"In my businesses, I always remember what I felt like when I was an assistant or an intern early on and what made me care the most was when a boss treated me kindly. You’re only as strong as the people working around you, so respecting them and empowering them should be a priority. That said, a wise woman once told me to “hire slowly and fire quickly”. Still working on that!"
As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. is a certified holistic cannabis practitioner, a nationally recognized nutrition expert and a best-selling author. She is the founder of B Nutritious, www.b-nutritious.com, a private nutrition counseling and consulting practice in New York City. Brooke’s interest in cannabis, particularly in CBD came from trying to help her husband manage his debilitating autoimmune disease. Seeing what CBD could do for her husband, Brooke brought CBD into her private practice and saw many of her clients overall wellness improve. Having to navigate her husband and her clients through all the options and seeing how so many of the products out there were not adequate, lead Brooke to team up with her partner, Chris, to create the best CBD wellness supplement the market had ever seen. Daily Habit can be found at www.dailyhabitcbd.com
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’ve been a registered dietitian for 13 years with a private practice in NYC focusing on weight loss and health and wellness. Shortly after my husband Todd and I were married, he was diagnosed with a complicated autoimmune disease that basically causes chronic pain in his legs and hands, preventing him from standing or walking for any length of time. After years of having him on some pretty crazy diets (think liver and red cabbage) he asked for a break from all the diets and doctors. It was during this time that I had been seeing some interesting articles and research surrounding CBD and since Todd was what we call “cannabis friendly”, I basically said to him, “try this, it’s from pot” and he was not surprisingly open to it. About a month after using this specific CBD, Todd stood and walked longer than he had in years and taught our oldest daughter how to ride a bike. Once I saw that change in him, I started to research more into CBD. After learning about it’s benefit for anxiety,I brought it into my private practice for my emotional eaters with great results. I then spent a year studying cannabis and became a holistic cannabis practitioner. It was during this training that the idea for my new business came to me and with that, I created Daily Habit, the first full-spectrum CBD powder .
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
For those that know me, it’s funny to them that I’m in the cannabis business now mainly because in my adult life, I’ve been a total teetotaler. I barely ever drink, stay out late or even eat dark chocolate after 3pm. But the story that stands out the most is my conversations with my 10 year old about my new business. I’ve raised both my girls being very honest with them, especially my older one who has bigger questions. So finding ways to have healthy conversations about “mommy's plant” and the stigma and/or misuse of it has been challenging. For some reason she loves to announce to any one who is listening that I work in the cannabis industry. I think she’s actually really proud but loves seeing the range of reactions that gets us both.
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?
It’s only funny now because it’s in the past but when we were first getting set-up with our manufacturing company, we were working with a middle man of sorts to purchase our CBD. This man is every stereotype of the cannabis world rolled into one. Somehow he thought it was OK to basically hand deliver our order for our first test batch, so our lab received a “brick” of unlabeled powder. I never thought I’d have to explain or communicate that everything sent to our lab and manufacturing facility had to be properly boxed and labeled, so our product was left in quarantine for months while we went and got it tested again to make sure we knew what we had. This put finalizing our formula two months behind schedule. Fortunately, we’ve learned to be very clear with every order and now have those standards as part of our contracts with any supplier.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Daily Habit has just launched so managing that has been pretty awesome. I’m working on expanding the product line, testing flavors and more. The next twelve months for Daily Habit are filled with so much potential.
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?
First would definitely be my husband. His health issues were the beginning of this journey for me so I’m beyond grateful he’s been willing (for the most part) to be my human guinea pig. When I first had this idea for Daily Habit, I had no idea how to get it started. I really had the idea but not much more. Around the same time, I was asked to speak at an entrepreneurs event hosted by a good friend of mine and she asked if I could discuss a problem I was having in my business. My nutrition company was really running quite well so I decided that if I talked about my struggle with my new idea, it would make me have to make this idea happen. It would cement that it was my next project instead of just another idea I had. So I talked about how it was a challenge because I had this great idea, I could see it so clearly, but when it came to the complicated aspects of fundraising, financing and the technology, I was out of my element. I’ve run a successful private practice for 13 years but that business was very different. It was after this talk that Chris approached me and offered to help me figure this out. After a few conversations, I basically asked him to be my co-founder and it was completely the right decision. After running my business by myself for so long, I’m really grateful to have someone to not only split the work with but mainly to brainstorm and discuss major moves with.
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?
I think we’re at an advantage with our marketing because we can’t rely on social media marketing right now. Facebook and Instagram will not allow CBD companies to promote ads, so it makes us think outside the box instead of simply creating budgets for social advertising. But this is what this industry is all about- thinking outside the box. For us, solid press mentions are our best bet so we’ve been investing most of our marketing budget into pushing what makes us different- that’s having a legit cannabis and health expert as the founder of our company. Many people are unsure of who they can trust and what product they should buy, so focusing on providing that reassurance to our customer is our number one goal and press is how we’re able to share that information.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
Watching the regulatory changes has been the number one most exciting part of this industry. When the Farm Bill passed, it was a monumental moment in the cannabis world but also in the healthcare world. Heading to states where recreational marijuana is legal is another really exciting thing for me. Not only does it help with destigmifying cannabis in general but seeing the positive impact financially the industry can have on the community is amazing. And the future is number 3 for me. I can’t wait to see where not only my business can go but where the cannabis industry as a whole can go. How many jobs can we create, how many people can we help feel better? All of that is what keeps me so stimulated by this business.
What concerns me most is also the regulatory changes. I want rules and regulations to help weed (pun intended) out the poor quality products out there but it can also make more hoops for us to jump through. More on the poor quality is my other concern. In this industry we’re often lumped all together. So when you have another CBD brand peddling poor quality products or worse, products that don’t actually contain any CBD, it brings all of us down. And the stigma is my other concern, I think we’re moving past it but I think it’s important for all of us brands to consistently work to reduce the stigma and raise the bar in the cannabis industry.
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.
I think the best line I heard in this business was “I’d much rather teach cannabis to business people, than business to cannabis people.” This would have helped with the issue with one of our suppliers. That said, there are so many incredibly knowledgeable people in all sides of this business and I love seeing the “stoner” stereotype be knocked down constantly but the amazing people we’re working with.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Honestly, it’s basically the golden rule. In my businesses, I always remember what I felt like when I was an assistant or an intern early on and what made me care the most was when a boss treated me kindly. You’re only as strong as the people working around you, so respecting them and empowering them should be a priority. That said, a wise woman once told me to “hire slowly and fire quickly”. Still working on that!
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. :-)
Legalizing marijuana would be the most beneficial across the board. Economic benefits aside it would take away the need for black market (and often poor quality) products. That would lead to better safety and product control for all products, hemp derived too. It would give the courts a break because instead of dealing with the overwhelming amount of non-violent cannabis related crimes, it would allow the courts to work on backlogs of rape kits, violent crimes and more.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@dailyhabitcbd on both Instagram and Facebook!