By: Elements of Green
Elements of Green recently reached a new milestone as it has hired a president. Julian Davies has been communicating with customers for many years. He comes as Elements of Green starts to grow and as big changes are coming to CBD in the UK and on the Continent. We sat down with Julian to learn about our new leader.
EoG: Julian, welcome to Elements of Green. Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in rural England, via Nigeria where my father worked, and Portugal where we lived for some time. I’m actually a musician by background and training, but my “commercial” career started as a field sales rep for a big beer company. There I worked my way up from field sales to brand management, learning and having fun all along the way. I did some more brand and strategy work for beer and spirits companies, and was lucky to work for some amazing brands and learn from some serious FMCG success stories. A little over 18 months ago I got into the UK CBD space, meeting lots of brands, entrepreneurs, and great people – and here I am! It fascinates me how a big company communicates with its various customers. CBD’s message is fairly complex for large groups but it is simple for an individual, so the challenge of that communication is fascinating to me.
EoG: CBD is helping a lot of people. Did you discover CBD before working for the industry?
I did! I shattered both my legs and ankles when I was younger and spent a long time in hospital. Even at that age I recognized that opioids weren’t really for me, and I got very interested in traditional and more holistic healthcare. That’s now turned into the more trendy world of “wellness” – but I also like to say I was into that before it was cool! So I was aware of CBD as a consumer but honestly not that quick to see its huge growth and consumer appeal in the UK. Coming into the category more professionally I was stunned by how many different ways a single product could help people, and I knew I wanted to be involved in this. Having my personal experiences of it means I know it can help when the product quality is there – so ensuring category leading quality for as many consumers as possible is always going to be my focus.
EoG: Elements of Green carries an enormous variety of products, from old-school tinctures to the creams and balms everyone seems to like right now to vapes and even nut butter. Do you have any favourites that you use?
It’s true, we do! We’re trying to offer consumers as much real choice as possible. The fact is there’s thousands of products out there – some better than others frankly – and so what we’re trying to achieve with Elements of Green is to curate the widest possible choice of products, but shown in an easy way, and to make the choices as clear as possible. Personally I’m in to trail running, and cross-country type stuff and do quite a lot of miles in a month, so I love the high strength Janus Zero oil. The garden mint flavour is a great touch. I also really like the KannaSwiss daily gummies, as that can fit into my routine really easily. We’re talking to a couple of really cool UK brands at the moment too, so look out for our range improving even more!
EoG: You’ve worked with a lot of people in CBD. Tell us how you found Elements of Green.
It’s still quite a small community in the UK so you get to meet a lot of players quite quickly. I actually met Danny through a mutual connection. We’ve only ever met through Zoom! It’s a real lockdown story! So it’s quite abstract if you think about it, but from our first meeting I was amazed by the calibre of the people behind Elements of Green – and the success and credibility they’ve been able to build up in Canada. We share values of how we want to go about business: with credibility, honesty and transparency – and that’s a great start point. When I started working with CBD, I learned three things very quickly. First, CBD can help a lot of people. Next, it is difficult to explain how CBD can help because it works for so many different ailments. And there are a lot of suspect CBD products out there. So I knew that I wanted to help people understand how CBD can help them and I knew that I wanted to associate with a company which insists on top quality products. I found both at Elements of Green. We have a passion for educating our customers so they can get exactly the right CBD product for the right reasons, we only allow the very best CBD brands to associate with us, and we insist on lab testing for every product we sell.
EoG: We talked about your marketing background, but Elements of Green is about a lot more than marketing. Tell us a little more about what you’ll be doing at Elements of Green.
In short, my job is to build Europe’s most trusted CBD retailer. That trust is key, and can be grown in a number of key ways: high quality products that do what they claim, slick operations, friendly customer service, clear explanations, and community. My role will be to take what we have – outstanding products and a great sales platform – and take these to the next level. It will be my responsibility to help keep both of those parts of the business at the very top of the industry as we grow. I’ll also be helping with the various laws and regulations covering CBD in the countries where we operate. And I’ll be helping to select the products and brands which we allow to reach our customers, and educating customers about CBD.
I know I spoke about those last bits before, but I want to go back to it because its so important. There are a lot of companies which are selling CBD products, and in the UK, even Amazon is starting to sell them. In many cases, consumers have no way to tell whether the products they buy through most of these outlets are any good at all. Many retailers have no means in place to check the quality of what they sell and offer limited guidance to consumers on how to choose the best products for them. To me, one of the most important things we do at Elements of Green is that we do a lot of that work for the customer and we share that work with them – to make things as easy and clear as possible.
If you order a product through Elements of Green, you can be sure that they have been thoroughly vetted, are compliant to novel foods legislation, and have been lab tested for safety and potency.
EoG: Thanks for that. You also mentioned the laws and regulations surrounding CBD. What is the state of the law right now?
The good news is the UK has the best CBD regulation in the world right now, and CBD users will see the fruits of that as soon as March of next year. For people who ingest their CBD, the UK is applying the novel foods regulations to CBD products. The novel foods process is a rigorous one and will ensure that the CBD people buy in the UK will be consistent and safe. Elements of Green and many of our brands advocated for the difficult novel foods route.
The Continent was pursuing the novel foods route too, though it took a break to consider whether CBD is a narcotic (it is not) and of course there were differing laws from one EU country to another. A court recently put a stop to all of that, so Europe won’t be far behind the UK in terms of regulation. Both the Continent and the UK are far ahead of the US, where the Food and Drug Administration is still thinking of how to regulate CBD when it is taken internally. Canada still lumps CBD together with THC cannabis, and many countries haven’t made CBD legal at all yet.
The regulations for things like lotions and balms are different, so there is a different process there, and it is different still for vape products.
So UK and Europe residents are pretty lucky compared to a lot of countries. Keeping up with all the rules is an enormous amount of work for companies like Elements of Green and our partners, but the consumers will benefit from that work in the long run.
That’s on the consumer product side. Another thing to keep in mind is CBD already has one pharmaceutical application and with the research going on it will likely see more in the coming years, perhaps even to help with those opioids I didn’t like. Pharmaceutical regulation is entirely different. There are not a lot of products which people can buy for general benefits but which are also a pharmaceutical for specific application, so I think CBD consumers are very fortunate that way.
EoG: A few times you’ve mentioned that CBD helps people in many different ways. How do you plan to get that message to people?
Education! I mentioned that I worked for beer and spirits companies. There, everyone knows why they might want to have a beer or try a new cider, the challenge is to persuade them to choose yours. With CBD, not only do customers sometimes not understand how they can benefit, but researchers are doing studies all the time which uncover new benefits. I think just about anyone would receive a general benefit from taking some CBD each day, but for now I’m focused on educating people on how CBD might help them with something specific which is bothering them. Elements of Green is off to a great start on that, and I want to help the quality of that message continue to improve. So if someone wants to reduce stress I want them to be aware that CBD is a good natural option to try for that. If someone has psoriasis, I want them to know that CBD might help with not only the physical symptoms but the mental ones too. It’s a complex message but the challenge of that is exactly why I’m so excited to get to work.