FOUNDED IN early 2019, Serenity Box Co have positioned themselves as the UK’s first CBD subscription box service.
With the hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) oil space a tad overwhelming for people seeking to understand CBD and determine which products are best for them, the company’s founders Damien Brome and Michelle Da Silva claim their service eliminates the confusion and hard work customers face navigating the market.
“Every month, we curate and deliver amazing CBD wellness products from around the world, direct to our customers’ doors,” said Brome.
He added: “It is a low-cost, low-risk way for the UK customers to explore a rapidly expanding market.”
Lifestyle wanted to find out more. With the ‘Green Revolution’ moving at a rapid pace, what was it like for a dynamic black duo launching a business in the cannabis industry?
Lifestyle: What was the lightbulb moment that preceded your decision to launch Serenity Box Co and the steps you took to get it to market?
Damien Brome: I’m a lazy shopper and love the fact that products I buy online are only a click away. Subscription services are great, as it means I can spend my energy elsewhere. I was keen to try CBD for the sleeping benefits I had read about.
My co-founder Michelle Da Silva and I searched for a UK CBD subscription service which would meet this requirement, but could not find anything. After formal research, we confirmed there was a gap in the market for a service like Serenity Box Co.
“The reviews and pictures posted online when people receive their boxes always bring a smile to our faces”Damien Brome, co-founder Serenity Box Co
Getting to market was challenging. Setting up our infrastructure behind the scenes before launch was our biggest win. Most banks still classify CBD as illegal, because of its confusion with marijuana.
L: It’s a wellness subscription service providing various products, but before we get into those, one of your strong selling points is making CBD easy for everyone. Do you find people are easily confused?
DB: At the moment, “CBD” is a buzzword which generates a lot of interest in the media but with little practical information provided around its core benefits, meaning the general public is still confused as to why they should buy it.
The UK CBD market is still in its infancy, hence the lack of understanding behind why it is so great to incorporate into daily wellness routines (as well as how to use it).
We make CBD easy in several ways. A big part of Serenity Box Co’s job is to explain CBD and its range of benefits to our audience. Every Serenity Box we send to our customers contains a card explaining the products contained in the box, why they are useful and directions on how to use.
We also assume responsibility to curate the best products on the market, so that we ensure our customers connect with, discover and enjoy the best lab-tested products on offer.
L: Are there many other black-owned CBD companies that you have come across on your journey and what encouragement could you offer others trying to find their feet in the industry?
DB: We have come across only two other black-owned CBD companies in the UK so far. Given the thousands of farmers, wholesalers and retailers within the CBD industry, this low number does not reflect the diversity found at the consumer end of the spectrum.
Our advice for others entering the industry is two-fold: firstly, refine your idea until it’s golden. Understand every aspect of your product. What is your USP? Who is your target buyer? Secondly, we would advocate patience. In such a young industry, building momentum for your business can take time. Stick with it and think of inventive ways to get your message across.
L: How do you see the growth of the industry panning out over the next decade?
DB: Globally, CBD is about to announce itself in a huge way. The UK CBD industry alone is set to triple in size between now and 2022. As we understand more about its ability to reduce inflammation, ease pain and promote calmness, it will be naturally incorporated into our daily routines.
We expect the format in which CBD is taken to diversify and become innovative. For instance, we will see more products such as CBD chocolate, tea and chewing gum come to the fore, alongside the more “pharmaceutical” CBD oil and tincture products that are widespread.
L: So what are your favourite products and why?
DB: The products we have been lucky to share with our customers have been phenomenal, so it is hard picking favourites. Three of note are: chocolate from Infinity CBD, Body Salve by Love Hemp and Roll On Body Oil from CBD Queen.
L: Which products have received good feedback?
DB: Our boxes have gone down well with our customers – they have commented on the range of different edibles that we have included, such as coconut oil with cacao, bath bombs and CBD-infused honey.
L: What if a customer likes a product and wants it again next month -– can they ensure they get it or is it a lottery every month?
SBC: Customers will soon be able to purchase the products they liked via our website. Until then, every box sent to our customers contains a card explaining the products in the box, how to use them and where to source them directly.
L: What’s been the most difficult bit about launching Serenity Box Co and what has been the most rewarding part?
DB: CBD is still confused with marijuana [CBD is primarily produced from hemp; hemp and marijuana plants are cousins but CBD does not contain the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana], which made it extremely difficult to set up bank accounts and online merchant accounts.
Advertising CBD is still not permitted on social media and Google, which means we have to market our business the old-fashioned way; by word of mouth and happy subscribers. The most rewarding part of what we do is receiving feedback from our customers. The reviews and pictures posted online when people receive their boxes always bring a smile to our faces.
L: It’s Valentine’s Day this month – what would you recommend from your product range and why?
DB: Alongside subscriptions, our One-Off Serenity Starter Box is the perfect Valentine’s gift. It is filled with lots of products which focus on pampering and wellness. It’s something different to the standard chocolates and flowers and aftershave gift boxes people send for Valentine’s, and is a great introduction to CBD.
We’re giving three lucky readers the chance to win a selection of CBD products from Serenity Box Co. Find out more and how to enter here.