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“Misconceptions, Money Problems, and a Saturated Market: The Hurdles One Man Overcame to Open a CBD Store in Cibolo Texas“
Ken Ray is a retired army nurse who overcame the odds to start his own
business as the owner of Band of Brothers, a CBD store based in Cibolo Texas. He was a recent guest on the Local Talent podcast, where he walked host Jason Setzer through the process of launching the store, from how he got into CBD in the first place to what it took to open Band of Brothers’ first location.
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“Why Ken Started Taking CBD Products“
Ken suffered from knee pain and was struggling to adjust to civilian life after an adrenaline-fuelled career in the army. By chance, Ken started taking small, intermittent doses, but it was actually his wife who was the first to notice. After he realized the power of CBD, he wanted to offer other people the same.
“Fighting Anti-Marijuana Legislation and Misconceptions Around CBD Products“
Despite the fact that CBD and hemp are legal in all 50 states, Ken still faced barriers when creating his business because of the misconceptions and prejudice around CBD usage. He fought an uphill battle to get his credit card company to accept card payments, which left him $20,000 in the hole as he waited for his account to be unblocked. He also had problems finding a location for the store,
as retail landlords associated CBD with illicit substances and criminality.
Other misconceptions around CBD still persist and affect his business to this day. Ken regularly hears from people that they believe CBD to be a “gateway drug”. Ken shoots down this idea, pointing out to Jason that the drugs he distributed in his role as an army nurse were far more toxic and addictive than his CBD oils and gummies.
“Learning the Ropes as an Entrepreneur“
As well as combating prejudices around the sale of CBD products, Ken
encountered logistical problems that many entrepreneurs face when getting their business off the ground. Once Ken finally signed a lease on a store location, it took four months to get the store renovated and ready to open, longer than Ken had anticipated.
Ken also had insecurities about his business and was nervous about networking and marketing his products. As he tells Jason, in the early days he would sign up for networking events but arrive and feel too nervous to get out of his truck and go and meet people.
“A Saturated Market“
Since CBD was legalized, sales skyrocketed and customer demand increased, but Band of Brothers isn’t the only CBD store in Cibolo Texas by any means and Ken had to negotiate launching his business in a saturated marketplace. However, he found that his competition have actually become allies and have helped to move his business forward by providing him with tips and connecting him with local labs and suppliers.
Ken also thought carefully about the customer experience at Band of Brothers, to find a way to set the business apart from other CBD stores and to build up customer loyalty. He made sure that Band of Brothers has a lower price point and offers free advice and a welcoming atmosphere that keeps his clients coming back for more. He hopes one day to franchise the brand to have multiple stores across Texas, and maybe further afield.
Subscribe to Local Talent: The Entrepreneur’s Handbook podcast to hear Jason’s full interview with Ken and to find more funny and interesting episodes on business and entrepreneurship with Jason Setzer and his special guests.
You can find Band of Brothers by going here: Band of Brothers
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