Rachael Quinn’s struggle with Crohn’s disease, a “painful, digestive autoimmune disorder,” as she describes it, went undiagnosed for a couple of years before doctors figured it out and prescribed different types of medication. “They had really bad side effects. It was almost worse than the actual Crohn’s itself,” the co-founder of Your CBD Store recalls.
A friend’s suggestion to try CBD oil, which she said worked within two months, led to the first Your CBD Store, in March of 2018, co-owned by Rachael and her husband, Marcus Quinn. After that “the thing really exploded. By the time we ended 2019 we were over either 500 stores opened or in the pipeline,” Marcus said. “We had 500 agreements signed and we were growing really fast.”
Their tale is part of a digital series this month featuring franchise founder success stories.
Part of the credit goes to a crucial decision made early on, somewhat by chance. “The biggest blessing that I had, one of the many, at the very, very beginning, before we even had a building, I needed some help with social media,” Marcus recalls. “I was looking for somebody on Craigslist to help me, and I got an application from a guy who has a PhD in analytic chemistry and was working in the CBD industry.”
So his first hire was Dr. Anthony Ferrari, now chief science officer at the retailer, who heads up all of the firm’s research initiatives, with the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Florida among others.
“I’m definitely not a scientist and I don’t have a background in botanicals, but I feel like I’m up to speed on what’s going on,” Marcus said, because of Ferrari’s work and their frequent conversations. “That was going out on a limb,” at the time. “You’re hiring a guy who was way more than I thought I needed.”
Your CBD Store has 550 locations today, 200 of which are franchise locations. CBD oil is made from cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating extract of cannabis. Cost of investment for a Your CBD Store is $55,000 to $70,000, which includes inventory and some working capital.
Rachael oversees sales strategies and training, plus owns and operates four stores. “I’m able to bring that real life, actually what’s happening out there, because our customers are our franchisees and our store owners,” she said.
Marcus said his franchise’s biggest competitor is American Shaman, but he believes Your CBD Store stands apart because of product development and “on the science and clinical trials and that aspect, working with the universities, doing studies. I think because we have invested significant amounts of money in those things, as time goes on they all start to come to fruition.”
“I think we are literally just at the beginning of really unlocking all the different components of this fantastic plant,” he said, with strains that “help you lose weight and ones that help you relax and ones that help you focus,”he said. “My favorite part of this industry is product development and diving into what’s going on, and how we can help the people.”
He said the early days were hectic. “It’s kind of a blur at this point, but it was adding people as quickly as possible. There are probably three or four different moments in time I can think of when we were on the verge of having a major disaster: we were going to run out of product, or we didn’t have enough staff. We went from being in a room in my house, we had four or five people show up in my house packing boxes; to adding 9,000 square feet of storage…and then buying a 50,000-square-foot building.
“It was crazy to be honest with you. It was a lot of work, a lot of weekends, a lot of constant grind. Even so much as having at the time, the kids were five and seven. They were helping us package.”
So free child labor? “Yes, the best kind,” he said with a laugh. “We had everyone in my family—my brother, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law’s mother-in-law. We had everybody, all hands on deck for quite some time.”