Startup HATH Supplements Explains Why Proactive Use Is The Next Frontier For CBD
Moving the hemp-derived ingredient away from its alignment with weed culture as well as luxury, this just-launched brand offers products designed for high-functioning results for everyday consumers and encourages wellness through routine and care rather than just treating symptoms
While many brands entering the CBD space are focused on elevating the ingredient beyond its associations with cannabis and into a luxury product, HATH is focused on accessibility. With a welcoming aesthetic and price point below many competitors, the brand seems positioned to scale and enter the grocery or drug store space in markets beyond New York and West Coast metropolises. Its delivery system—thus far, capsules and transdermal patches—are familiar to anyone who has taken a supplement or dealt with general pain. Rather than focus solely on relaxation and pain relief, however, HATH also offers day capsule, designed for busy consumers seeking a high-functioning supplement.
PSFK spoke to HATH co-founder Kelley Ireland-Kelly about the importance of education and transparency in a developing market, and strategies for future-proofing amidst an industry whose regulations are in near constant flux.
PSFK: What does HATH bring to the CBD space?
Kelley Ireland‑Kelly: One of our core beliefs is that everyone can benefit from CBD. We knew that it was going to be crowded quickly, and it's a confusing space right now. One of the things we wanted to do, from a positioning perspective, was differentiate ourselves from a lot of sameness in the market. There's lot of tinctures, a lot of branding and messaging that said, “Hemp extract, the best, premium, natural, safest.”
From the beginning, HATH wanted to make sure that our packaging looked clear and modern and unique. No hemp leaves, no apothecary aesthetic, but more taking the approach of designing something everyone can recognize.
We wanted a modern, clean, bold look and feel that was approachable, so if you did see it on the shelf, it didn't look intimidating or like something that belonged in a more medicinal space. We also wanted to talk about hemp in a way that was using common language, because all the stuff, the ingredients, the processing and the laws around it are incredibly complicated.
Given the challenges and the restrictions from an FDA perspective, we had to be clear and intentional with our language. Instead of saying, “This will get rid of your arthritis,” we say, “This can help with those long days post‑workout, it can help when you have a child on your hip all day long, or on some of those big days where you have a big presentation,” and trying to put more situational language around it for people to understand how it can fit into their lifestyle.
Aside from the look and the messaging, we wanted to make sure we're going a step further in terms of transparency. There aren't any strict laws and regulations in place. It's the wild, wild west in terms of what you can and can't put out there.
We knew we wanted to do third‑party testing. We have a QR code on all of our products. Customers can scan them with their phone and a lab report will come up. We put a cover sheet first that said in really simple graphics and words what they need to know from a potency and ingredients perspective. That way, again, if you're doing any research or looking at trends to do a competitive analysis, we're trying to make that all a little easy for the customer.
In terms of formulations, we really wanted to make sure that our products weren't just the same products that were already out there. We purposefully didn't make a tincture because we knew that there was going to be an evolution to that.
We wanted to make something that people incorporated into their life every single day because it was such a healthy and important, new way to be proactive about your health. We created capsules for day that have turmeric and black pepper extracts in them as well. We also have nighttime capsules that have melatonin. It pairs really well with CBD to help you stay asleep.
We have our transdermal patch, which is such an effective way to get CBD into your blood. It's our favorite product to date because of its effectiveness. It's really hard to find a patch with that amount of CDB in it and that effective of a market.
How are you positioning your brand within the market? Who do you think is your target consumer?
We're definitely in the wellness space, not in a medicinal space. The nature of CDB is that it can help you with pain, stress and anxiety. But it also can help you be really proactive about your health instead of reactive. As much as we do see it as something that could be on your medicine shelf next to your Tylenol and Advil, we're hoping that people will have to take less Tylenol and Advil ultimately.
Part of what we wanted to do was make the packaging and the messaging something that everyone could feel comfortable having in their house, not hidden, and have it be something that was really friendly and approachable. Our packaging is clean, minimal, bright, and bold so that it can pop in a sea of sameness. You'll remember it.
We wanted to make sure that the price points were in the right spot. We didn't want to be so luxe and unique that not everyone could get it. Really, we want this to be that everyone can have access to this and incorporate this.
Our target demographic is women, for a couple of reasons. I think because of the nature of CDB right now and the hesitancy to take it, women are key messengers for trying it and being advocates in the space. There's a natural curiosity that women have about their bodies, their health, and their wellness that tends to happen before men. Also, they tend to be the decision‑makers of buying wellness for the family. If she says then she's willing to buy it for her family, tell a friend, and give it to her parents, family, then our target is earning her trust and having her advocacy in the marketplace.
What's your distribution model? Are you staying direct‑to‑consumer or are you working with retail partners?
We're starting with direct‑to‑consumer. We do have a 360 approach that we think is a little bit different than what's already out there.
Originally, we had thought, “OK, we'll be direct‑to‑consumer, and then we'll start regionally with the unique and cool CDB product shops and retail things that were sprouting everywhere.”
Then we took a different lens. What about all the people who don't have the education, the advocacy, the marketing, and the retail access?
There's a couple of different channels that we're looking at. One is the grocery channel and being in the vitamin and supplement space, which allows us to branch into areas like the Midwest or the South.
Another area we're looking at is the physical therapy space. We have a lot of success with our patch for people that have a lot of physical pain. That's seems like the right channel for people with chronic pain who are seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist, who can potentially recommend this as something that they can use for recovery.
Then there are fitness outposts, like Stretch Labs, for instance, pay-per-use classes and studios rather than big gyms. We're really interested in those exercise outlets.
How has your research informed your product development?
Our first product we developed was the 24‑hour patch. We knew that just anecdotal evidence wasn't going to work. We put together a medical advisory board with surgeons, physiologists and chiropractors to help us understand what we needed to look for. We researched what sorts of language and protocols we needed to establish.
Everyone is looking for clinical trials and data that they can hang their hat on, but right now it's all anecdotal. We wanted to be proactive. We have a medical advisory board that is going to be setting up a pain protocol trial with our patches for two different elements. One would be post‑op surgery: trying our patches on recovery, offering CBD as an alternative to other substances for pain relief.
When it came to the formulation of the turmeric and melatonin product, that again was us looking in the marketplace for what we felt was relevant for today and for what people are going through today in terms of just how hectic the lifestyles are. Those seemed like the right ingredient and the right dosage for what we were putting together for a daily use.
Finally, let's look forward. Because there's so much change in the industry and so much gray area in terms of regulation, do you think that there's any way to create a future-proof CBD or cannabis brand?
I think everyone's trying. We certainly have from the beginning. We spent at least eight months making sure we have the right manufacturing partner that was compliant with everything and that could deliver scale if there was an opportunity.
You have to have the right lawyers on your team, truthfully. Make sure you understand state by state what's going on, what you can and can't say, what's best for the customer.
I think there's going to be a point in which it will become more affordable for people, which is why we have a pricing strategy that is competitive. When that price break happens, we'll be able to weather that storm and continue to deliver the same quality to the same channels at a competitive price before others. We want to make sure, down the line, we have price points that make this accessible to all everyday consumers.