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In Summary

Caleb Gilmore of Suzie’s CBD Treats joins us on the HempList this week, hosted By Chase Nobles, Founder of Kush.com

Suzie’s CBD Treats is one of the longest running brands in the cannabinoid pet treat space! Chase welcomes Caleb Gilmore the President of Suzie’s CBD Treats on the HempList to talk about how they got started over 5 years ago, and discuss everything a pet treat consumer would need to know. They discuss payment processing challenges in the beginning, and even go over pet specific dosages for their CBD products!

Transcript (Auto-Generated)

hey everybody chase nobles here
co-founder of kush.com i’ve got caleb
gilmore here from susie’s cbd treats
with us today how
are you caleb how’s it going i’m great
man thanks for having me chase
i’m excited to have you on the show it’s
uh we we haven’t
done much in the pet space as far as
interviews go
um some people have you know done pets
as an ancillary kind of product but this
is your core business
and you’ve been in it for five years
how’s it going
that’s you know that’s pretty old in the
hemp industry yeah we’ve been around for
a little bit now we’re pretty proud of
that
we’re glad we’ve uh established
ourselves and
yeah from the very beginning we decided
that you know we just
everybody agreed that we we love almost
every animal we meet and you know
we don’t love every person necessarily
so we might as well focus on pets
and keep our attention on the area we’re
passionate about and
it’s done really well for us we’ve had a
lot of fun there met a lot of great
animals and
it’s been a good ride i believe it i
believe it now when it comes to pet
products it sounds like you were pretty
early in the space
five years into this you know in doing
you know
pretty solidly you know i don’t know if
you all do any other products but pet
products seems to be the
the entire focus right absolutely yeah
we do uh
we have a couple different categories of
pet products but um everything and
everything is made with human grade
ingredients
but it is animal specific for the time
being
and what was the initial response five
years ago to
you know pet products with cannabinoids
in it was there a lot of hesitation from
the retail pet market or was this
pretty widely accepted because people
are looking for a solution um i’d say it
was definitely they’re definitely still
skepticism and a lot of misinformation
there were some products out there on
the market at the time and
essentially what me and my business
partner saw
at that time was that there were there
was a lack of very high quality products
and the products that were out there
were really expensive um so we saw this
opportunity to create something that was
effective and affordable and try and you
know establish ourselves in the market
and i think we were really well timed
because since then there’s been this
onslaught of
brands and competition and products so
we were
lucky to get in when we did and i think
the
concept of create a simple effective
high quality product and charge a fair
price for it was
it made sense then and it makes sense
now and that’s why we’ve
had some success right so
you go into any pet shop now and you see
cbd products on the shelves it’s really
been a massive change
for as a you know category builder in
these pet stores and
i can’t tell you how many people i know
that that swear by you know hemp
products for their pets
um what are the concerns that pet owners
should have whenever considering
adding this to uh the supplements or
adding this to the
to the to the uh treats list for for
their own pets sure
well a lot of the con a lot of concern
that we try and dispel is then
the concern that it’s going to get their
pet pie or stone
we do have a full spectrum product which
we found that makes it more effective
but the trace amounts of thc that are
present are not enough to
endanger your pet or get them uh get
them high
so that’s kind of misinformation that we
try and educate about
the only time that there is a reason to
actually have pause about introducing
cbd
into your pet’s diet or supplement
routine
is if they are on pre-existing
medications we always recommend that the
pet owner consult with a vet
about potential conflictions um since we
don’t come from a medical or a
veterinarian background
that’s not our specialty we have some
vets that can speak on it that we’ll
refer people to
but if your pets just living a normal
life and they’re not on medications
there’s really no risk of introducing
this
and the potential for benefits is wide
and the potential downfall is is minor
you spent 20 bucks on a bag and it
maybe didn’t help as much as you had
hoped it would but
no negative repercussions there now
the sizes in animals varies widely
you know people you can usually you know
get
get it pretty dialed in between 100 and
300 pounds for
for dosing right but um on the
you know obviously there’s exceptions to
that but
for pets you know you could have the
smallest
kitten and the largest dog
just in that two categories and it’s
like you know
50x difference between their sizes how
do you manage that
in your product offerings as far as
dosing things like that and then and
what are the vets telling you
yeah see uh dog stores pet stores
that’s one thing but veterinarians you
mentioned that just a second ago what
what is their kind of feedback on on how
to manage the doses for
a wide range of animals so dosing is um
a topic that we cover extensively it’s
probably our most frequently asked
question
um so i’ll touch on dosing first and
then i’ll touch on vets because they’re
semi-related so in terms of making
products that can be effective for a
wide range of
animals um we essentially just
develop products that are specific for
different animals so we have
tinctures that range in size from 125
milligrams
specifically for toy breeds and cats up
to a thousand milligram
strength which we call our extra
strength for large breed animals
um and we have this handy dosing guide
that we created here
uh if you can see that so this is really
nice to
help pet parents understand how to read
the graduations on the dropper
as well as giving them a jumping off
point to know how much to use
so our baseline recommendation is one
milligram of cbd
for every 10 pounds and the
our standard treat our first product
that we ever created was a four
milligram heart
so we figured that was good for kind of
a standard sized dog you know anywhere
from 40 to 50 pounds
and a large breed could take two and a
small dog could take a half
since then we’ve developed smaller bites
we’ve developed cat treats we’ve
developed
a horse treat that’s got 10 milligrams
in it so product extension
has come along the way but our four
milligram treats were where we started
and we found that that was a great dose
and these dosing guides to go along with
our tinctures
have been helpful um where you can get
all the way down to a one milligram
increment at a quarter dropper of our
125
up to 16 milligrams in
in one milliliter in our thousand
milligrams so a wide variance in dosing
for a wide variety of animals
right and so for a hundred pound dog for
example
you’d say you know about 10 milligrams
seems like the right dose and we also
recognize how about it how about a 1500
pound horse
because that’s the horses actually um
digest cbd a little bit differently that
one milligram to every 10 pounds
we actually have an asterisk that says
not applied to horses so they actually
we recommend people dose them lark a
large breed dog so their
their digestive system is different they
have like multiple stomachs
um so we found that a lower dose in
horses can still be effective
and we kind of recommend you try and
find your lowest effective dose
but you know that one milligram for
every 10 pounds in dogs and cats
start out there and just monitor the
effects you know you can always up the
dose
there won’t be you know negative
repercussions from overdosing that’s not
a thing
so uh start there watch the effects and
bring it up
um horses are tricky to dose it’s not
our main
clientele but we say you know treat them
like a 200 pound dog
more than a 2 000 horse and start there
right and what part of colorado are you
in because i would imagine the uh
the horse market is actually a pretty
big market considering you know
the region that you’re in yeah sure um
we’re just west of denver
near the foothills um in a town called
wheat ridge where i grew up which is
cool
um the horse mark there’s certainly a
lot of horses around the state uh
on the western slope up north there’s a
lot of agricultural areas
um the reason that the horse market
isn’t as large to us as our pet market
is where we’re sold so we are
mainly carried in independent pet stores
um
and we are in some farm and feed stores
so those stores do a lot better with the
equine line
but the independent pet definitely is
tailored towards
dog and cat owners and small pets and
then the farm and feed is more like
where you get the um
people who are going to shop for their
farm animals and getting chickens
and feed and stuff you know the whole
farm there
now it sounds like things have been
pretty great but being in this industry
for five years i’m sure you’ve dealt
with some pretty serious challenges
what are some of the bigger challenges
that you’ve had to deal with because
everybody knows that it’s not the
easiest space to operate absolutely
um let’s see uh credit card processing
was a huge challenge when early on
um we took a pretty cool and unique
approach to working around the fact that
we couldn’t process credit cards on our
website
and when we were young this is in like
2017.
two year uh 2017-18 like one to two
years in
we created what we called our good faith
system on our website
so it was a survey that i created and
you could go in there and fill out your
name chase
and indicate which product you wanted
and you would indicate your address
and it would generate this survey that
said my name’s chase this is what i want
here’s my address
we would take that information make an
invoice in quickbooks
manually make a shipping label through
our shipping provider manually
print off the invoice and a pre
self-addressed envelope
and send you the product and ask that
you would send us a check back because
that was the only way we could take
payment
and people were super blown away by this
order process
and it was really time
exhaustive and it was a bunch of work
but it was the only way we could figure
out how to get the product out which was
our most important thing
and the good faith system i mean you
could get anything we would ship
it to you and if you ghosted us then you
know we’d hit you up to try and get our
money but there was no
we had no way to enforce it and we built
this awesome relationship with our
customers this repertoire where people
are like
shocked that we would send them products
valued at over a hundred dollars
with no with just the faith that they
would return our money and
it was a really cool way to operate for
a while
as we scaled it became hard to keep up
with and it was kind of like this
perfect
right when we were able to get credit
card processing was right when
it would have become really difficult to
maintain that system um
but it built all this great momentum and
word of mouth and we still have these
letters hung in the office
um one of my favorite parts was that
when they’d send us their checks back in
the letters
they would include handwritten letters
and pictures so is this very like
tangible
exchange that built these cool
relationships
so that was one hurdle we worked through
label changing
and issues around compliance has always
been
tough you know we want to be able to
order things in bulk
but you never know if you’re going to
have to
change how you’re delineating things on
your packaging within the next couple
months
so just working a little more hand to
mouth on things than we might
if we knew that this is what we’re
allowed to say
um yeah plenty of stuff there but we’ve
learned a lot about compliance
a lot about how you have to categorize
your products um
we’ve definitely come a long way from
making treats in our kitchen and
knocking on pet store doors around our
around wheat ridge right on now i
imagine you come into this with this
idea hey we’re just gonna send the
product
and collect later i bet your accounting
team just
loved you for building the accounts
receivable and all that that must have
been a
a pretty challenging situation to deal
with but also you know
high risk high reward for building that
relationship with the customers that’s
that’s amazing yeah i pre i was the
accounting team at the time until my my
rachel helped me take into that
certainly accounts receivable
was pretty crazy and going to the
mailbox and getting a stack of checks
and slitting them open and trying to go
accept every payment every day was
it was fun because it was like wow look
at this our business is
working and this is happening um but it
was pretty wild
we found that i think our our default
rate was around 10
right and i think at the time the high
risk credit card rates were like seven
to eight percent so
we really were in kind of the ballpark
that we would have been anyway
um but we got to operate with this
really wild structure so
right and incredibly time consuming i
would imagine so
um well if you’re doing it yourself you
don’t have to ask anybody to do it so
that probably made it a little bit
easier because that would be a a
challenge to do all those
phone calls to say hey we sent you a
hundred dollars worth of tinctures
you still sometimes get checked in the
mail from invoices that were sent in
2018 and letters
i’m so sorry i can’t believe this has
gone unpaid and
you know we’d written them off at that
point and hey thank you so much that’s
great
can we get you some more stuff i mean
our mission is to get
good products to people who need them
and right during that good phase system
we also had a thing where
if you can’t afford this product just
just reach out to us and let us know and
we’ll probably give you a bag of treats
you know our our goal wasn’t to come in
here and
glom profits and become you know
millionaires selling cbd dog treats it
was really to make products that help
animals
and educate consumers and build some
trust in this
growing category um and have a good time
doing which is what we’ve done so
well that that mission of values i would
imagine would have a really positive
impact for the business so what has it
been like
what has growth been like how many
states are you in how many stores are
you in what are you all seeing
um as far as the response from the
market goes for
um a pretty radical idea five years ago
that seems to be
you know blossomed into this this great
company that you’re here at the helm
thank you yeah um it’s been great the
response has been really positive
i think it really um the bottom line is
that the product is effective you know
we use a full spectrum of cpt oil
comes from organically grown colorado
hemp so the main thing is that when
people try it
it works and that generates repeat
customers and word of mouth
um we’re currently sold in over 800 pet
stores across the country
and we’ve got distribution i was
actually just up in your neck of the
woods in seattle
and portland doing ride-alongs with a
distributor last month
um we’ve got distribution all the way
down to texas
into florida up in the mid-atlantic and
new england
obviously colorado is we do really
really well here where we’re based out
of
so the response has been great um we
have a really vibrant instagram
following that my partners run
exceptionally well we have this great
community of
um i guess they’re influencers they’re
not paid influencers but they are people
who have
believed in our mission and products for
a long time that spread the word
and so our social media is awesome
our our community that we built is
really great and the retailers we’ve
we’ve been able to get into have done
exceptionally well with the product
and our goal for the future is to get
into more independent pet stores across
the country
open up more small to mid-size
distribution grow our social media
grow our direct to consumer business and
get good products to pet
pet owners and their animals everywhere
wow
awesome well caleb it’s been a a
pleasure talking with you
i’m really excited to have you all on
the platform uh hopefully see you at the
trade show here soon
and uh yeah con congrats and good luck
with everything on the
horizon because it just seems like you
all have been on a hell of a ride
and it’ll be fun to watch for the next
two years yeah absolutely we’re really
looking forward to the future
um i’ll get a care package sent out i
don’t know if you have a dog i’m sure
some people on the team do
we’ll send some treats out for you guys
use on your pets and uh
spread the word that’s what we’re all
about is sharing product and sharing the
story and the mission
well don’t forget to include that
invoice i’ll have to write a check and
send it to you
enjoy the treats you need them yourself
you just made a peanut butter flavor
try one of those they’re delicious well
i’ve got a big hound dog i don’t know if
you’d let me get away with that so uh
yep uh that’s why i was asking about a
hundred pound dog cause that’s how much
he would walk right we’ll get the action
john
thank you all right caleb nice talking
with you we’ll be in touch thank you so
much and uh for anybody out there
listening you can find caleb and
susiecbdtreats on cush.com
congrats on everything we’ll be in touch
thank you man be well