MJBulls: Cannabis investing and cannabis fundraising

Kadenwood | Erick Dickens

Episode Summary

See what CPG pros can do with CBD With national retailers devoting more of their shelve space to CBD products, many small, less experienced CBD companies are finding it hard to maintain their accounts. Kadenwood's team of experienced CPG professionals led by Erick Dickens recognized this opportunity. Erick joins Dan Humiston to explain how using proven CPG tactics they've been able to secure shelve space for their products in many of the national retailers. Produced by PodConx MJBulls - https://podconx.com/podcasts/raising-cannabis-capital Dan Humiston - https://podconx.com/guests/dan-humiston Kadenwood - https://kadenwoodbrands.com/ Erick Dickens - https://podconx.com/guests/erick-dickens

Episode Notes

See what CPG pros can do with CBD

  With national retailers devoting more of their shelve space to CBD products, many small, less experienced CBD companies are finding it hard to maintain their accounts.    Kadenwood's team of experienced CPG professionals led by Erick Dickens  recognized this opportunity.  Erick joins Dan Humiston to explain how using proven CPG tactics they've been able to secure shelve space for their products in many of the national retailers.

Produced by PodConx


MJBulls - https://podconx.com/podcasts/raising-cannabis-capital

Dan Humiston - https://podconx.com/guests/dan-humiston

Kadenwood - https://kadenwoodbrands.com/

Erick Dickens - https://podconx.com/guests/erick-dickens

Episode Transcription

Dan Humiston: [00:00:00] Today. At MJ bulls, we are joined by Eric Dickens, the CEO and co-founder of Caden wood brands. Eric, welcome to the 


Erick Dickens: Hey, Dan, it's Great to be on. 

Dan Humiston: Well, I appreciate drop by today. Caden wood provides plant-based solutions for just about every segment and brands under the Caden one umbrella span segment, such as wellness, immune support, recovery, sleep mobility. And pet health, which means we have a lot to cover today. But before we jump in to the specifics, I think it'd be helpful.

If you could start by explaining how your company is structured.

Erick Dickens: Yeah, it's a great question. Cuz we're different. So Caden wood is , and was, intentionally designed to be a holding company for both consumer brands, as well as some of our other wholly owned subsidiaries. So we actually own a company called eco gen, which gives us the complete vertical integration on the genetics, through the ability to grow [00:01:00] and process the hemp derived ingredients that go into our consumer products.

We also own a company called E to E. is based in Phoenix, which produces not all, but most of our consumer goods are finished goods. And so we actually own the supply chain. It's all us based from complete end to end which gives us a quality control that we really like, especially in this industry, as well as, the ability for us to manage our own supply chain, especially with everything that's the world right now.

It's a, it's a real competitive advantage for us as well as give us a strategic cost of goods advantage, which is allowing us. To bring prices down on our consumer goods. And then we have five different consumer brands that are all also wholly owned but run as business units Cawood.

And you mentioned we had the level select brand, the social CBD brand, the he brand or heli naturals. And then we have purity organic for our consumable business. And then we also have purity pro and [00:02:00] purity pet which interchangeably are pet trademarks. 

Dan Humiston: You've really seems like you've covered just about. To the basis, I, and I, and I'm not surprised because I look back , on your career and with really interesting career and mostly focused in CPG. , I'm assuming that a lot of that experience that you had , in the CPG industries really paid off, when you decided to move over into.

C B D but it's not the same. It's not the same. And I know one thing that's really, really important is establishing credibility. And especially for the CBD industry, a lot of people are still skeptical. What are some of the, the steps that you took or are taking to establish that


Erick Dickens: Now a great question. And you know, we've come a long way in the three and half years we started our business. But early on, we recognized that that was issue in. Me and my colleagues into this industry was the fact that it, it had so much potential, but it seemed, it, it, it wasn't really being [00:03:00] run by people with a lot of professional experience in consumer goods, which is what we ultimately saw as being the most valuable component of this industry going forward.

And at the time there was a lot of focus on bioscience. People were growing hemp and all of these different things, and there was a lot of money to be made there. But really, developing a consumer goods expertise and winning there was something that we thought was an opportunity for us.

And so it's not just my background, which includes craft foods, Henkel most recently as the first CMO at King's Hawaiian. But also I had some startup background too with with LifeLock, but my co-founder Doug weeks, he's longtime craft foods. He actually launched the Neo drink supplement, which, which craft food's largest new product launch since dejo pizza.

And then went on to help start a water company called core water after leaving craft. And that was sold to Keurig Dr. Pepper for just over half a billion dollars. Um, Before we started this venture together, but we brought some of the best talent that we've ever worked with [00:04:00] together and really establishing our, our team of highly accomplished consumer goods professionals.

And then the early moves we made to help with our credibility to stand out from everybody else who was in the space. The biggest one I would say is bringing on the only former surgeon general, that's assigned to this industry and that's Dr. Richard Carmona. So he's exclusively, tied to us. It's the only former surgeon general that has any stake in any company in this space and he's ours. And the reason why he's committed to us, Is because of , the commitment we've made to quality of supply, as well as our interest in pursuing research required to help, bring the medical science up to speed with where consumers are in this industry.

Cause we know consumers have figured out the efficacy of these products, what needs to happen for us and the room and the rest of the industry Is for the science to catch up so that we can start making legitimate claims around the efficacy. Other things that we did to, to bring credibility to the space [00:05:00] is early on.

One of our co-founders is Steve Garby, baseball legend. he helped also bring in some other athletes. We have Carson Palmer, Ricky Fowler. Annie Myers Drysdale, Holly McPeak. And we're actually looking to bring on another notable athlete here in the coming weeks, 

the team that we built here are all highly credible professionals. And on top of that, the surgeon general, and then you kick on top of that are executive chairman and our initial investor, Todd Davis, who was the founder of. LifeLock, which is the identity theft protection company. He's a unicorn CEO.

That company obviously went on to go public for over a billion and then sold to Symantec for 2.3 billion. So you have a highly successful unicorn entrepreneur at the, at the helm guiding us to hopefully one day is the promise land. And so you kind of put all of that together and we the most credible company , in the industry. 

Dan Humiston: There's a lot of horsepower in that company. There's a lot of horsepower. . You made some interesting moves during COVID [00:06:00] and I would say that at the time people were probably scratching their heads saying you're acquiring companies 

most people weren't acquiring, you were acquiring, but the one thing that you did, I just thought was just incredibly intuitive was that . While everybody else was going online. You went after shelf safes and , you went against the grain. Everybody was like, every, this is all online.

And you doubled down on shelf. What prompted you to 

make that decision? 

Erick Dickens: Yeah. So it was very deliberate. In fact, when COVID hit, you know, like everybody else, we respected how much of an issue it was gonna be for, the country and business in general. But , we took a deliberate posture when COVID hit, knowing that most companies and just the normal response to something like that would be to retrench and kinda hold back and kind wait and see.

That was not our attitude at all. We actually took a very aggressive, offensive attitude and said, okay, this is an opportunity for us to take ground. 

We entered COVID with a deliberate, mission to come out as [00:07:00] one of the industry leaders. , by a wide margin , was our goal. And we saw what was happening, at retail. And, you know, we were late to the game. There were some brands out there that were early movers that did a great job of securing.

Retail shelf space. But we knew that they weren't doing the things that retailers. Really want from brands that are supposed to be leading a category and building brands within a new industry.

They weren't investing in advertising national advertising. They weren't investing in consumer promotions. They weren't doing a whole lot in terms of developing consumer segmentation, which all consumer segments require over the long term. Everything seemed kind of haphazard. And so the other thing that was a benefit to us , As retailers were shutting down their store doors and everybody kind of stopped going to brick and mortar, we knew that the product that was on shelf was starting to expire. , and for startup, that's a killer, you know, you ship all this product to retail and then they say, you know, too bad, but we [00:08:00] closed our store doors and now , your product's expired here.

You gotta take all the product back and ship us new product. that's something nobody was prepared for. And it was an opportunity for us to, to approach the retailers with , our background, our media support. Are brands that had real clear consumer positioning. And the ability to promote with retailers in store.

And we started winning that shelf space from the legacy players and what is now becoming a, a real leadership position at retail. I actually believe all of the companies see this as being the case. It's just because of their situation. They're probably pivoting their story a little bit, but we see retail as having the most upside in this industry as regulatory. 

Dan Humiston: space do you currently possess or control?

Erick Dickens: Yeah.

So I think it's somewhere in the neighborhood today of like,


Social CBD brands. And I'm happy to announce we're also the top selling CBD brands at CVS. So we, we not only have now taken on some of the most premium real estate in the industry. started to really emerge as, as a leader with consumers and taking advantage of that. We're also at other places where Kroger, we're gonna be on Harris Teeter soon.

Food lion. And , we just shipped to dollar general dollar general has the most store doors available in this entire industry, over 8,000 store doors. I think it's like 9,000 now. So, we're there now with items that are appropriately priced for that channel.

And, and, you know, we're continuing to build on that. As we go through the rest of the. 

Dan Humiston: That's really exciting. Now, a lot of the companies within your or your peers are publicly traded, you're still private. 

What are some of the advantages of, of 

remaining private? 

Erick Dickens: Yeah. 

So, we're very thankful that we're private. In fact, we think that [00:10:00] companies are being unfairly valued, frankly. We think that the public markets , are punishing those companies. think it's unfair. But there's not really anything any do about that. In many cases, the, the value of the stock is less than the asset value of the company, which makes, you know, that's upside down world, but that's just the way it is right now. we Have A group of very supportive investors that have bought into our vision. And, you know, the plans for us grow even beyond where we right now are pretty significant. And along the lines of what you would expect from people with our background that know how to, to build national brands at retail. And so we're very fortunate to be private Not have the pressures of the public markets and be in a position really. really. To have still of the different potential exits at our disposal , as this industry matures. 

Dan Humiston: It's again, , you position yourself correctly in that move as well. You mentioned investors [00:11:00] and my listeners are all curious. Are there opportunities for P for people to participate in this exciting 

growth story. 

Erick Dickens: It's a great question. You know, Even when we don't have investment vehicles necessarily reluctant.

Um, We are interested in having conversations because we have a lot of things that we're working on that are gonna require cash. So for investor that's um, that's.

Dan Humiston: well, that's good. That's just what we wanted to hear. That's just what we wanted to hear. We'll have links to Caden wood brands in our show notes. So whether you wanna learn more about their products, maybe place an order for a product, or you wanna talk to them about possible investments. I'm sure somebody from Eric's team would be happy to speak with you, Eric.

This is a lot of fun learning about your company. I 

appreciate you being on the


Erick Dickens: [00:12:00] no, 

thank you. It's it's a lot of fun to talk about the business. You know, It's not the best of times for the industry, but we're very optimistic on where our business is going, as well as the for this industry. As things continue to shake out.