LEARNING CURVE | Medicinal properties inspired cannabis edibles delivery service

Founder and CEO of The Hemp Fund, Walt Rothschild
Founder and CEO of The Hemp Fund, Walt Rothschild
Image: supplied

The realisation that cannabis had a positive effect on his schizophrenic uncle inspired Walt Rothschild to learn more about the legal and medicinal uses of the plant. Earlier this year he launched The Hemp Fund, a subscription box service that delivers cannabis edibles every month.

Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started?

We launched the website in January 2020 and I founded this company because I have an uncle who suffers from schizophrenia. I noticed that whenever he used cannabis, he was calmer and more approachable. I started to do some research on the plant and put together a team, and here we are.

What is your core service?

We deliver cannabis edibles to your doorstep once a month.

What makes your business unique?

There has never been any business or service like ours in SA

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?

It would not be easy because they would have to find the same market and same suppliers and we deliver countrywide.

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?

Lack of vision, poor leadership and disputes and disagreements between the team, and just the lack of basic business management practice.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners?

I think that is an important question but I fear I am not yet qualified to give advice. I am still learning.

What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?

Marketing. We have not been very organised and we did not really know how to manage a website, which crashed, and the costs. We had to relaunch a couple times and now we just need to get the word out there.

What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?

Be aggressive and take the lead.

How do you measure or define success in your business?

We measure it by our user base. If that is growing, then that means business is growing. When we started, almost overnight, we had 25 users, but the website crashed and now it fluctuates.

What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?

Content creation. We have a Facebook page and we post videos and we use those to promote the Hemp Fund and that has drawn us more than 200 followers.

What kind of advertising do you do?

Facebook advertising — we can find anyone anywhere through Facebook. We also use influencers and we have done a couple of campaigns with influencers.

What is your company’s vision?

It is to disrupt the cannabis industry by eliminating the black market, and make cannabis easily accessible through technology. We are taking it from the streets and making it automated.

What is your target market?

We are available to everyone in the country, but customers are mostly millennials and Gen Xs between the ages of 30 and 65.

What have some of your highlights been in running your business?

We crossed 200 followers on Facebook and launched the website successfully after days and nights of working on it.

How important is social media and an online presence for your business?

Facebook is like our headquarters and we also create content, so we depend on social media and an online presence.

How many people do you employ?

There are four people in my team.

Do you have any plans for expanding the business, and how would you go about this?

Definitely, but we still need to put in the work.

How did you acquire funding for the business?

There was no formal funding, but my parents and my family invested into my business after a long battle to convince them it was viable.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?

Just do it. There’ll be moments of procrastination and demotivation, but my philosophy is to just get it done.

What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?

Location has never been a factor for this business — I could have been based in Johannesburg and would still have been able to launch. There have been no challenges.

What do you wish people knew about your industry?

We offer three different types of subscriptions to suit each people, needs and budget. We have bronze, silver and gold, with gold obviously getting you more edibles.

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