Don’t be afraid to change direction. We actually ended up shifting gears early on because we weren’t getting results from the first marketing firm we hired and have had much more success with PR instead. We recently signed with Samantha Crafton PR and it’s been great — we just love her and her team!
As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Chloe Millard.
As a Chicagoland Business Owner and Mother of two, Chloe Millard is a woman that values an active and healthy lifestyle and is always on the go. After being diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) resulting from complications with her 2nd pregnancy in 2019, Chloe’s whole world changed. She suddenly felt weak and struggled to physically get through even the simplest days without pain. She was determined to find a safe and all-natural solution for long lasting relief to combat her debilitating pain and chronic stress. She promised herself if she ever found a solution that worked for her, she would make it her mission to share it with all women and so Rose & Jade CBD was born.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Launching Rose & Jade CBD has been such a rewarding passion project of mine because of how my life has been so deeply and positively affected by these products. I hadn’t necessarily always dreamed of being the founder to a CBD product line (mainly because I hadn’t discovered CBD until recently in my life!) but I’ve always had a passion for helping others and finding solutions to complex problems. Prior to founding Rose & Jade, I spent nearly a decade working in the corporate world in the medical sales industry and started dabbling in entrepreneurship early on in my career as a hobby. When I started having children I began facing pregnancy and gender discrimination in a pretty blatant way and knew that I wanted better for myself and to set a good example for my girls. I won multiple lawsuits from those cases and decided to symbolically invest those earnings into my first businesses a few years ago and have been an entrepreneur ever since!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with countless inspiring women and mothers from all over the country to gather data and insight as we continue on this journey at Rose & Jade. It’s been fascinating to me at how much we as women will suffer in silence and simply continue to always move forward no matter how hard it is. The resiliency of women and the power of being part of a community has been one of the biggest rewards for me. While the inspiration and target for our product line is mainly focused on women, I was surprised to learn that our first sale actually came from a man purchasing for himself and that we’ve had quite a few male customers since! We have a new product line in beta testing now targeting a male demographic simply due to the demand but it taught me that no matter how much you try to narrow down your target market and put yourself in a box it’s also advantageous to keep opportunities open to cater to other attracted buyers.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Absolutely, I’m not sure I will ever let myself live this one down! It’s certainly funny now that it has been resolved but I would encourage all entrepreneurs out there to become VERY educated on your particular tax code and sales tax responsibilities. R+J isn’t the first business I’ve started and at the businesses I owned shortly before launching Rose & Jade, I discovered I was making a massive tax reporting error that went uncaught for months. I had mistakenly included nontaxable receipts (i.e. service based revenue) as part of total revenues on a monthly sales tax basis. Long story short, when I caught my mistake months later I discovered I had mistakenly overpaid our sales tax by approximately 30,000 dollars. It took nearly 6 months and a lawyer to get our funds back. Needless to say I learned my lesson and my husband still teases me about it!
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are! We have a couple of new and exciting products in our pipeline as well as a virtual community we’re hoping to launch by Q3/Q4 of 2021. We’re very passionate about our mission #WomenSupportingWomen and we donate a portion of all of our sales to various female focused charities. There is also such a demand and need for bettering mental health and the rise of alcohol abuse is such a serious problem that our entire company feels a responsibility to address it. Our goal is that through education and encouraging new healthy habits to combat the effects of anxiety and depression, we can have a positive impact on our communities and help women everywhere take back control of their lives.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m very fortunate to have had the support of a mentor and a close inner circle over the years that has certainly lifted me up throughout my life and career. To narrow down to one particular person, as cheesy as it may sound, it would hands down be my husband and high school sweetheart, Ryan. We’ve been together since I was 16 and we have survived challenging life events together, entered into multiple business ventures as partners and we are also raising two beautiful little girls (ages 2 and 1) with plans to grow our family more in the future. While I would consider myself as someone who is fiercely independent, I’ve never once taken for granted how lucky I am to experience a once in a lifetime love and partnership with someone that has never given up on me even when I’ve wanted to give up on myself. Entrepreneurship is insanely difficult and will routinely push you to your limits. Having the unconditional support of a partner and champion that believes in you and picks you up when you doubt yourself is by far the most invaluable asset any entrepreneur can have.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I think there is so much that is still to be explored within this exciting space because really, CBD and Cannabis is still taking off with tons of room for growth. Prior to Covid and as our company was still being developed, we had plans of opening ‘CBD Bars’ that would allow for consumers to hang out and try different flavors and shop similar to a coffee bar. With ongoing Covid restrictions this obviously looks a lot different and we’re still tweaking our model. With that said we do have upcoming CBD monthly memberships in the works are always looking for Rose & Jade Brand Ambassadors and Influencers as our #1 marketing initiative! Feel free to email us at [email protected] if you’re interested in becoming a Brand Ambassador or Influencer!
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
There are so many things we are looking forward to in this booming industry. To name a few: 1. Experts project rapid growth and within the CBD market alone the industry is expected to grow to over 22 billion dollars by 2022 / 2. With wider legalization and approval of cannabis comes more acceptance and innovation / 3. Increased awareness and education.
Despite all of the positives we have to look forward to as our category grows, with growth we do expect a few hurdles. Some concerns our company has on the horizon: 1. More competition from less credible sources / 2. Industry regulations / 3. Outgrowing our current production & factory location to continue to meet increasing consumer demand.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
- I truly wish I would have discovered the world of CBD and Cannabis sooner. It feels like there used to be such a stigma surrounding the use of cannabis and it was almost a taboo topic. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that’s how I used to feel and had never educated myself on its benefits or even tried it. Now, as a mother of two and having my own doctor recommend I look into it for my chronic pain and stress, I really wish I would have let go of personal judgement and misconceptions earlier and not have suffered as long as I did.
- Starting a CBD business is NOT as easy as it may look! After trying several CBD brands before deciding to formulate and design my own, I remember getting so excited thinking it would be fairly easy. I’ve run and built companies before and knew what it took to start from scratch. I remember coming up with the idea for Rose & Jade over a weekend and I had an entire business plan and product line sketched out in my notebook in an afternoon. There is obviously SO much more that goes into a business than an idea but even with my past experiences and realism, I was still unprepared for how strict advertising would be and how cluttered the marketplace was. It really took a lot of trial and error to get off the ground and it’s still a work in progress!
- Plan ahead and then plan for delays. It goes without saying that having an outline and plan for your business targets is imperative. However, in this space I would recommend on baking in an additional 1–3 months for any timed objective you may have. You’ll encounter setbacks early on no matter how prepared and driven you are and that’s okay. Just like with any startup, don’t count on this being your sole income to pay the bills in the beginning. You need to give yourself some runway and some hiccups we ran into that delayed our launch included selecting a payment processor and tweaking product formulations.
- Don’t be afraid to change direction. We actually ended up shifting gears early on because we weren’t getting results from the first marketing firm we hired and have had much more success with PR instead. We recently signed with Samantha Crafton PR and it’s been great — we just love her and her team!
- Let go of stress. Being an entrepreneur, especially in the age of Covid, it seems impossible not to stress out or lose sleep over every nuance and issue during the day. Being an entrepreneur in THIS business can be even more stressful with late nights and production issues and launch delays. I don’t think I’ve ever been busier in my life but I’m teaching myself to become more centered and less distracted by stress and it’s made me a better and more effective owner. Stress of the mind is completely self-imposed and something I’ve struggled with most of my life. To be fair, I do have my own stash of Rose & Jade CBD products that I use daily which really does help! But in all honesty, this journey has been such a blessing for me and my family because it has encouraged me to focus on healthy living. Our company has devoted a tremendous amount effort to research and development which includes sourcing our ingredients from the most natural resources and reputable suppliers. It’s allowed me to see the world in a different light and have an appreciation for nature. I also get to spend more time with my kids during the day so we have our daily yoga and mediation that we practice as a little family which helps greatly lower my stress and allows me to be more present.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
I’m a big believer in education and always seeking to understand and learn something new. I am constantly reading articles and published pieces on management and how to motivate your people. I’ve learned that all employees genuinely want to be good at what they do and no one aims to underperform or be dissatisfied with their job. Communication is key and I’ve found that many leaders seek to be understood, not to understand leaving those that follow them to feel unheard and unfulfilled. A simple conversation can go a tremendous way to ensuring that you’re building a company that not only gets the best out of its people, but sets everyone up for success long term.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am so passionate about Women Supporting Women and what I would love more than anything is to inspire women to demand the best for themselves and the other ladies in their lives. Women are still fighting for equality all over the world and I am an entrepreneur today due to repeated and severe workplace discrimination I faced as a new mother and at multiple companies. But I’ve learned that you can’t demand the best for yourself if you don’t feel good about yourself and the first step is taking care of your health. CBD was the answer for me and it may not be for everyone but I would encourage all women to really look at their habits in their life and decide, how is this serving you? I chose to become sober 4 years ago after I realized alcohol was having such a detrimental effect on my life and marriage. I’ve talked to countless women and have heard this same story repeatedly so if me speaking out about CBD helping me continue to stay sober from alcohol inspires other women to make a healthy change, that would be my greatest accomplishment.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Please follow us on Instagram @roseandjadecbd for giveaways and new product launches!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!