June 15, 2024

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How Hey Bud’s partnership with Priceline is helping to reduce hemp stigma

How Hey Bud’s partnership with Priceline is helping to reduce hemp stigma

Hemp-based brand Hey Bud Skincare has launched into Priceline stores nationwide. Since its official launch in 2020, Hey Bud has accumulated over $10 million in sales, and built a customer base exceeding 110,000 people. Founders Alex Roslaniec, Fedele D’Amico and Ollie Watts told Inside Retail that the brand was looking for a relevant distribution partner that suited its customer demographic – which tends to be people aged between 25 to 34 years old – and found that their customers were alr

ere already shopping at Priceline. 

From November this year, the brand’s top five SKUs are represented in 400 stores, representing Hey Bud’s first foray away from e-commerce, and into the offline, retail space. Without revealing financial details, the founders said that the partnership is off to a strong start.

They add that it makes sense for Hey Bud’s products to be able to be purchased in-person. 

“Over the last couple of years, there was this huge rise in e-commerce. But, now that we’re approaching the Christmas period, we’re finding that people don’t want to wait three days or a week to receive a product,” they said.

“It made sense for us to try to find a distribution partner that was across Australia. Priceline is quite a popular one where people could pop into the store and get a Christmas gift.”

They believe that being in Priceline adds credibility to hemp-based products, which can face stigma due to its association with CBD products, which still require a medical prescription. 

However, they said that the stigma is steadily decreasing, as people become more educated, and reap the benefits of hemp products. 

“A common Google search is ‘how does hemp benefit my skin?’ We’re making sure through all of our communication channels that we are providing that information,” they said.

“We’re trying to educate our customers as much as possible.”

Market niche

Hey Bud Skincare started with two of the three high-school friends and founders, Roslaniec and D’Amico, managing acne through their teens and early 20s.

Roslaniec said that he tried everything from Benzoyl peroxides to over the counter medicines. Nothing worked, so he transitioned to prescription medicines.

A few years later, D’Amico’s mum, a beauty therapist, identified the benefits of hemp seed oil in reducing skin inflammation, redness, itchiness, and acne. At the same time, clay masks were growing in popularity, and was being used to help with skin issues. 

According to Roslaniec, a potential issue with clay masks is that they can cause irritation and dry skin. So, they worked on a successful formula that combined the hydrating elements of hemp, with the clay masks.

After collaborating with a manufacturer, the brand released 500 units in 2018, which quickly sold out. 

The brand has since launched an eight additional SKUs, with Australia and New Zealand becoming its biggest audience, followed by the US, Canada and the UK.

They said that the brand is looking to expand on its product range.

“The three core components that we’re targeting are acne, oily and dry skin. After that, we will start expanding our SKU range, and look to move into dull skin, hyperpigmentation and potentially anti-aging. The future of our product development looks quite exciting,” they said.

“We want to make sure we take a very customer-centric approach, and what informs a lot of our product development is post-purchase surveys.

“There’s definitely a big pipeline to fill within skincare [before we move to] other parts [of the body].”  

Experiential stores

Pending the success of its partnership with Priceline, the brand is looking to find a similarly relevant distribution partner in New Zealand,  and has its eye on other retailers to partner with overseas. 

It is also looking at opening its own stores, and developing an experiential side of the business down the line.

“We want to make sure that [our partnership with Priceline] is as successful as possible [before] we start looking at distribution internationally,” they said.

“But [opening stores is] definitely not off the path.

“Potentially in the second half of next year, or the year after.”