In less than two years, CBD Move Free has launched multiple products that are nationally distributed, landed a national ad on syndicated television, hit the shelves of approximately 100 retailers, including Bartell Drugs, and secured placement in 200 kiosk vending machines in California — all for less than $70,000 of startup capital and in the midst of a global pandemic.
The company was formed in 2019, with its first products hitting the market in early 2020. CEO Jonas Roeser, having worked in marketing and strategic communications for numerous brands and verticals during his career, was able to leverage his connections to scale the relatively small business faster than most CBD startups, making it a commercial success almost instantly.
“We brought a number of professional athletes together that have insight, connections with media and buyers or influencers and skillsets in marketing, forecasting and planning,” Roeser says. “We’re here to build a big brand.”
Now the company is raising its Series A round of capital to expand the distribution of its top-selling products, while moving forward with innovative, new CBD lines, including an immune system booster and a deep-sea mineral hydration product.
The concept for CBD Move Free originated when Roeser’s business partner, Cameron Truesdell, started Simpurity, a company offering white-label and private-label services to CBD companies. Roeser joined the company as chief marketing officer, but as Simpurity was awaiting its Good Manufacturing Practices certification, he began developing a CBD brand initially targeted at athletes with his father, Peter Cousins, former professional tennis player Sashi Menon and David Camp, the host of a national golfing program that airs weekly on CBS.
“I’m just not one to wait around,” Roeser says. “So we came up with CBD Move Free.”
Roeser pitched the idea to Truesdell, saying he would provide the marketing support if Truesdell could help with manufacturing.
Roeser told the Simpurity CEO, “We can start this brand overnight, and we will give you equity as an owner if you produce it for us.”
Truesdell agreed, and with Simpurity’s manufacturing capabilities, CBD Move Free was able to launch on a commercial scale without the construction costs and regulatory hurdles that plague so many CBD startups.
Cousins, provided seed money to start the venture, while Menon and Camp used their platforms for marketing and to expand the brand into country club pro shops across the country.
The first product for the new company was Swing Free, a CBD-infused balm designed to help with the aches and pains of any physical activity, including swinging a golf club or tennis racket. Roeser says the company wanted to make a balm that wasn’t greasy, sticky and didn’t have the heavy medicinal smell of traditional topicals like Ben-Gay.
The product was immediately stocked by major golf and tennis retailers and in country club pro shops.
The company followed its initial success with a move away from the golf and tennis markets, launching a balm with 1,000 milligrams of CBD aimed at the larger active-lifestyle audience.
Shortly after CBD Move Free began selling products, Roeser brought on his long-time friend, Ryan Quinn, the former global product development and merchandising manager for Converse and adidas in Europe, as the general manager for the company.
After handling product development and market forecasting on a continental scale and for two of the biggest brands in the world, Quinn would not have any problems tackling the burgeoning CBD market, Roeser says.
Beyond its standard topical products, CBD Move Free has also created its own line of hand sanitizers, sold under the Hemp Move Free brand, which serendipitously finished development right at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Technically, Roeser says, it is illegal to market a CBD hand sanitizer, but hemp-based hand sanitizers are perfectly fine. Using hemp in the formulation was a blessing in disguise because the hemp counteracts the alcohol in hand sanitizers and keeps hands from drying out, itching or turning red, he says. Marketing it as a hemp product, instead of CBD, also allowed the company to sell its products on Amazon.
With so many CBD products hitting the market over the past couple years, CBD Move Free strives to be an innovator in developing new formulas and pinpointing its target markets, including its expansion into the senior market with a line of topical products infused with CBD and CBG, a lesser-known cannabinoid believed to reduce pain, nausea and inflammation.
“CBG is just coming on strong now, and we created that a while ago, so I think we were ahead of the pack on that,” Roeser says.