Alex Malkin is CBD-enthusiast, researcher, and co-founder of CBD.market, a trading platform for CBD products and educating. Alex is the author of the book “CBD: A Door to Better Health” and certified Nutrition and Wellness specialist.
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?
I suffered from insomnia for almost ten years. I woke up every day at 4-5 AM and could not sleep. I tried a lot and only helped me with drugs like SleepAid, after which in the morning there was weakness and fog in my head, it was harder to work in this state than after a sleepless night. Two years ago, a friend of mine from San Diego asked me if I had tried insomnia CBD. I became particularly interested when my friend said that no side effects were found on the CBD. I immediately tried that oil, as I recall from Hemp Meds, and did not feel the result, but I decided not to stop and started taking highly concentrated oil from the same company and CBDistillery. After about 3-4 days, a real miracle happened. I slept all night without waking up. I only remembered a couple of hours after waking up I realized what had happened. Of course, I was shocked! I continued to take the CBD, and I still fully sleep and feel disproportionately better. Then I shared my discovery with my business partner, Alexander, and he immediately saw a huge number of weaknesses in the CBD niche today, such as the lack of multi-brand stores with a lot of different trusted brands, the lack of a niche system like Amazon, which would give the opportunity to sell manufacturers their products directly to the buyer at an affordable price, the inability to have a subscription consisting of products of different brands. Since we have been in digital marketing for more than 20 years and we have a large cohesive team, we decided to launch our project and now, step by step, we add all these opportunities so that buyers can provide the broadest possible choice at an affordable price, and the manufacturer has a regular income without serious advertising.
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?
We started in early 2018 when the CBD market was still very wild. There was no clarity in the legislation on CBD. We created an online store, but could not accept payment from customers, because all payment systems refused to work with us since we are a startup. We even refused by all payment systems serving the porn business, since we had a small turnover. They all answered the same way – We will help you if your turnover is from $250,000 per month. We did not give up and continuously called all existing brokers. We have already begun to receive offers with gray schemes by the opening of additional companies in Europe, but we did not agree to this. And once, after about four months from the beginning of our journey, a broker called me, who I just tortured. He said that everyone from Los Angeles to Miami already knows us and that one of the companies is ready to take us for service! I did not believe it) As a result, we became one of the first online stores in the United States who began to accept card payments. I will advise everyone never to give up, no matter how simple and familiar it sounds.
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?
When we launched CBD.market, everyone around us was 100% sure that we were selling marijuana in all possible forms. Friends, business acquaintances, and even parents were alarmed by our decision. We did not even suspect how much for the people around CBD and Marijuana seems the same things. For some reason, when people began to find out what it is when we shared samples and what to expect from the CBD, everything changed. Our environment with great interest and respect reacted to this business, in addition, many began to use CBD.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, this is a CBD.market project – a platform where you can buy and sell CBD products. Consumers can buy CBD in a wide range and in large quantities at affordable prices among competitors. With each purchase, 5% of the cost for the next purchase is postponed. The project is growing rapidly, as is the market of CBD products.
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?
Of course, this is my business partner and best friend Sasha Moiseenko. He is an incredibly talented businessman and programmer in one person, but I am more focused on marketing and user experience in our projects. We complement each other as much as possible and this is a necessary synergy in any business. We have been friends since the age of 14 and organized our first business when we were 18 years old.
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?
Now it is prohibited to advertise and sell CBD on the resources of the largest players Facebook, Google, Amazon, and iHerb. For this, the main way to get traffic is SEO (promotion in Google search results), where there is now incredibly strong competition, which continues to grow for each search keyword. A good alternative to SEO is the use of paid advertising in ad networks such as TrafficRoots. But do not forget that the conversion from a visitor to a buyer for organic traffic from Google is incomparably higher, as a person believes more in Google search results and not in advertising banners on third-party sites. Therefore, I definitely recommend focusing on SEO, but if the budget allows, then use advertising networks along with SEO.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
What excited me? Firstly, how much new benefit has been found in hemp for humans and animals. Research continues every day and we constantly see new discoveries that inspire manufacturers to create something new and useful. Secondly, I really like CBD products, they improve the quality of my life. And thirdly, as a business owner, I am inspired by the fantastically huge forecasts of CBD market growth up to $ 20 Billion By 2024. I think that in reality, it will be much more modest, but nonetheless, the growth will be decent.
What concerned me? Firstly, the ambiguity with the laws on the CBD. There are still states where people are afraid to buy CBD, and even more so to open their own business. Secondly, due to the over the popularity of CBD, new manufacturers are constantly appearing that produce low-quality products. Starting from the fact that the concentration of CBD in it is much lower than the one declared on the package, ending with the fact that the production can be in a dirty garage. We are actively working with manufacturers and they are tested by us before being added to our store. Soon we will do our own testing with laboratory tests and our own quality seal. Thirdly, buyers themselves are already very wary of CBD products, especially from unknown manufacturers. But this situation will soon be corrected, as the market is very competitive and low-quality products on it will simply not survive.
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.
- For consumers and Google, it is very important that all content is created by people who are deeply versed in CBD, healthy eating and wellness. Ideally, these should be doctors or Ph.D. with well-known articles on popular sites and scientific articles in Google Scholarships.
- Bet on consumer education. People are very interested in CBD and they want to start somewhere, but it’s hard for a person to go to the online store and just buy the first product they get. He needs to be helped to choose by showing the difference between goods that differ in so many parameters. Provide all of this with links to articles where they can read in understandable language, for example, about the concentration of CBD or about the carrier oil. We did not immediately realize this and are now actively engaged in this.
- Determine the price of goods that brings the store the maximum profit. That is, it should be between the maximum selling price of the goods for which the consumer is willing to pay and the price at the breakeven level of the company. This price can be adjusted empirically and based on sales statistics.
- Carefully monitor the law and the states where and what goods can be sent.
- Find an accountant with experience with sales tax in the online store, which itself can provide the best way to record and submit a tax return. If the accountant is not experienced in this, then you will have to come up with many things together with him, that is, make mistakes and lose time.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
If you have a smart and hard-working staff who are genuinely interested in your project, try to give them more responsibility and you will see how they starts to bloom. Since this is the best chance for self-realization in real-time. Any smart and self-respecting person dreams about it.
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. 🙂
CBD became fantastically famous after being shown to everyone the story of a girl suffering from a severe form of epilepsy. Her name is Charlotte Figi, she is from the state of Colorado and she was greatly helped by CBD. My dream is to help all children with this difficult diagnosis since it is CBD that has proven its super-effectiveness in epileptic seizures. I would like to create a movement where all manufacturers of this product around the world helped local hospitals and families on a charitable basis. I am sure that I am not the only one. Now all the restrictions are in the legislation, which so far does not allow children to use CBD. Parents give their children CBD at their own risk. But the legislation is softened every year and I am sure that soon the idea of such a movement will be perfect real for implementation.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can find me on LinkedIn, and you should definitely follow CBD.market on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cbdmarketcompany/, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/cbd.market/, Twitter https://twitter.com/CbdMarket and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/cbdmarket/.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!