California startup explodes onto the cannabis scene with innovative new products and eye-catching box design
When I first saw the hmbldt product offerings, I was blown away. It’s a line of cannabis products that seem to have that special “look” that tells you instantly it’s going to be a big success. As with many great products — think Apple, Haagen Dazs, Vitamin Water or Grey Goose Vodka — there’s an instant recognition that the packaging is a cut above the competition.
Derek McCarty, hmbldt’s head of marketing, was happy to talk about the company’s philosophy and its recent explosive growth.
“We launched in September, and in a little over four months signed up over 130 retailers in California,” McCarty says.
He explains that the company took a different approach than most producers in the cannabis space; hmbldt concluded that in an increasingly complex world, consumers often gravitate to products that are less cluttered and confusing.
“We took the health and wellness world to cannabis, and created bespoke packaging that communicates wellness,” McCarty says. “We also placed the emphasis on an experience that is predictable, consistent and repeatable.”
In other words, hmbldt is a business that wants to take the least desirable aspects of the cannabis industry — its unpredictable and sometimes intimidating nature — and make it friendly and approachable. In traditional consumer products, this type of thinking would be called reverse engineering or taking a consumer-centric approach. It’s a simple concept, but one that often eludes those in the industry who don’t have experience beyond cannabis culture.
In the case of the hmbldt line, reverse engineering meant leaving behind strains and plant phenotypes and creating targeted blends of cannabinoids and terpenes that are designed to deliver specific effects: Sleep, Bliss, Calm and Relief. The idea is as simple as it is brilliant: For consumers, the effect they’re looking for is clearly spelled out on the package. Because hmbldt is engineering the formulas, the source material is carefully controlled. The guess work and worrying about consistency are removed and replaced with the type of predictability you’d expect with a traditional consumer product.
When it comes to sourcing its cannabis, the company works with a small number of local family farms in Humboldt County. Each farm is required to grow in a sustainable manner and adhere to strict company guidelines.
McCarty is quick to point out the benefits of working with local family farms.
“We know all the suppliers we work with and that ensures a really consistent product line,” he says. “Predictability is something we’re fanatical about, and we know from experience that this industry has not always had a good reputation in that respect.”
Hmbldt is a company that has achieved something elusive in the legal cannabis space — an instantly recognizable product line, a strong “line look,” fabulous packaging and loyal customers. The combination has led to fast growth and a rapidly expanding retail base that bodes well for the prospect of hmbldt becoming one of the first true mainstream brands in cannabis.