STRATA7 is thrilled to share stories of customer success in a new series called The Success Spotlight.
Each month, we highlight the origins, motivations, and perspectives of small businesses and the entrepreneurial leaders who created them. This month, we had the pleasure of sitting down with ExtractWellness CEO and Founder, Jeff Amrein.
JA: “We set out to establish a wellness company based on the changes in laws regarding the legalization of cannabis products. CBD can play an important role in reducing inflammation in the body, and cannabis offers a natural path.
We also recognized opportunities where people were dealing with difficulty sleeping and experiencing increased anxiety. Cannabis can offer a holistic approach to reducing anxiety and promoting solid sleep.
The turning point for us happened when we were researching CBD – a close friend called me to tell me that his mother-in-law was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My friend did not know that I was studying Cannabis and its benefits. I told him that CDB could possibly help with his mother-in-law’s pain, help to reduce tumors, and reduce inflammation. This all happened before I started the company. Soon after we talked, they were able to give his mother-in-law large doses of CBD. The doctors watched it for a while. They reported that her tumor changed from 4.5 inches to 1.5 inches. Albeit they were still doing other more traditional treatments as well. When they first diagnosed her, the doctor gave her 90 to 180 days to live…well, she went on to live another 2 years after. That is when I knew we were possibly onto something.
CBD is one of the best natural remedies there to address inflammation. I found these fascinating subjects in something I could get my hands on…and we went on to create Extract Wellness.”
S7: Who inspires you? If you could choose a mentor, who would it be?
JA: “My Dad. He was never an entrepreneur, but he was the biggest cheerleader for me to be an entrepreneur…probably one of the biggest things that has helped me is that he constantly askes me “What is going on?” – like he feeds off of it.
He is 81 years old now and we talk often about what our company is doing, what are the latest techniques, and what kind of marketing strategies we are pursuing. He is just so interested.”
S7: How has your business changed / evolved since it’s creation?
JA: “The biggest change is how we market our products to customers. COVID has been the biggest change. Prior to the pandemic, 60% sales in stores 40% online. Now, we are about 70% sales online and 30% in stores. How we reach our buyer is the biggest change to our company. Early on, we used the more traditional routes – stores, trade shows, etc. However, the world has gone more digital. It used to be that Facebook was the leader – now people are moving more towards Instagram and TikTok. You also have to consider your audience. Those platforms are targeted to different audience segments. Instagram is geared toward the younger market, whereas our target market is between 35 – 75 years old, so Instagram isn’t so big. With TikTok, a lot of older people are looking at it…it’s very addictive…so how do we get in front of them? The most effective way we reach our customers today is through emailing our current customers. That’s the number one way for us to achieve sales…but you need new customers and we need to get them engaged. We are constantly experimenting.
We have evolved into a wellness company and are now considering products that are not exclusively CBD. We have products launching this month that are variations on products that we currently offer, but without CBD so that we can sell them on Amazon and Google marketplace.”
S7: What keeps you up at night?
“Growth! In order to maintain a balance so that your company can survive to keep your company profitable, sometimes you have to cut staff…you have to remove unnecessary costs, yet not lose talent.”
What are other common struggles of entrepreneurs?
“Going in too many directions is often a struggle, sometimes you need to turn down opportunities. Focusing on one thing and not fifty things is often what you see in an entrepreneur’s mind. Oh – and figuring out marketing…
We are constantly measuring for success, assessing direction, and acting off it. Measurement forces us to ask “How do you build on company initiatives, and know with confidence which ones are working and which ones are not?” Track as much as possible so you know where to build.
Hiring talent can be a struggle. We’re always on the lookout for great people.
Lastly, “falling in love with your own baby” syndrome can really be a struggle. It helps to keep things in perspective.”
S7: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
JA: “One word. Routine. When my kids were younger, I would drive them to school in the mornings and my wife would pick them up after school. Having to do that kept me on a routine. Entrepreneurs have a lot more flexibility in their work day. Make sure that your routine gets you to work as early or a little bit earlier than everybody else – this sends the right message, and that’s important.
Because we lived about a half hour out from their school, that gave me a solid half hour with them. The conversations with them were phenomenal. We don’t just talk about school, we have life conversations. We listen to music together and talk, and that is pretty priceless to have that kind of time with your kids.”
S7: How does your company celebrate success?
JA: “We celebrate success on a personal level. I will take the individual on a trip, or go play golf. Sometimes we will bring in food to share with the entire team. We try to create an atmosphere that is “home”. We celebrate success together.”
S7: What would you do for a career if you were not leading Extract Wellness?
JA: “Something in science – water fascinates me. Water is the key to everything and we don’t even know it yet. For 2 weeks, a friend let me experiment with a Kangan Water Machine. You hook it up to your faucet and it has electricity going through it. So, just by pressing a button, you can create high pH water, which is very good for you. You can also press a different button and that makes the water acidic. You don’t drink this water but you can use it for a variety of things. You can wash your clothes with it, brush your teeth (makes them bright and white). It’s the craziest gadget you’d ever see, but it has so many possibilities. It’s absolutely crazy what you can do with water. You can produce hydrogen from water to make fuel. We already know that the secret to hydration is water and the secret to nutrition is water. We are going to find many problems that needs to be solved can be solved with water.”
S7: How do you define success?
JA: “Accomplishment. What were you going after, and then looking back realizing you did it. That’s true success.”
S7: Which product or service is your favorite?
JA: “Our biggest sellers are the oils, that’s because they really show the most results with customers. They are very high quality, very clean, and rigorously tested. If you take it at night before you go to bed, you are going to sleep better. If you have pain, it can go away if it is inflammation driven. The effects and results of CBD are being tested and proven each day. The root of the problem seems to be inflammation. There are so many ailments attributed to inflammation. Hemp extract has the properties to help combat inflammation.”
S7: Anything new in the pipeline of offerings?
JA: “Daily Lotion and Afterburn – both of them are fantastic. I put it on everyday when I get out of the shower. My skin has gotten noticeably younger. It is less blotchy. It’s softer. It seems to positively affect everything on the skin.”
S7: What advice can you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
JA: “Establish Predictability. I have helped several entrepreneurs and will always tell them “It’s the P word, not profitability, predictability”. The first step in entrepreneurism is to become predictable. Here’s the deal: if you can create a product that you can sell for $5.00 each day, you can build on that. What you can’t build on is inconsistency. You have to get your business into a steady rhythm and become predictable, then you increase your chances of making your business successful.