Family Tree: C. B. D.
Concentrating on health and wellness has emerged as the new theme with all the spare time people have now. Which is long overdue. So the timing and name of Maryland based CBD company Concentrating on Better Days, seems perfect. Concentrating on Better Days is a lifestyle CBD brand that helps their clients do just that. The miraculous unheralded benefits of CBD alleviates ailment like, pain, nausea, inflammation, sleep deprivation and so much more. Founder Julian Jones stumbled across CBD looking for alternative remedies to deal with certain health issues. Especially when traditional pharmaceutical methods did help anymore. Once experienced she wanted to tell the world about cannabis. First order of business was acquiring Executive Chef, sister, & Co-Founder Taylor Jones on the team. Who believed in CBD after seeing positive results in their dog. This family own CBD company aims to tackle industry diversity head on, and bolstering the representation of women of color within the industry.
Q. What was it that brought you guys to cannabis? How’d you first encounter it?
Taylor: For me, I’m a chef so you know most people have their 9-5 jobs where cannabis is shunned. When you’re working in restaurants and a kitchen it’s like “Hey we’re going to go outside for a bit and smoke do you wanna come outside?” So, that’s how I first got introduced to it was through cooking and being in the kitchen. And being around people, you need some kind of stress relief in that high intensity environment.
Julian: My first experience was 9th grade, so 14 years old with a group of my closest friends.
Q. When you break down the company name, Concentrating on Better Days.The acronym is C. B. D. What was the thought process when making that conscious decision?
Taylor: Choosing a name for a company, I feel like some people don’t know this but maybe you do. We had such a hard time, because there’s so many CBD companies and a lot of people use acronyms. So we’re thinking “What acronym can we use?” We were trying all these names, we had a notebook full of names last summer and researched through Maryland state businesses to see if those names were taken, and all of them were taken. But my sister came up with Concentrating on Better Days and when I heard that, I was like “this is the one” so we waited until we got down to the last name to see if there’s anything else and Concentrating on Better Days was not taken. We said alright we’re taking this, we’re setting up our business account and going forward with this. I think concentrating on better days is really what our company embodies because our CBD Products will help you on a day-to-day basis as long as you’re focusing and taking the right steps to better yourself it will happen.
Q. Of the products you guys have; Chocolates, Bath bombs, & Salves. What would be the best instance you’d use each in? What type of products can we look forward to in the future?
Julian: The bath bombs are for like after you’ve had a long stressful day or you ran several miles and you just want to relax in the comfort of a bath. It has Epsom Salts, and hand-picked essential oils, so it would help aid you in that type of recovery.
Taylor: The salves we have several people that use it like, day-to-day. They’ll use it with arthritis, daily aches and pains and regular wear and tear on your body. I feel like the chocolates that we have are another way of people taking CBD. So it’s like this isn’t a lotion and it’s not a bath bomb, it’s something that they can actually enjoy and taste and eat. As you saw it comes in different flavors so we offer that as a specialty item until we are able to produce different food items and stuff like that.
Q. Taylor: Being an Executive Chef, how has cooking with cannabis impacted your understanding of the plant?
Taylor: It’s more of a learning experience because growing up like you said before it’s always been “weed is bad, weed is not good, you shouldn’t be doing it, we shouldn’t be making edibles in our parents kitchen.” And I feel like being able to cook and learn from it has opened my eyes. I’m not saying I thought it was bad or people using it were bad, but I just didn’t understand any of the science behind it so it was more of a learning experience to me. So you’re like okay, you need to add this to this, you need to add CBD to chill out the THC so it kind of opens my eyes and then it allows me to be creative because you can put it in anything. Even now on Netflix and stuff like that there are shows all about cooking with cannabis so now it’s becoming more popular than people thought it would be.
Q. Taylor: Since introducing the first line of consumable products, can you give us a hint on some future consumables to expect? OR “ since “, do you feel like there is a target market that’s being overlooked in regards to the type of consumables that are currently out. (ex. Chocolates/vs gummies/vs teas?)
Taylor: Since I went to school I have been trained to pretty much cook anything. I feel like if I could do my research and test items and do tastings and stuff like that and try different items there’s nothing that I can’t create. I feel like the doors are wide open for me to create something.
Q. What goes into the dosing when you make edibles?
Taylor: So I use a specific strain of CBD flower and from there I infuse the oil. So for the pain salve I use Cocoa butter and coconut oil. So I separate however much flower I want and then based off of the flowers percentages that are being used, I infuse the coconut oil and then after that process is done. I combine it with the cocoa butter and the menthol. The bath bomb actually uses distillate so the bath bomb is created and made all in house. We have a bath bomb machine to do so.
Julian: We want to produce our own edibles and stuff, so over the next couple of months she [Taylor] will be testing stuff and really getting her hands into that because why not use a chef that went to school to separate our brands from other brands.
Q. Julian: With your experience in cyber security, how do you think you can translate that into the cannabis industry?
Julian: So I don’t really say this and make it known on social media but I do a lot of web development stuff so it’s like I have my job and I do my cyber security stuff. I work for the government and I do a lot of stuff that I can’t talk about. In my personal life I take the skills that I’ve learned in college and I build websites for people as well as help small businesses grow, so I make relationships from that.
Q. Julian: How do you like to connect with your clients to best figure out their needs (ex. E-mail, phone call, video conference, survey review)?
Julian: We are still a relatively new business we’ve only been in this business for a year, it’s something that we’re working on. We have it set up so that if you place an order within two weeks of your order being delivered; an automated email goes out to the customer to send in a review of the product. which allows them to tell us if they liked it or didn’t like it. We have an open line of communication, we are on social media. But because we are so new we are still somewhat figuring out how to effectively connect with our audience and that is something that we will continue to work towards.
Even if you’ve been in business for 10 years; like this last week we’ve seen people support all these businesses and then you see their views on stuff. I don’t want that to be the case, I want our customers to know from the start we’ve been vocal about this, this, and this. We’ve already posted a picture in support of black lives matter. A lot of companies have done this now, but it’s been more of an afterthought. It’s like now that there is a problem and it’s being addressed, let’s speak on it. We want to speak on It from the start so there is no person questioning, and no gray area. We’re upfront with our customers so you know from the start our goals and intentions.
Q. What would you say your method of practice is for ensuring love and quality in your product?
Julian: If I don’t feel right that day and I’m making a product I will not make it because I want to make it with love and I feel like that is something people don’t do. Because they just have to make a deadline. If I’m not emotionally feeling it that day, I’m not making a product.
Taylor: She’ll be making bath bombs and say, the mixture isn’t the correct amount that day and she’s pressing them and they keep cracking. She’ll just clean up everything and walk away from it, so she won’t make it to the point where it’s overly frustrating. She’ll take a break, go back and revisit the problem, start over from the beginning.
Julian: And a lot of the time with bath bombs it’s not the mixture being off it’s the environment. It’s the temperature in the lab that we are working in, so if it’s more humid one day than another day they [bath bombs] may not form the way they should. I’ve learned patience through this process. I did not think making bath bombs was this hard.(laughing) but I definitely learned my lesson.
Q. In speaking about ownership, do you have advice for other entrepreneurs on keys to navigating partnership in a business?
Taylor: For us if Julian and I have an idea we will bring it up to each other, and will do separate research on the topics and present it to each other. We’ll bounce off ideas and break them down. The biggest thing is communication.
Julian: We bump heads all the time.
Taylor: We’re sisters so for people to say oh we’re going to go into a partnership with your spouse, family, closest friends etc. just because you guys are close does not mean you won’t have arguments. We do it all the time, but from those misunderstandings you have to come together at the end of the day and actually talk about it. You can’t just think you’re right and they’re wrong and not be able to talk about it. I feel like that’s number one for us is just talking and trying to be on the same page. Because prior to COVID-19 we had separate schedules and my hours were crazy so in some instances, she was putting in more work than I was because I was doing my full-time job. So then I would feel bad and when I’d come back I’d feel like I was behind on everything, she would have to catch me up to speed with what was going on. So now I feel like with Covid we’re actually able to sit back and have conversations and look at some things from a different perspective.
Q. Overall what can the consumer base expect next from the “Concentrating on Better Days Brand?”
Julian: We do have products that we are currently working on, but they better fit the time of COVID-19. So instead of us making a product like granola bars for example maybe we’ll make herbal tea, or CBD capsules. So we’re not making these products that we know won’t sell but we’re making products that people want. If I come out with a CBD sour gummy bear; yes I know that’s a product that people buy but during this time a lot of people cannot afford the medicine. So if we’re selling CBD capsules that’s a better selling product then gummy bears or granola bars.
Q. With the recent events of protesting to end police brutality, is there anything you wish to let consumers and colleagues know about the importance of this matter?
Taylor: We 100% back you, we support you, we are with you, we are not physically here to support you but we understand the struggles. We’ve had to talk with our parents, we know what to do if we get pulled over. Our father is actually a federal officer and he’s been on both sides. He’s done the pulling over and he’s been pulled over and racially profiled. It doesn’t matter if you have a badge or not if you don’t have your uniform and you’re a black man or black woman it is not going to be what you expect. Our dad has had to sit down and explain this to my sister and I, he has seen both sides, so for us it’s more eye-opening to see a parent that has been racially profiled. Our dad is not the aggressive type because he has also been treated that way, he is the one that has been bringing awareness to it for us.
No matter what’s going on in your personal life you don’t have to treat someone like crap. He taught us that “This is a uniform that you wear for a couple hours a day and that is my day job but that’s not who I am as a human being.” People tie blue lives matter into their identity and it’s just what you do for a living, it’s not what you are entirely. I feel like now there’s time to educate yourself. There are books you can read, there are movies you can watch, don’t just throw in the towel and not speak about the situation. It’s not helping.
If you have the voice please speak up on it and please vote. I know so many people that said “I’m not going to vote, my vote doesn’t matter.” We were not given this right to not use it. So if you have it you better vote even if you’re not black and if you decide to not vote, we’ve had to go through women’s suffrage to gain the right to vote. Using your voice, educating yourself, speaking up, and reaching out to other people is great. I have friends that are reaching out to me that are white and that are black, so check on your friends and your family because you never know what someone is going through. Just knowing that you have someone to talk to you is important too.
Q. Moving forward what advice would you give for other people navigating the business world in the era of covid?
Taylor: Understand that your previous sales and growth as a company may be put on hold. Because of this virus we’ve had time to go back and work on our business plan. We have products that we are working on that we’ve envisioned as our next set of products. With coronavirus, healthcare, and all of that other stuff it’s changed our view on some of the products we want to put out. Also money is tight right now so we’ve seen a decrease in sales since March, it’s not bad but I realize that not everybody is able to freely purchase products. And that is another thing that is huge to us. Our products are very reasonably priced for the amount of CBD in our products. Some of our competitors are selling bath bombs for over $12 dollars. We don’t feel the need to do that.
I’d say take everything with a grain of salt and realize that it’s not the business it’s just what is going on in the world. You know we have these different items and stuff like that. But people are looking more with everything going on like “Do I need it or do I want it?” And that’s how we’re looking at the business. We kind of put a hold on the new products we want to come out because we’re thinking is someone going to look at that and be like “I need it”. Or should we focus on what we have and make it available so when someone does see it as a need it’s available Instead of trying to rush out new products.
Q. Are there any ideas outside of what you guys are doing with your company that you feel like you can contribute to the cannabis industry respectfully?
Taylor: I feel like overall awareness because there’s such a strong stigma about it, especially in the black community there is still the war on drugs and us being of color we need to make it less stigmatized and bring awareness and more people of color in the space because it’s being dominated.
Julian: I feel like being black that people automatically say if you’re smoking you’re bad or you don’t have a job or are not educated and that’s not really the case. People just assume things so if we were to bring more Black people or people of color into the space or community they are safe and they can benefit from it. Because of the knowledge they will have I feel like it’ll open doors for us instead of people just saying don’t do that it’s bad, or having people think that they’re going to go to jail for it because there are already people locked up for it. Yet other people are benefiting and having dispensaries and stuff like that.
Thanks for reading! Concentrate on better days and get hand picked CBD products on Taylor and Julian’s site. Also, please be sure to check out our previous interview in the Family Tree series with Jen Jackson here. Stay tuned for more interviews that can only be found at FourFortyEight.