Brandon Henry is the owner of Kalbra, one of the largest vertically-integrated manufacturers and suppliers of hemp-derived products in Pennsylvania.
He is a full-fledged alien, lover of all things cannabis-related, a fellow among fuzzy creatures, and partner to a fierce woman who is also those things.
In this episode of The Hemp Revolution Podcast, Brandon talks about the experiences that ultimately led him and his wife Kali into the cannabis space with the mission to build something that would benefit the people in the communities that they are part of.
Keep your ego in check, be willing to hold yourself accountable for the things that you ask for because bullets fly in the wild West and that’s what the green rush is right now. – Brandon Henry
Some Topics We Discussed Include
2:41 – Brandon’s history and entry into the cannabis industry
14:0 – Their social contribution plan
19:05 – Kalbra’s main focus
30:41 – Biggest hurdles that they had to overcome or currently working on to stay relevant to this crowded marketplace
38:21 – Key pieces of advice to entrepreneurs to be successful in the cannabis space
52:39 – Where to find them
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Brandon Henry
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up, guys? Sonia Gomez, coming to you from Denver, Colorado. Super excited to be here with you on another rock your socks episode of The Hemp Revolution Podcast, where we are sharing and telling the real story of the cannabis and hemp industry from the perspective and the eyes of the entrepreneurs. And changemakers who are pushing this incredible industry forward?
If you’re somebody looking for products that you can trust to deliver the results that you’re looking for, go ahead and check us out at medicalsecrets.com, we are happy to help. And if you are an entrepreneur looking for tools, tips, tricks, resources are relationships that you can use to build and grow a successful business in the space, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com. We have many things from our sleeves that can benefit you.
Today, you guys, I am super excited to bring yet another incredible entrepreneur. Actually, there’s a pair of them, but you’ll only be able to see one of them on video today. Our guest is a full-fledged alien, lover of all things cannabis-related a fellow among fuzzy creatures and partner to a fierce woman who was also embarking a lot of those things. Their focus has been building and growing an incredible company who never fails to make a massive impact in their community, for the people and patients that they are serving with the products that they are creating.
Help me welcome to our show today to tell a little bit more about his story and what– they have come through the trials and tribulations that they have overcome to operate their business in today’s marketplace. Help me welcome our good friend, Brandon Henry. How’s it going?
Brandon Henry: Thank you so much, Sonia, for that fantastic introduction. I don’t think anyone’s ever been so eloquent when they’ve been introducing me, so I feel flattered.
Sonia Gomez: Well, good. That’s a great way to kick off the show. Happy New Year to you, happy to be here with you today. Why don’t you quick and dirty tell everybody a little bit about who you are, what your background is, and how you ended up in the canna boom.
Brandon’s History and Entry into the Cannabis Industry
Brandon Henry: Wow. Awesome keywords there and catchphrase. I sort of– For me, I guess my story is a lot in retrospect of the experiences that just transgress throughout my life whether it’s been in the body art industry, the instant gratification of helping people and seeing that smile on their face when you provide a service to the end-user. And I guess some of my experiences led me to areas to learn more about how money spread.
So, while I was following passions in the body art industry, I ended up in Las Vegas, and I ended up figuring out how those systems work getting to serve people with millions and millions of dollars that were coming there for a short experience, a business adventure, they were participating in conventions, nightlife, whatever it was, I got to sort of see how people who have money, spend money, and then people who have money plan to make more money. And sort of just get to see how the whole racket works.
And funny enough towards my end of that journey, I met Kali and then our worlds collided and I think moving forward with her at 32 years old I was at a time, what happened was that I was looking for somebody that I could build something that had stability and longevity. And we all look towards the things that were positive in our lives. And we decided that if we were going to be together, and if we were going to build something together, we wanted it to be something that benefited people benefited the communities that we were a part of on a daily basis, and really just wanted to take what we had put in our life experiences together and be able to sell it or provided to the end-user with the utmost transparency and so we stumbled on cannabis–not stumbled on, we just went through the list.
Well, we could go to t-shirt companies, apparel companies, we’ve got the connections to do. We looked at what our budget was for the amount of cannabis we consumed. Then in pursuit of these other passions, and we said, You know what, I think there’s a better way to do this, there’s a better way to take the evolution of the industry and where it stands today and get involved with people to better educate them on sort of what the processes, so much is left to be said about.
You showing up to Walmart, Amazon, or any of these other big manufacturers, big box stores, and you pay the price. You don’t even question. You don’t even question when hand lotion or any of these other things cost a certain amount of money. You don’t worry about where they get their vitamin E from, or in these other things. And the medical industry has long, sort of built its back on their regulations and then people that had to fight to get those regulations in place just so that we could even deliver something as wholesome as cannabis to somebody to an end-user.
So we just looked at the entire system and said that there’s a better way to build this mousetrap. There’s a better way to lead somebody information; there’s a better way to get people involved in their own particular health and being conscious about what’s going on in their life and what they’re consuming. And especially when it comes to cannabis because of the positivity and the positive impact it can have on anyone given user, depending on what their application is.
So, I mean, I guess what I do is I look at systems, and I try to build them a little bit better. I’m really, really good at integration. Really, really comfortable in chaos. And if the cannabis industry is anything, it’s chaos, so sort of feel right at home.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, well, first of all, you’re really fortunate that you found a Betty to run the gauntlet with you. I love couple-own businesses; they add an extra layer of flavor to the cake. Sometimes it’s an onion. Sometimes it’s a cake. I’ve worked with my husband, who’s been my best friend. Well, not my best friend, but like a figure in my life, he was like a big brother or like a total buddy. He’s ten years older than me and was friends with my parents, and so I spent a lot of time with him as a young person as a 14-year-old kid. I was like, Dad going to my friend’s house to borrow his truck to go to a fucking reggae festival for five days with an ounce of chronic, so don’t worry about me. I’ll be back in a week. And that was his house.
Brandon Henry: So just ready to get turnt up over here.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, get turnt up. So anyway, it was really cool because that’s where I got my first sort of taste of entrepreneurialism was working with my now husband’s lotion company topical company. He was in business with his previous wife. And now we’ve been in business together for almost 20 years. So it definitely adds another layer of interest to the already challenging but extremely exciting industry.
Being in Las Vegas, that is a landscape that– I spent two weeks there recently. I was done with Vegas, but I wasn’t done with the cannabis scene. You cannot even make it to every dispensary in Las Vegas in two weeks if you tried. There’s so much to see because in Vegas, everything is like huge and it’s all about size. And it’s just nuts.
I went around and didn’t really spend any quality time in the dispensaries, or the CBD stores are trying to get a real perspective of what the landscape is looking like out there was pretty challenging. And are you working on both the THC and the CBD side or just one or the other?
Brandon Henry: So currently in the state of Pennsylvania, we operate an industrial hemp research pilot program. No, commercial permit. It’s a research permit in which we’ve chosen debate objectives. Objectives on the state pilot, seed certification market, the different genetic varieties a bunch of different objectives.
I’m currently at this point in time– we are interested in one particular license in Nevada. And we’ve been talking back and forth about whether or not it’s going to get sold or if it’s going to stay in the company or anything like that. It’s tied to a building and a lot of information about whether or not I’m going to continue on the medicinal side or the recreational side, especially given that some of my early entries into the space in Las Vegas have to do with recreational licensing and medicinal licensing.
Currently, I don’t see an end to the loop in the medicinal system, the recreational system until the whole legalization occurs, or until adult uses are nationwide. Much like a lot of industries, the discussion of the barrier for entry, whether it’s for minorities or those suffering injustices from the war on drugs. It’s hard to explain that it takes $10,000 a month, to retain an attorney for the length of time before the state even opens up applications just to make sure [00:10:12 inaudible] 500 pages ready to go.
And you got to be ahead of that curve six months. So if you’re not in the market predominantly ahead of time, there’s no room for you to come a time that the licenses go up. And so I think it’s gonna be really, really hard to counterbalance some new legislation with some old ways and have the end-user understand that barrier for entry is always going to exist because it has to do with the risk and the accountability that you personally are willing to take in order to get into space in order to really truly put yourself in position to help the end-user and profit from because there’s profit to be had for sure, but not without you making sure that your plan is in place and you’re trying to move backward from the end result of helping the user.
It’s sort of like a political thing if you think about it right now, I have 100, dispensers, 200 dispensers, and everyone’s got a really great product, and everybody’s growing or purchasing from top to your growers. But what’s not happening is, those growers in those dispensaries aren’t sharing their knowledge with their database or their users, or collectively throwing up conventions or parties together with each other to explain the cost of doing business so that when mold shows up in someone’s batch that a different dispensary doesn’t take that as an advantageous thing and jack up their prices on the same strain that they know that they have a limited supply of.
There’s just a lot of rackets and internal things going on in the industry that are a lot more negative than they should be. So at this present point in time, I see myself and Kali moving forward in states that have research permits available. Only research permits non-commercial permits. We’re interested in figuring out how to get a quality product to the end-user at an affordable price while explaining the process. It would have cost to do business in the cannabis space.
CBD alone, the raw material cost has dropped. It’s 10% of what it was last year. I don’t know why that’s not reflected in prices when it comes to the end-user. I don’t know why that’s not being explained by some of the bigger players in the business, dollars—not explaining.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, it’s frustrating. I recognize that exact same thing. And a lot of what I’m doing in the industry is creating accountability internally. I think a lot of folks in this space have a skewed mentality. The school of hard knocks that I come from is a very collaborative farm type, environment, and culture where the people of the hills they come together to talk about what’s happening in the soil and what’s happening in the water and what’s happening with the phenos and the person who’s sourcing the clones and or managing clones in genetics and supplying to everybody can give a lot of history about the plant and the people who are cultivating can give a lot of history about the growth process and the ones who are distributing.
I mean, it’s a very collaborative ecosystem in order to ensure the success of everyone’s farm, and everyone makes money. This new-age culture of cannabis has certainly eliminated that cold, those collaborative efforts and a lot of cases and made every man for themselves type culture, and it’s pretty disturbing for me because, at the end of the day, the end-user is the one that everyone’s relying on to build a profitable business and everyone’s– I really like– I’ll come back to it in a second. I really like how you talked about the frame of mind that you had when you were thinking about getting into the industry and what were the key considerations, then the way that you described the importance of making an impact was pretty unique.
I can definitely sense that sincere passion where a lot of other brands that I’ve spoken to have somewhat of a staged passion about it, like, they feel like it’s necessary to say, like, Oh, I want to make this massive impact in the world and blah, blah, blah, and I’m like, okay, that’s cool. But like, what is your social contribution plan?
Their Social Contribution Plan
Brandon Henry: I’m trying to make 100 million dollars. Don’t ever sleep on the fact that if the game was about bottle caps, I’d be out there trying to get myself some fucking bottle caps. Yeah, it is that money makes the world go round. For me to feel comfortable about the way I’m making money, I know that it has to be about something more than me.
If I make 100 million dollars, and I do it in a non-egregious fashion as I really, really put my heart forward. And I make sure that the way people react to how we’re doing business is the same feeling I got when I was in the piercing and tattoo industry, and that same gratification of the end-user, that’s still there because that’s what fills me up. That’s there, and I know I’m not doing anything wrong.
And so there’s that thing in life, we’re selfish isn’t a bad thing. It’s when you’re selfish, and you’re negatively affecting everybody’s life, and you don’t give a shit. This is [inaudible] selfish and making sure that what you’re not negatively affecting anyone, you’re helping them, and if somebody misinterprets what’s your messages is, he can go fuck it up, because I don’t have time for that. I need to hold your hand and show you how to wake up every day and get to work following whatever dream it is that you’ve got.
I’ve had these dreams since I was 14 years old. And the only reason why I’m here today is because I put myself here. The only reason why I’m here talking to you today is because you saw something in what we do, and you reached out, and we decided It was a match. There’s no excuses for anything. There’s no– I mean, I make them everybody. I make excuses. Get out of bed at 9 o’clock or 7 o’clock. Bla blah blah blah Okay [00:16:13 inaudible] I’ll catch up later I’ll stay [00:16:15 unintelligible] at work. That’s an excuse. I am a little more tired enough to stay late last night. Those are excuses, but I made all of those things happen. I made all those things possible.
So there’s either a point where you’re accountable for every transgression, whether negative or positive, or you just gonna walk through life wondering why the fuck you get knocked upside the head by. So here I am doing what I know how to do best, which is putting the groundwork in to have conversations like this with people like you so that the message gets heard by more people. That’s an important thing.
Sonia Gomez: I love the emphasis on research. I think that that’s definitely something that I have not heard. I talk a lot about like, what’s the plan? What are your guys’ business plans? How are you going to expand? How do you compete in a marketplace where brands are being released by the dozens every single day. Everyone wants to come in. Everyone’s creating a me-to product.
I have literally dozens of samples that are sent to me on a regular basis. And I’m vetting through all of them. I’m vetting through all of them all the time. And today was the first time that I’ve heard in a very long time unless I’m speaking to somebody who’s more scientifically oriented but today’s the first time that I’ve heard a business owner saying we’re not really interested in being in the rec or medical space. We want to be ahead of the curve and following the research. That’s really super interesting to me.
I’m very, very involved with research. We have a super-strong medical refugee community here in Colorado and in California. A lot of people who have been moving into our states for a long time because they can’t get safe access and my whole journey with cannabis And being an advocate for it starts by being a patient whose rights were violated in California as a patient and had to go through a three year pretty rigorous legal battle where I was treated like a narcotic user and addict, and it was $20,000 in fines and about I don’t know 25 hours a week in rehab for three years for being caught with cannabis in the wrong county even though I was a registered patient.
After all of that, I have like so drawn to being able to share the truth about cannabis so people can really understand the medicinal properties and I don’t think that there’s enough emphasis on that and the cannabis and hemp community have a lot of power into being able to contribute to how the science is unfolding whether or not we get public funding or not, we are capable of privately funding or supporting the research and development side of this industry so that we can be in business for a long time.
What is your guys’ main focus, I want to talk about your products first, and how that trickles down to the very beginning, which starts with the research and quality of the product that you start with.
Kalbra’s Main Focus
Brandon Henry: So a lot of the things we do happen by chance. And it’s my job to either integrate or abandon, right, put it in the parking lot. So, when we first got into this space, you know, we were involved with a company through white labeling, right? White labeling routers selling their product for them. We actually [00:19:43 inaudible] Yeah, we were approached by somebody in Texas, who was interested in using what we were putting in place as an accelerator platform to help other entrepreneurs enter the space right.
His goal was to help give 1000 entrepreneurs a $1 million annual recurring revenue, space, and never [00:20:00 unintelligible] to shove. We go back and forth. I’m looking for more answers because I’m a completely transparent person. And I’m not getting all the answers. I can’t figure out why. So as good as I am with figuring out how rackets are woven and how spikes are put on wheels, I basically tell them to fuck themselves.
And this is really easy to do by your suit. You exited a company in a completely different business. You have no business in this business. You’re trying to do. I got a little bit upset, but at the same time, I use is a little upset as motivation. The funny thing is, even knowing that that moment exists, there’s a possibility to turn it into a positive, right? I wish no ill will on him, his family, or anything that he does, anything that he puts together and anyone that he can successfully help do what it is he helped set out to do.
I think he will be wildly successful in doing something secular or for myself in Kali. I saw it as a reason to take our passions in the choices we were making and the risks we’re willing to make a mistake by going to Texas visiting people going to North Carolina visiting people Louisiana, Kansas, Iowa, all these other places that we’re going to visit people making personal deliveries, products that aren’t ours, just to see really what the stories were from those individuals, it led us to know that our networks were what was going to be able to connect. And that’s what was going to be able to sustain the growth of what it is that we asked for.
And that’s really what it is, Sonia. It’s putting a plan in place, and it’s asking for it. Right? It’s me personally, being able to sit down and look at 400 possible futures depending on what’s going on, what I do, in this instance, what happens in this instance, and working backward from them, and just saying, you know what, okay, this is what I have to do today because if I don’t do this, and this doesn’t happen. Boom. All right, I’m on this path. This is the path I’m on. This is what I’ve got in front of me.
So, we got when, I say research, I mean day to day business. Because every single day, you have an opportunity to change anything that you’re doing for the positive, right. So if something’s not working for you make it work, or leave it alone for right now, work on the things that are working. So they feel more uplifting about what you are accomplishing. So, when we set out to make our own oils, we had to figure some of the best carriers out there, figure out which companies were tracing their base materials, which companies that were doing HPLC testing, we’re also asking all of those companies that we’re sending an oil for a sample of their base oil so that they had up to Siebel to run it through, to make sure that the machine was always calibrated.
Instead of just sending it off to a laboratory that’s brand new, and they run an HPLC machine for 500 runs, and they never calibrate who knows what’s going on. Maybe never once they’ve seen a base sample from an individual company.
Sonia Gomez: Yes, I noticed a lot of people just don’t know what they don’t know. And they’re successful in other spaces, and they come in with that same sort of mentality, but this plan is really super unique, and it challenges us in ways that we don’t expect until it’s almost too late. And so that built-in industry accountability is really important where that collaboration where we say like, hey, lab, have you recalibrated your machine? Like, where are you at with this level of compliance? Did you hear about such and such and it becomes collaborative efforts. So I totally invite in, and I agree with exactly what you’re saying, continue. Sorry.
Brandon Henry: Oh, you’re more than all right. I could talk forever. I could talk for hours about it because that’s how much this plant means to me. That’s how much I feel like it’s contributed to where I am today. I’ve never once ever looked at the use of cannabis either in a psychoactive or non-psychoactive form as being something abusive in my life. I’ve seen other people abuse it, and I don’t mean that they abuse it in the way that I see it as abuse. I mean, I’ve used it in the way that you can tell through how their life is that they are abusing it and that’s, that’s just a result in reality, or you could abuse grapes, so and they’re fantastic little fruits, delicious. I eat too many; my stomach hurts.
So I’ve had a lot of these things are always going to lead back to sort of their strategic option to show up, right? I got a list of things on the board– I’m staring at a list here right now because the sort of towards the end of last year, through our research and learning we learned that having a retail store, a brick and mortar in the area we had it, although fantastic for traffic, fantastic for visual stability in a community where it was located in the community. With the ease of access to the building, just getting off the road into the parking lot, one of two parking lots was actually stressful. So how can I offer cannabis in an environment where just getting off the road to come to visit the dispensary was stressful.
Sonia Gomez: Yes.
Brandon Henry: Stressful. Like, to me, that was too much. So just that one thought led us to the idea that you know what, let’s just serve this up as a pop-up. And then we’ll do everything we can in 2020 to get involved in local farmer’s markets, throw local conventions, local events, invite other business owners to it. And not as like, Hey, we’re on the top of the mountain here. But as a Hey, just so you know, there’s a big hole hill to climb and so you guys are doing business in an excellent way in your own communities. Is there a way we can work together?
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, yeah, love that. That’s a lot of what we focus on with The Hemp Revolution. And all of our platforms is like, everybody’s running the race, guys, no need to push each other into the mud, like, how can we move forward together and there’s going to be a natural process of elimination, and that whole thing that I mean, naturally, people aren’t going to be able to keep up because of whatever their habits are, however, they’re confronted by their trials and tribulations.
So I think that right now the industry is going through a pretty significant cleansing and I think that the folks who survive that sort of tsunami of compliance and everything are going to be tapping and I’m already feeling the vibe change, where everyone was like, yeah, we’re postured to be so amazing. And we’re the bee’s knees of the industry and blah, blah, blah, those same people are like, “so, did you say that you had somebody who could help me with?” Now they’re actually reaching out for help. So the community thing that you’re talking about is so, so important.
Brandon Henry: I have no problem. Like I discussed finances with people all the time. I discuss reasons like we’re talking about the say reasons why we go about doing things, and I have no problem telling you that I’m the kind of person that’s comfortable in the chaos. So for me, it’s 95% on the table all the time. So it doesn’t matter. You know, it’s worth it if, if our goal is helping 25 million people through cannabis is realized by providing dollar pre-rolls to a distributor who’s then going to put them out for $5 apiece, and he sells 10,000 of them, and I get to help 10,000 people through one sale. That’s how I consider it. I don’t say to myself, I lost $40,000.
I don’t look at it that way. I just [00:27:12]. Man, I was lucky enough to be able to grow something, package it, go through the entire process that I’ve worked my ass off to be able to just wake up and work out every day. And my business profit because of it. I don’t mean that a profit. I mean, like, we made a little bit of money, selling some pre-rolls and helped a whole lot of people. And I know because of that, I’ll make more money tomorrow. That’s okay. I don’t have to make all the money today. Right.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah.
Brandon Henry: Three days from now. I don’t know that for a fact, but I’m just saying.
Sonia Gomez: One of my mentors said, to sit with the classes, you have to serve the masses. And it takes almost ten years to get to that place where you’re sitting truly comfortable.
Brandon Henry: [00:28:01] absolutely right.
Sonia Gomez: Yes. So it’s very interesting to watch. I mean, the people that are advising me are folks who have taken multiple companies public, there are some of the largest financial providers for the industry in the hundreds of millions and close to billions is what they’re putting into this thing, and so they’re talking to me about how to build the business and what’s necessary and the trials and tribulations that come along with building a regular business let alone one that requires you to put every single thing on the line as a risk factor to grow.
Brandon Henry: You’re really good at not name dropping?
Sonia Gomez: Yes.
Brandon Henry: We’re the same, and it’s incredible because my favorite are the kind of guys that started the same way I did. Either by having a small plot of land and just running it and being successful at it and moving from their hometown and getting into an area that was thriving and budding, no pun intended with the industry and getting involved in licensing right and then those guys eventually got involved with bigger guys and the series.
Funding for buildings and huge grows and that then they exit right and then they’re running hedge funds for large scale investment in the cannabis space, and they moved to Toronto to take it multinational and trade on the Canadian [00:29:27 inaudible] Can you first think about that. Imagine you have somebody like that, and I’m sure we [00:29:31 inaudible] similar people that do that. It’s just that’s the scale of the game today. It’s not running 50 pounds across the country [00:29:38 inaudible] up charging 1000 when it hits Chicago and another bang. Like that’s–
Sonia Gomez: I don’t know anything about that. I’ve never done it.
Brandon Henry: Yes, same.
Sonia Gomez: Yes, I watched a couple of good movies that will blow was a really great movie where I saw a lot of that stuff happen.
Brandon Henry: [00:29:59 inaudible]
Sonia Gomez: Okay, I have to ask you this because everybody has their own perspective. We’ve alluded to the trials and tribulations that come along with the industry. I have a lot of budding entrepreneurs and established business owners who are listening to this segment of our show. And a lot of the feedback that I get is like, wow, I had no idea that that’s what these companies are facing from the business owners who are already in business. They’re like Ah, yes, me too. It feels good to be able to relate, knowing that somebody else is having these same struggles. I’d love to hear from you what has been two or three of the biggest challenges they can be past or current? What are some of the biggest hurdles that you have had to overcome or that you’re working to overcome right now, in order to stay relevant in a crowded marketplace, or to be the cream of the crop and really rise to the top?
Biggest Hurdles That They Had to Overcome or Currently Working on to Stay Relevant to This Crowded Marketplace
Brandon Henry: That’s a great question. I’m just doing me, Sonia. I really am. I read a lot of things on timelines on social media. I really do my absolute best to steer clear of any nonsense, although I only get involved in trolling when I feel really good like I’ve done enough today I can actually dedicate to trolling. No, not in all actuality.
The things that are the worst are explaining to people how the canna of business is different than every other type of business currently on the market. And that means you can be great at marketing, you can be great at social media management, you can do great all these things, and every being single one of them has got this hiccup as soon as you throw the word cannabis behind. And I mean cannabis and all forms–cannabis Sativa L, any genus that you’re speaking industrial hemp, medical, marijuana, whatever it is concentrates. It doesn’t matter. It’s all got a twist to it.
The next thing people always say is, what do you do about banking? What do you do about this man? Well, it’s not just banking. It’s how do you do employee payroll taxes? Where do you throw the cash for that? Because if you start throwing cash at the federal government, or you start putting it on paper legally, ahead of time, and they shut down your tax account, and you don’t have an escrow set up to pay your employees, then how are they going to get paid out at the end of the day?
Because you got to go to the tax office in the first three weeks of any given year and drop off a cashier’s check, hopefully on an account that you’re ready to just allow to be shut down after it gets processed through is acceptable taxes. So nevermind just banks on getting your online accounts processed. It’s why you can’t have a PayPal, and you can buy this stuff on eBay regularly for yourself if you want to just do any sort of business on eBay, and I don’t mean cannabis. I mean, just go shopping for something. Apart from my car or something like I can’t buy it because I don’t have a PayPal account. That isn’t somehow attached to a bank account that got shut down.
So the ins and outs of it all or just have to do with cannabis, it has to do with the stigmas surrounding cannabis and just how long it’s been since people can even conceive that there are people like you and people like me out there that operate on a daily basis by using cannabis and we operate at a very high level. And without being too condescending, and how you compare operating levels of one individual to another fucking function a lot higher than a lot of people.
Sonia Gomez: Yes.
Brandon Henry: And I smoke a lot of weed. So I’m not quite sure why you can continue to eat. If you just studied me, as research to negative or positive effects of cannabis be like yeah, that’s Brandon being negative, he smoked too much. It’s 11:30 at night, he’s got a gallon of chocolate milk next to him and some cookies. Might be abusing cannabis right now. But 7:30, 8 o’clock in the morning my back hurts because we put an hour and a half in at the gym the night before and we ran around driving 250 miles of machinery to get some– yeah, you know what I smoked in the morning, and all that pain is gone, and everything’s gone, and my mind is clear, and I’m ready to go I’m ready to have conversations like this with people and continue to let people understand. When I say let me, I could keep this all here and never tell you anything, and I can still work just as diligently. But I’m pleased and humbled to be able to even be open to conversations like this. Wow. I’m fucking stone.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah. I love how you position it because most of the time, I hear like the surface level challenge of being like, oh, merchant processing or banking has been or marketing and advertising. But what I hear you saying is like having to get into the nuances and really having an educated person who can connect and collaborate with you, understanding the ins and outs of what it actually takes to be effective in banking or processing payments, marketing effectively and connecting and collaborating or converting clientele and traffic. I mean, I come across this all the time, because we have been so effective in the online marketing space. I can’t say that I’ve been as effective– I’ve never tried the offline but online, I’m crushing it and we’re–
Brandon Henry: You mean B2B going to a business to business or business–
Sonia Gomez: Yes, business a business offline has not really been something that I’ve focused on in the last eight years or whatever. When I was running my big brick and mortar business, obviously, we sold out a wholesale the first day like all kinds of stuff like that. So, offline stuff, sure, I could probably crush it, but I just haven’t focused my attention there. I used to work with the Paul Mitchell organization as an educator, and I used to take like mom and pop shops and turn them into Paul Mitchell culture salon, so I know that I would thrive there but my time and attention has been focused on developing the online distribution space for cannabis and hemp, starting with education and now moving into actual units of products.
And because we’re such a big influencer in the marketplace, we attract a lot of other influencers who want to learn how to do what we do the way that we do it. So we’re able to help a lot of brands get connected directly with ambassadors who can effectively move units through their communities.
And now we’re using the voice of the people to bring the product to the people. And it’s like for us, by us, for you, by us type of energy, you know, and it’s really super cool to see because it’s a very collaborative effort with the company and the ambassador to make sure that these units are moving in the ecosystem, but a lot of big brands name marketing agencies don’t know that, and they try and use real-world tactics in this New Age industry that don’t work, and a lot of companies are spending time and money on people and projects that are not going to give them a return, and it’s really super frustrating for people like myself who are actually effectively marketing, and we don’t bullshit, and we have a history with the plant and the industry.
It’s really frustrating to see people’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles change to like, CBD marketing expert. Like, “no, you’re not my friend. Yesterday you were selling home business opportunities.”
Brandon Henry: Yes, yes, mortgage brokers stuff like that I think–
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally. Totally. Okay. Let me ask you a different question because I think that this is really important, and you’re offering a unique perspective here. In your opinion, while there are many budding entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the canna boom, right as this is a booming industry, we have a reputation for being a cash-rich industry. And I think that there’s a lot of fallacy or falsehood that is communicated through mass media because we have such a “cash-rich” industry.
My question for you is, what would be some key pieces of advice that you would offer a “budding entrepreneur” who’s looking at the market, wants to get involved but may not know what is ahead of him or a few miles down the road and can offer some perspective. So in this segment, we call the words of wisdom. I want to hear directly from you what would be some key pieces of advice that you would offer the budding entrepreneur people who are wanting to get started here and need to know like, what some key considerations or some shortcuts to success would be while getting involved here?
Key Pieces of Advice to Entrepreneurs to Be Successful in the Cannabis Space
Brandon Henry: Rad question. Keep your ego in check. That’s all I got. And I mean in the most humble way possible. I have an ego. My ego is trapped in this bubble right here around me. You guys can’t see it. It’s my own little universe. And every time I get an opportunity to somebody welcome to the opportunity, my universe is able to ripple through there.
And I think that’s really the best advice I can ever give anybody is that stay in control of your bubble, stay in control of your ego, staying stay in control of the plan. Because if you plan in here, by taking in all the experiences, all the things you’re able to read, all the people you’re able to talk to, you’ll know what you’re capable of. You’ll know what you’re asking of yourself, you’ll know, if you’re up to the challenge, and the only person you’ll have to blame if you’re not as yourself.
So, I think a lot of those words of wisdom. They always go back to just showing up. Like, if [00:39:35 unintelligible] are talking to each other figuring out a plan, I gotta be willing to know what’s an absolute No. And you know what the possibilities are in between the absolute Yes to the absolute Yes. And [00:39:45 unintelligible] and do this. This is yes, yes, yes. All right, cool. We figure something out, we really, really work at it, and then we hold ourselves accountable for the system that we put in place.
If it doesn’t work, we have to go back and look at the system. We can’t go move on to the next system and try to put something new in place if the old system is broken. The old system needs more people to maintain it. It needs something new and innovative to make it groundbreaking. And I think that’s the fun part about the research that was mentioned. So, for me, the words of wisdom would be keep your ego in check, be willing to hold yourself accountable for the things that you ask for because bullets fly in the wild West, and that’s what the green rush is right now.
So, you can easily get taken out by one. You could easily shoot in the direction and hit some money, don’t think you’re going to be eaten. There’s a lot of people in this industry that are connected on a level for decades, and they’re trying to do a lot of the same things too. Not to get off-topic, but you see a lot of growers and communities out in the West that has moved into the legal hemp space because the recreational medicinal cannabis space has been abused by legislation.
California was amazing for many years, up to 15 to 64, and then 2200 licenses and the price of cannabis crashes and people wonder why extractors are able to take half and a half totaling agreements even in the first month to two months of legal cannabis farm sorry full-fledged legalization in California yet $400 a pound for medical for almost six months.
And processors were able to buy it up, left and right now put their extraction in stores and then wait until licenses opened up in other states and set up the same process with the same machines that they have running in those states in new states, and then license out their name to themselves under a new entity and a new state keep all their stockpiles here sell it when the market comes up here and then start producing a new state that has no market where they have one of 10 licenses, and then they go sell the building that has no machines left in it in California for an escalated price on a license. They paid 1000 bucks for but attached to a building, that’s a million bucks, it’s worth 5 million. So there’s money everywhere, Sonia. But it’s just you got to be willing to sleep at night. You got to show up. You got to ask for the right things. You got to feel good at the end of the day knowing that you’re helping the end-user that we’re not building some sort of racket on the back end that just flops everybody else over.
And people keep paying an arm and a leg for medicine that for all intents if as long as handled appropriately, shouldn’t really cost that much. Just we got to go through these hoops right now.
Sonia Gomez: One of the things that have been a theme in your in the interview today has been showing up. That has definitely been a theme, and you consistently say that, and I think that that is a universal rule. I was actually just having a conversation with my son about this the other day. He’s a high performing athlete. He wants to go to play college football. He’s training with a couple of retired NFL players here, and we had to have a sit down with him the other day because he, during the season, he wasn’t showing up for the early morning sessions, he has to show up three days a week at [00:43:11 inaudible] in the morning, and do his recovery and watch film or whatever, and he didn’t do it, so we had to sit down.
And these retired NFL players who have fuckin packs of ice over here, and like, in all scheduled surgeries to rebuild their fucking craniums and like, all this crazy stuff, they sat down, and they were like, do you really want to play ball? And my son was like, “Yeah, yeah, I really want to play ball,” and they were like, yeah, there’s 100% chance that you’re going to end up injured and having to rebuild a body part and having to do things that you’re never going to want to do.
And you want to know why only 3% of the people who apply to play football it at a competitive level make it? And he was like because they’re strong because they’re big because they’re this Because of that, it’s because they’re black or like whatever the reason was, it was anything except one that they gave him. And they were like, you know what puts people like me and this guy over here on the team, the fact that we show up when nobody else does, and showing up is half the trick.
And then the second half of that is how you show up. And so I will piggyback off of what you’re saying with the words of wisdom to say that how you do what you do is everything. And showing up is the hardest part. But showing up in a way that builds the reputation for longevity is something completely different. And integrity is something that’s being lost faster than the quality of the product in this industry. With more newbies, we’re compromising quality every single day.
The highest leverage that somebody has in this industry right now is their history and knowledge of working with this plant when it wasn’t mainstream, and how they can apply their knowledge and expertise to a new age marketplace and maintain quality all the way through. However, in this process, we have seen an incredible drop off of the integrity of a person.
Back in the day and still even today, this entire industry is all about who you know. Back in the day, you had to know a guy who knew a guy to get your bag, right? If you wanted the perks, if you wanted the rapper’s weed, you had to know a guy who knew a guy who was growing that shit in the middle of downtown or out in the humble hills. And it was really sad to me to see the cannabis culture of my past because I’m from Mendocino and Northern California, the cannabis culture of my past which was the Strega Nonas and the witches of the woodlands who were making and conjuring all of these incredible medicines and growing the most beautiful craft cannabis and Korean natural farming and brewing their own teas and doing all this cool stuff, that cannabis culture is dying.
And now the conversation that we’re hearing and seeing is about how we can drive farm and not use the world’s resources. And how we can create the highest quality product for the lowest cost so that we can stay competitive with a marketplace that doesn’t respect the expertise. And that’s how we’re showing up right now. And the end-user is the one that suffers. I know because I’m talking to them every single day.
They’re saying to me, why does this product work for only so long, but then it stops working? How come I can’t find something that is consistently available for me or whatever the complaint is. So I will bring it back to how you do one thing is how you do everything. This is a relationship-based business. So when you come into this space, be prepared to leverage your network, because that will be your net worth. When it comes to your word, your integrity, and your trust value, can people trust you in this industry?
When you come into this space, be prepared to leverage your network, because that will be your net worth. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
The final thing that I will say as a piece of the Word of Wisdom is to focus on the quality of person rather than the quality of the product, know what problem you want to solve for what person and produce your product from there Everyone is always thinking about, oh, I want to have a tincture, I want to have lotion, I want to have a vape, I want to have this, suck the product, think about the person that you want to serve and what problem you want to solve for them and the product will be a result of the problem that you want to solve for the person and make sure that anything and everything that you do is because of the passion that you have to solve that problem for that person, not because you want the profitability.
Focus on the quality of the person rather than the quality of the product, know what problem you want to solve for what person, and produce your product from there. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
Profitability is the direct result of the value that you’re bringing into the marketplace, and the leverage that you have to bring that value, and the marketplace will respond with revenue. So those are my pieces of wisdom for you guys. How you do one thing is how you do everything. This is a relationship-based business. And it’s a very small community of people. So if you don’t do it right, you’re gonna get pushed out before you get pulled in.
Profitability is the direct result of the value that you're bringing into the marketplace. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
Brandon Henry: I can’t agree more. I couldn’t agree anymore. There are always problems to solve, right? Instead of making more find the solutions. There’s one thing to be said about staying competitive by adopting industry standards. Attend, meet, and exceed them in an attempt to set regulatory standards and not just the fly by night standards that do exist and in certain businesses and even on my own. I must be 100% transparent; that’s what research has always been tough.
Sonia Gomez: Yes.
Brandon Henry: Okay. What would somebody do, and if they were at home, okay, this is probably what they do? Well, how clean is it? Well, we can test how clean it is through laboratory standards. Okay, cool. So let’s start there. Let’s make a home setup. Let’s do it that way. All right. Let’s make one all stainless steel at home. Let’s move on to the CGMP facility and see how that works. Let’s do the same setup in a lab facility with positive ion filtration. Let’s see what the cost differences and what the quality differences and you’ll find a happy medium, we have, and it’s only taken us almost a little under two years, a little under two years we’ve been processing online that Kali and I have moved into a CGLP FDA compliant in a laboratory space.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing. Love that.
Brandon Henry: Right, and the building is working on at 17025:2005 certification. It’s already ISO compliant 9000 CGM E. We do on-site h HPLC. And send out for third party tests for everything that we do.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing.
Brandon Henry: And it’s–
Sonia Gomez: You guys should send me some products so I can do an unboxing and review. I love doing that stuff. And there’s always folks who are like, Hey, what’s the best product or can do no product in my area worth word crazy on compliance We work really closely with the FDA.
Brandon Henry: We’re pulling back, like as much as I was telling you about that working into that. You know, that’s the 2020 site. Right. That’s the research that’s [00:50:14] site for last year. So telling entrepreneurs where they should be, Well, I hope they get involved with people like you. I hope somehow that this reaches them, and they can reach out to you, and you can ask if there’s anything I can do to help in certain situations if you think I can’t, because I don’t always go looking for new things like that, because we’re dialing in the old things. 2019, as a first-year pilot research program, was Kali, and I are spending a lot of money figuring out how do we make sure that we do it right. And we tried to push people really, really hard to see what level of commitment that they had. Because commitment is tied to accountability. Right.
One of my favorite books that you mentioned in like a quick note, some books, and one of them does It’s The Five Dysfunctions of a team. And it’s by Patrick Lencioni. And it’s a business fable. And it’s a story about how the absence of trust, fear of conflict, the lack of commitment, the avoidance of accountability, and your attention to the results are what really can fundamentally be any story you want it to be. That business fable is just somebody else describing what the absolute dream is, or the definition is by the context of those five values.
So give your life some value, put some values to the business, and hold yourself accountable for all the trials and the research that you’ve done. And move forward with whatever dream that you have. Just don’t spend as much money on the research if you already know there’s something to learn from the old research. Don’t run up the hill by yourself carrying a 50-pound bag if it’s easier to do with five other people, 10 pounds at a time. And that’s really what this is. It’s a business right now that’s sort of in the middle of the stigma of marijuana somehow cross-correlating to the new CBD market.
And luckily, there hasn’t been so much oversight that a lot of companies maybe are out there able to slightly educate the community whether tainted by MLM tendencies or that sales, the upsell aspect of it. So it’s just really, you got to make the dream, whatever it is you want to do, and the dream is real, the dream is pure, and you got a good heart about it. You’ll get to see it.
Sonia Gomez: Love it, love it. Well, those are some excellent final words, my friend, where can folks find you if they’re interested in working with you guys or checking out your products or want to find out more about what you’re doing?
Where to Find Them
Brandon Henry: So back in the time when I had to learn how to build websites because we were just getting in the business didn’t have a ton of money to outsource, we’re just generating revenue figuring out how to build some websites. I never used funnels or anything like that, but I tried to make shifts some but currently find Kalbra at K-A-L-B-R-A.com. If you punch that in there, it’ll forward you to Kalbracbd.com. We use a Shopify background. We didn’t go with the WooCommerce method, a little customized theme. It shops well. We’re currently sort of revamping it as we implement some of the new things that we’re able to offer for 2020—a lot of shelf stability testing and stuff like that inside the lab. So we’re able to put up there so cool watch out for some of those changes. But we do farm consulting as well if you’re interested in small and large growers because some of us definitely are cultivators.
Sonia Gomez: Some of us might be a little familiar.
Brandon Henry: [00:53:50 inaudible] Grow cannabis.
Sonia Gomez: I don’t know about you, but somebody around here.
Brandon Henry: I learned Sonia is that I’ve been pleased enough to know like master grower–growers that grow cannabis cup winning strains and I’m like, yo, teach me about your soil. And I’m just a sponge for knowledge, a little of everything and a lot enough. Hire people that are smarter than you. That’s the only thing [unintelligible]
Sonia Gomez: dude, dude, that’s all a whole nother topic. That’s like one of my absolute favorites is team building in the cannabis industry. We have to have another conversation about that. I’m so grateful for our time that we have spent here together. I really want to continue to follow your journey. I would love to have Kali on the show. And I think that you guys are just amazing. I’ve been really excited to learn more about you guys.
For those of you guys who are tuning in, make sure that you check out all of the links around this video, as well as the show notes highlight mentionable, the tweetable that are in here. Get familiar. We do this for you guys as a community service. Brandon, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you. I want to continue to follow your journey into 2020. Please keep me as an ace in your pocket, happy to help with whatever I can, and definitely want to continue to bring positive attention to what you guys are doing and how you guys are building. So thank you for being on the show today.
And for those of you guys who are tuning in with us, thank you so much for being a part of this incredible community when you like and share content just like this You are a part of us being able to make a massive impact in the world. We are quite literally moving the needle of legalization because you like and share content just like this. It is our mission to help empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you want to care for yourself, the people that you love, conditions you may be suffering from, or otherwise taking care of this beautiful gift of life.
Come down, girlfriend, so we can see your face. Hi Mama. Looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for, check us out at medicalsecrets.com. We are happy to help. And if you’re a budding entrepreneur, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com for resources, relationships, tips and tricks on how you can overcome the many challenging roadblocks that you will be confronted within this incredible industry for the changemakers out there, thank you so much for the work that you’re doing in the world. I’m your hostess with the mostess, and this is The Hemp Revolution Podcast. We’ll see you on our next show. Hi, Kali, my God, you’re so beautiful.
Kali: Oh, thank you.
Sonia Gomez: Gord, I’m just saying you leveled up on that one. See you guys on the next show.
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