never been harder to do this business than it is today.
And I think there’s never been as many forces aligned against legalisation, normalisation the way we want to see it as there are today people that are already in the business and paying big fees to the state don’t really want to see us succeed, and the dispensary marijuana dispensaries all want the CBD and sales and it’s never been more difficult than it is today. So to think you’re going to approach it like you might have approach selling tires or hair dryers or whatever your business was before is going to be a flaw and you need to find some magic in your marketing and in your operation, your business in general that you can communicate to your customers.
Sonia Gomez: Love that. Love, love, love that piece of advice. Okay, I’m going to piggyback on here, because I’m super inspired by what you just said. And I can I can never say this enough. How you do one thing is how you do everything. And I would absolutely agree with you, Richard that the no matter how many tools we have to make it easier today, it has never been more difficult.
And I think that all of the options are putting us into decision overwhelm as entrepreneurs because we don’t know which option to use or what tool to implement or, you know, whatever it is that we are in information overload and opportunity overload and I think that We are in more ways than one losing our creativity and in that process are creating a bunch of looky loos me to products.
I think that there is such a huge opportunity for innovation and creativity when it comes to this particular industry like no other time in our history have we seen an opportunity to innovate product and solutions. There’s no new ideas. There’s only an opportunity to improve the existing infrastructure so that it continues to grow and nourish more people and impact more people around the world.
So put your thinking caps on, block out the white noise like when a horse is running a race that has his blinders on because you only want it to see what’s right in front of them. Stop looking from left to right and just focus on what is right there ahead of you. The second piece of advice that I would share would be to lean on your team, asking for help is probably one of the hardest things to do but it is one of the most powerful things that you can do as a leader, ask more questions that the teaching teacher is not the one who is the leading learner.
The leading learner is out there trying to acquire the information necessary to make the next educated step in their calculated step in your venture. But if you’re just sitting there teaching, being the teaching teacher, you’re going to be regurgitating more of your own best thinking and your best thinking is what has gotten you to where you are right now. So if you’re a CBD brand, or hemp based company or an entrepreneur of any type, who feels like you’re hitting a glass ceiling, chances are that you are acting as a teaching teacher rather than the leading learner.
There’s some sort of information or a mentorship that you have to acquire in order to get yourself and your team to the next level. And then the final thing that I will say is grow slow, grow slow. What does that mean? That means not leveraging everything that you the exact moment that you have it just because you have it, you have to make really calculated moves in this industry. And if you don’t have a thick hide that is used to being chapt, this may not be the space for you. You’re going to reach more opposition than you will opportunity.
You’re not going to know how to take advantage of the opportunity that you do have. And when you finally figure it out, it could be too late. So I suggest that you grow slow, make calculated educated moves, acquire the information, education and support that you need as a leader so that your team feels inspired, motivated, and opportunistic, but optimistic about the vision that you have as a leader and where you’re actually taking this company, the rest of it will fall into place. They say know the what and the when, if you know what you want to sell when, the who and the how to make it happen will show up.
Those are my words of wisdom. Hope you guys enjoyed. Richard, thank you so much for taking the time to be here with us today. And I’d love to have a follow up call with you once I get to read more into the Richard Rose report. I think that that those are I only got to read a couple. I think they’re fantastic. And I’d love to continue to feature and share your information and story with our community.
Richard Rose: Sounds good. Thanks for having me.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. Any final words of wisdom before we end today’s episode?
Richard Rose: No, I think you know that last bit. You said hit it on the head. The leader the CEO really needs vision and persistence and the ability to read between the lines and hear the silence between the notes and to be able to figure it all out.
Sonia Gomez: Love it. Well thank you so much for the contribution that you make to my kitchen cabinets. Love your foods always have and always well so really appreciate your innovations and contributions. Can’t wait to continue to have your step inside of our story. This is incredible work that you are doing around the world. Enjoy your time in Italy. There’s an abundance of beauty and food and amazingness over there to enjoy. So enjoy.
And for those of you who are tuning in, thanks so much for being a part of this incredible community. It is our mission to empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you want to treat yourself the people that you love and the conditions you may be suffering from if you are a client looking for products that you can trust to deliver the results that you’re looking for.
Check us out on medicalsecrets.com for our personal recommendations and some news reviews. If you are a budding entrepreneur or a business owner who’s hitting that inevitable glass ceiling, check us out at the Emerald circle calm For Resources, Relationships, tools, tips, tricks and all of the other things that you may need to break through the inevitable challenges and the glass ceilings that you are hitting in your company right now. I’m your host with the most Sonia Gomez from Denver, Colorado and I will see you guys on the next episode of The Hemp Revolution . Bye for now.
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