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Mike Sill is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sunday Scaries, the best CBD company in the industry. In this discussion, Mike talks about how to navigate the CBD space, the complexities of a supply chain with CBD, and how Sunday Scaries has been able to become one of the most recognizable brands in the space.

Transcript below:

Nathan:

Hey, it’s Nathan Resnick. Welcome back to Product Sourcing stories, brought to you by Sourcify. Today we have Mike on from Sunday Scaries. Mike, thanks for joining us. Can you give us a quick 30 second introduction about yourself?

Mike:

What’s up Nathan? Yeah man. Sure, no problem. So my name’s Mike Sill, Co-founder of Sunday Scaries. We sell CBD products, mostly known for our CBD gummies. You can get them on sundayscaries.com. We’ve been in the game since 2017 and going strong.

Nathan:

That’s awesome. Mike, really excited to have you on. I want to start by learning, what was the first product you ever manufactured? Was it these gummies or was it something else?

Mike:

Yeah, so the first product with our flagship brand would be the black labeled, self-titled Sunday Scaries. So they’re 10 milligrams of multi flavored, multi colored gummy bears with 10 milligrams of CBD per gummy, as well as vitamins, B12 and D3.

Nathan:

Got it. So how did that go? Walk us through the process of finding a factory there. How do you find a CBD factory?

Mike:

Yeah, so it was pretty interesting. When we first got involved in the industry, we first took CBD in tincture form, so the sublingual oil and the efficacy was there. We immediately fell in love with the cool, calm, collected feeling that it provided. But when we went online there were not a lot of products available and there was a lot of gaps in the industry with the types of products that were provided. So it was actually really tough finding a manufacturer considering that CBD is considered gray in the legal lens of things. And a lot of the legitimate manufacturers weren’t taking it on. So we had this interesting spectrum of trying to find the right manufacturer.

Mike:

On one end you had stoners turned businessmen that had been doing it for years, that were making the gummies out of their garage, which obviously we didn’t want to do because we want it to be FDA registered and GMP certified facilities. And then on the other side of the spectrum, you have the giants, Albanese and Haribo that make the movie theater gummies that weren’t entering the scene yet. So it was very difficult sourcing a manufacturer.

Nathan:

Got it. So walk me through the actual process, you go on Google, you go to these different facilities. I would right now try to think through the process of, “Okay, how do I find a manufacturer in this industry? Does it start on Google? Does it start calling your friends?” What does that look like?

Mike:

Yeah, so it mostly started with Google, which didn’t lead us very far. We continued to just search. But at that time, CBD, nobody even knew what it was. And then also, the manufacturers that we did reach out to their websites weren’t really built out and they weren’t very credible. So it was extremely difficult trying to find a manufacturer. So what we started doing is just reaching out through our network and seeing if anybody knew anybody. And eventually word of mouth is what got us the connection to our current manufacturer. But trust me when I say this, that it was extremely difficult and I wish there was a streamlined process with finding a credible, legitimate manufacturer where you can clearly see the certifications that they have, the terms of service, whether or not they have a QAA and everything that goes along with the supply chain.

Nathan:

Got it. That makes sense. And did you have manufacturing experience before this or did just dive in?

Mike:

I just dove in. Yeah, it was a learning curve for sure. And luckily I have a good network of folks that are in the consumer product world that that were my guiding light throughout the process. But it wasn’t easy, especially in a nascent industry like CBD.

Nathan:

So right now, Sunday Scaries continues to roll out new products and new lines. Can you walk us through a quick idea to product process that your team goes through?

Mike:

Sure. And I think as the industry, the CBD industry develops, there’s more and more credible players coming to the table. I went to SupplySide West in Vegas last year and started talking to different individuals and a lot of them are just starting to purchase the gummy machines, which are extremely expensive and they take a long time to set up. But what we’re basically trying to do now is reformulate our products with other vitamins and other boosters that will basically be siloed out per product, and the products will be separated for different times of the day. So we’ll have like a gummy in the morning, gummy at night to help keep the mind from racing and to provide a deeper, more healthy sleep. So we’re in that process now of trying to go through formulation, figuring out with a doctor, with a pharmacologist, what ingredients work best together, symbiotically. And then we’ll move on from there into manufacturing.

Nathan:

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. So, let’s say you’re a new founder going into a new industry and you’re trying to validate an idea with customers, how do you go through that process either, right now it’s [inaudible 00:05:44] or let’s say you’re taking a step back, four or five years ago and you’re starting a new brand or start a new company. How do you go out and validate these ideas with customers before actually going through a manufacturing process?

Mike:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So we always lean on data primarily. Obviously we’ll see gaps in the market and just opportunity with where we don’t see products that address certain ailments or conditions. But we honestly always look at our current consumer base and pull them to see what they think. For example, most of our consumers purchase our products because they’re excessively worrying all the time. They’re waking up and they have all these thoughts going through their head and they start to go negative.

Mike:

So they’re looking for a product to help them be at ease, chill out, and to be more confident with their decisions, which is why they use a lot of our products. But another reason that they do is because it prevents their mind from racing right before bedtime and it helps them slip into a deeper sleep. So because of that knowledge, we’re able to spin off the next product so we can sell something to our current consumer base that already loves our products and and our brand and they’re willing to purchase it right off the bat. So we have some proof of concept even before going into it.

Nathan:

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. So, with any supplement, quality control is obviously extremely important. How does your team go about managing quality control? How did you know even the certificates that you had to be approved for when going into this industry? It was just a lot of research or was there any key resources you utilized?

Mike:

Yeah, totally. And just to again drop it down to the level of our specific industry. It’s in the infancy stages. So we’re doing everything that we can to adhere to the FDA guidelines, but those are still being built on a day to day basis and a lot needs to happen with regards to regulations in our specific industry. But one thing that we make sure to do it just to source all of our raw ingredients here in the US. So the farms that we purchase our raw materials from are regulated by the state agricultural departments, most notably in Colorado. So that’s huge for us.

Mike:

I mean we’ve, we flew out to the hemp farms in Greeley, Colorado, my co-founder Beau and I, to meet the farmers personally and then also Checkouts, our supply chain partner has a pristine state-of-the-art facility in Denver where the raw materials are broken down and processed before they’re then shipped to our manufacturing facility in San Diego. So the key is just making sure that they’re processed in a lab as GMP certified, Kosher certified, ISO 9001 audited and then licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Nathan:

Got it. Wow. There’s a lot of steps that go into quality control of supplement companies. It’s really impressive and just cool to see how you and your co-founder have been able to dive in and have a full grasp of the CBD industry. I’m curious too, a lot of people, once they get to that stage where their products have been manufactured, they now have to figure out, “Well, how do I actually ship all these products to my customers? How did you figure that out?”

Mike:

Yeah, that was a learning curve too. We used to own a bar, so we were in brick and mortar for the longest time and going direct to consumer e-comm, there was a lot to pick up, for sure. What we did know was figuring out a way to make the purchasing process as easy as possible and as user-friendly as possible. And I think that was the biggest thing for us. When we tried to find products to purchase online for CBD when we were getting into e-comm, it was so hard for us.

Mike:

So we were like, “Why not make this easily accessible for the user where they can find our products easily and then when they want to buy the site isn’t glitchy and they’re able to change the quantity while having the price reflect the quantity change and able to add to cart and purchase feeling good about it.” So it’s one of the reasons we have the hundred percent money back guarantee so we can provide some security for the users on the front end and even on the back end, if they end up not liking our product for whatever reason, which doesn’t happen too often.

Nathan:

Got it. That’s amazing. Can you tell us one tool in your supply chain or in your business that you couldn’t live without?

Mike:

I think what we need is more tools. So what we’re looking to do is to integrate an inventory [inaudible 00:10:51] software system and plug into our website. So that’s something that we’re looking to do pretty soon here just because our volume’s increasing rapidly and it’s always good to know when to order product, because we don’t want to order too much or it’s just sitting on the shelves and collecting dust and interests. And at the same time we don’t want to run out of product. So I think the biggest thing is just ensuring that you’re ordering it the right amount, where you’re comfortable, it’s going to last until the turnaround time with your raw material supplier and manufacturer.

Mike:

So that’s a tool that we’re actively looking for. One tool I would do without is just, the biggest thing we rely on is the third party labs, the certificates of analysis. That’s huge for our products. And you can find those on our website just to reveal that there’s absolutely no THC or non-detectable THC in our products. So that’s huge for us because we obviously don’t want to sell a substance that’s deemed illegal by the federal government.

Nathan:

Right, right. It makes a lot of sense. And that’s obviously super important for your product. Can you tell us about a manufacturing disaster you may have had or if there’s no disaster that comes to mind, any success stories where you work with your supplier, a raw material supplier to really ensure that your customers had a great experience?

Mike:

Yeah, I think the biggest thing is just double and triple checking your packaging. Not only from the design stage but also before they go into print. Because a lot of times what will happen with certain packaging suppliers is that you’ll think your creative’s all set and ready to go, you check it and then you send it in and all of a sudden you get something you’re like, “Wait, hold on. This is our old design or this is the old label that we had.” So I think it’s really important that before it goes to print, you’re reviewing the files because that’s happened to us and it’s been a disaster where we’ve ordered our products and it says ingredients on it that we used to use that we took out of our formulation or we changed up a tagline because of brand confusion or whatever it may be. So you want to make sure you’re checking in, double checking and triple checking the packaging before it goes to print.

Nathan:

Got it. Yeah, that’s a huge, huge point you made. I mean packaging is so important to your products. I know you have so much going on at Sunday Scaries. What’s next for you as a brand or for you personally? What’s next?

Mike:

Right now it’s concentrating on our current consumer base, our squad as we call them because obviously tough times are going on with coronavirus. So we want to make sure to provide value to them while everybody’s isolating at home. Want to make sure that we’re maintaining the chill and being a soundboard for them. So that’s why we have a customer service number on our website and we’re writing handwritten notes and just being there for them like they’ve been in there for us since the beginning. So, that’s number one. On the side it’s just always constantly trying to improve, doing a lot of stuff internally. Like we’re doing copy on our website for example, stuff that we should have done a long time ago, but when you’re moving so quickly it kind of goes by the wayside. And then the third part is just working on the new product launch. So this is something that we’re keeping closer to heart. But since I love you, you’re a friend, we’ll let you know that we’re launching a sleep product pretty soon here.

Nathan:

Wow. That’s going to be awesome.

Mike:

So that’s the fun stuff, right? Is product development. A lot goes behind it, but it’s invigorating going through the creative stages and providing some new cool products for our consumers.

Nathan:

Right. That’s fantastic. Well, Mike, thanks so much for joining us on product sourcing stories. If listeners want to reach out or find out more about Sunday Scaries, where can they find you?

Mike:

Easiest way is just sundayscaries.com. They could follow us on Instagram. It’s sundayscariestcbd.

Nathan:

Got it. Mike, that’s amazing. Thanks again for coming on and really appreciate your time.