Written by: Staff, Hemper.co
Who doesn’t want to be a millionaire? Sure, we’ve all wanted to come up with that million-dollar idea, but few of these visions ever see the light of day. But imagine if your idea came to fruition– before you were even out of college!
That’s what happened to Bryan Gerber when he and two friends founded the Hemper subscription box for cannabis accessories. But Bryan wasn’t done. He is now not only a co-founder and self-described “hype man” for Hemper but also the founder of Rebel, which specializes in CBD oil.
We had the chance to sit down with Bryan recently; we talked about his businesses, his inspiration, and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Q: What was your light-bulb moment?
“While I was an information systems major at George Washington University in DC, I ordered my cannabis supplies from Amazon; some of my friends started asking me to order theirs, too. Constantly reordering got annoying, and there was no automatic reorder. That’s where we [co-founders Ravjot (RJ) Bhasin and Henry Kochhar] got the idea for Hemper. It’s the Loot Box of Cannabis, and the market ate it up. As our success continued, I wanted to expand beyond the accessories subscription. I wanted to bring the quality and satisfaction we expect of Hemper products to the customers of the CBD Oil industry. Now, I have Rebel.”
It’s every entrepreneur’s dream: finding the perfect product for the chosen niche. And this is Bryan’s reality– twice over.
Of course, running businesses isn’t without its downsides.
Q: What are some challenges you have faced?
“Marketing is a major aggravation,” Bryan confesses. “A lot of big advertisers like Google and Facebook had no-tolerance policies for anything related to cannabis. They’ve started allowing some hemp and CBD, but it’s an upward battle. We’re hoping that as legalization continues, they’ll reconsider, but right now we’re limited to advertisers with higher costs and smaller audience pools.”
The second has been payment processing.
“We’re technically high risk. Even though it’s perfectly legal to sell cannabis accessories and CBD oil, processors are hesitant. Our second processor held $150,000 in Hemper’s proceeds for six months while they decided whether to keep us. We’re on number six now, and so far so good.”
“It’s a little easier with Rebel since that deals strictly with CBD Oil. Most strains are from hemp and don’t have a lot of THC, but CBD offers several potential benefits on its own. That’s part of why CBD is so popular.”
A CBD Primer
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is gaining ground on the internet. But why? It all starts with Cannabis. Cannabis is the parent plant which then splits into Indica and Sativa strains. Each child plant is chock full of substances called cannabinoids, which work with our endocannabinoid system.
CBD and THC are two of the main cannabinoids, but they tend to contradict each other. THC is psychoactive; CBD is not. THC is federally illegal and gaining legality in some states; CBD is federally legal but certain states mark it as illegal. When a strand of Cannabis is high in CBD, it is likely low in THC– and, as you might have guessed, vice versa. It can also be ingested through various forms such as gummies – check some out.
Both THC and CBD offer potential health benefits, and both require further study to fully understand these benefits and any side effects.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to start your own business?
“It started when I was 16, really. My dad actually got remarried in 2008 and decided to move to Atlanta and open up a brand new medical practice. And it tanked when the economy did. My mom gave me the wake-up call that I needed to find a job. I wasn’t sure what to do at first– dad had always given me whatever I needed. Where do I start?”
The answer turned out to be starting at the neighborhood creamery, but it didn’t work out.
“I worked my butt off at that job, but the manager just told me one day it wasn’t working out. It sucked, but I wasn’t about to let it get me down.”
How did he make it back up on top?
“I decided to open a Hawaiian shaved ice stand. I got a loan from one of my friend’s dad and bought up everything I needed: cart, syrups, the works.”
But he wasn’t without a teenage streak of revenge.
“I actually opened up right in front of the creamery,” he notes with a laugh. “Opened shortly after the fourth, and I killed it that summer. I made close to $500 a day in cash from regular sales, and I also worked events, concerts, parties– you name it. I did that for three summers and paid for my schooling with the profits.”
Bryan also admits he never really liked authority. “I tried to avoid school when I could, but I was able to see the benefit of a full degree– especially if I wanted to work for myself. And it worked out really well, ‘cause I wound up meeting RJ in the dorm.”
Q: What advice would you give to potential entrepreneurs?
“First and foremost, pick your market and then find your niche. Take cannabis for example: you have accessories, consulting, dispensaries, licensing, marketing, and packaging. CBD versus THC products. What’s legal in your business area, what’s missing.
“Next, you want to network. Run your ideas past people already in the business. It can be easy to worry about someone stealing your idea, but in reality, you open yourself up for great advice and valuable feedback. People in the market can help you avoid beginner’s mistakes and beef up your proposition– you might even find an investor.
“Finally, stick to your guns. You need to believe in your product. Resiliency is key when it comes to running a business, too. You’ll run into obstacles and encounter pitfalls, and you need to be able to think clearly through the issue, come up with a solution, and keep going. Having a good support group can really help.”
Q: How did your family and friends take to starting your own business?
“I think my parents expected it after the shaved ice stand, though they might not have guessed the market. My friends were pretty supportive, though I used to troll them over Snap chat. I would send them a message in the morning about running late for work, then snap another message from my couch when I ‘made it.’ I thought it was hilarious.”
Admittedly, who wouldn’t be hyped to run a successful startup from their apartment?
Q: Why should customers choose Rebel over your competitors?
“I would love to say ‘because I’m a great guy!’, but it really goes beyond that. Rebel is dedicated to pure, clean, high-quality products. We use a third-party lab to verify quality and purity, and all of our hemp is locally sourced from our sister company in Vermont. The family there grows 100% pesticide-free hemp, all organic; we keep careful track of what goes into our CBD strains. If we wouldn’t put it in our bodies, we don’t sell it.”
Rebel’s full-spectrum hemp oil is infused with a blend of MCT oil and essential oils. “I can’t tell you the exact specifics, though. That’s our secret. The blend is proprietary. We lab test it all to achieve the best quality, but we keep the exact blend to ourselves so people keep coming back.”
They’ve also taken out a lot of the guesswork when it comes to CBD. “We looked up the state laws so you don’t have to. Our hemp products are 100% legal in all 50 states.” Check out our CBD Oil here.
Rebel offers a wide range of products to match lifestyles and tastes. No need to worry about nosy neighbors– all packages are discreet to maintain your privacy.
Check Out GetRebel.co For More!
Rebel is on a mission, dedicated to helping individuals across the US and abroad take back control of their health and wellness. Their products are designed to capture and effectively utilize the healing powers of all-natural plant-based ingredients, compounds, and formulas to empower people to live their best lives. As a leading health supplement company, Rebel has taken center stage as one of the industry’s most well-trusted hemp-derived CBD providers. With a focus on organic, pure, potent and safe alternative health aids, Rebel strives for perfection and aims to make a real and positive impact on the lives of its customers.
Rebel’s evolving product line currently includes CBD tinctures, capsules, topicals, gummies, and oils to promote health and wellness naturally. They offer sleep-inducing CBD formulas, wakeup formulas and more.
What Makes These Products Stand out?
- Organically grown and cultivated
- Based in New York
- All-natural health and pharmaceutical solutions
- NO GMOs
- NO Pesticides
- NO solvents
- NO chemicals
- CBD enhanced formulas grown and sourced from Vermont USA
- Full-spectrum CBD formulas
- Triple checked for purity by third-party labs
As a reminder, hemp and other cannabis products are still undergoing research and that although
and FDA approved. Some research has been completed, and you can also find anecdotal reviews online, but you want to keep track of who you’re buying from– and who they’re buying from.
That’s one of the reasons we promote safe and conscientious dealers like Rebel– they work with a certified organic family-owned hemp farm in Vermont, let a third-party lab check all of their formulas, and constantly work to improve.
Note: All of the information in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal or medical advice, guidance, or instruction. We highly recommend consulting your primary care physician before starting or changing a CBD regimen to ensure there are no conflicts with current medications and discuss the appropriate dosage for your health. Your safety always comes first; if you want to start a CBD regimen, have a family member or friend available to monitor your reaction and be available in case of an emergency.
Published: December 20, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News