From Selling Beverages To Becoming “Uber Of Cannabis And CBD,” Chill Jane Is Making Waves In The Cannabis Consumer Goods Sector

Judging by all of the businesses Udochi Igbokwe has started, she seems like a huge overachiever. She’s the founder of global management firm Chime Group, superfood ingestible and beauty brand Elxr, and cannabis and CBD company Chill Jane, maker of the bestselling Big Mood CBD sparkling beverages.

Compared to other Nigerians, however, the Nigerian-born Miami resident says she’s “not doing anything. You’ve got families that are like, ‘Well, I’m a doctor, lawyer and an engineer, and I did it all before I was 32.’ You’re either a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or a disappointment. Entrepreneurship is actually not encouraged—and rightfully so. It’s the most unstable environment.” Igbokwe’s parents have two entrepreneurs on their hands: she co-founded Elixr and Chill Jane with her sister, Ozioma.

Given Chill Jane’s success thus far, it’s hard to view Igbokwe as a disappointment despite her embarking on a “disappointing” career path. When she and Ozioma launched Chill Jane two years ago in direct-to-consumer distribution with a single blueberry flavor of its CBD-infused sparking beverage at $50 for a six-pack, it sold 45,000 units within the first three months. Since then, it’s registered 300% year-over-year growth and reached a seven-figure revenue total. 

Igbokwe’s previous business ventures were a catalyst for Chill Jane. As she tried to keep so many plates spinning, she began experiencing health issues, including digestive problems and allergies. A vegan diet helped alleviate her physical ailments, but her mind was still racing. “I realized I had anxiety, and it wasn’t going away anytime soon,” says Igbokwe. “I partnered with a friend, and we got into business, a cannabis farm in Oregon. From there, we developed Chill Jane.”

Chill Jane co-founder and CEO Udochi Igbokwe

Igbokwe explains Chill Jane is an anti-anxiety, anti-stress brand that’s not following the trajectory of its predecessor cannabis or CBD brands. It kicked off with a tincture, a popular inaugural product for CBD wellness brands, but has shifted its merchandise strategy to concentrate on carbonated beverages. “We wanted to focus on the lifestyle of calm and chill being the foundation of the brand,” says Igbokwe. 

Chill Jane’s marketing and target audience also veer from CBD or cannabis brands generally. “While everyone’s fighting for the Goop crowd, we went to the barbershops, we went to the gyms gorilla-style [with] street teams that were talking to people, ‘What do you need? What do you suffer from? Do you have anxiety? Are you sleeping?’ We took an old-school approach to selling our products.’”

The bootstrapped company is almost exclusively DTC, although it’s extended outside of DTC to a few spots in Miami, notably destination wellness center Sacred Space. In the near term, Igbokwe expects its distribution to remain predominantly on its own e-commerce website, but she has plans to extend the Chill Jane umbrella in several directions over the long term. Specifically, the goal for the company is to build offerings in three verticals: a cannabis technology service and application delivering products to various states, a Chill Jane CBD marketplace and Big Mood, the beverage line. 

On the marketplace, consumers nationwide will be able to shop CBD products from a curated selection of brands as well as strains of cannabis flower, depending on regulations in the state they live in. “The strain or CBD product that they want to use will be based on how they want to feel,” says Igbokwe. “We’re separating it by feelings. If you want to feel focused, aroused, creative, euphoric, you select, and we make recommendations to you.” 

While everyone’s fighting for the Goop crowd, we went to the barbershops, we went to the gyms gorilla-style [with] street teams that were talking to people, ‘What do you need? What do you suffer from? Do you have anxiety? Are you sleeping?’ We took an old-school approach to selling our products.

Chill Jane’s service won’t carry inventory. Instead, it will partner with multi-state operators or MSOs to facilitate orders in a manner that’s compliant with cannabis laws in different jurisdictions. “We are calling ourselves the Uber of cannabis and CBD,” says Igbokwe. “We’re delivering premium cannabis and CBD to customers directly to their door.” 

Chill Jane’s beverages have 15 milligrams of water-soluble CBD in a 12-oz. can. In the fall, the brand will introduce a Big Mood collection with new flavors Chillionaire, Trippy and Dream, and souped-up formulas enriched with adaptogenic botanicals and mushrooms.  

In addition to being co-founder, Ozioma is also a mycologist with her own lab. She is also the UX designer and helps lead product marketing strategy for both brands.  She says, “Our love of nature lures us towards the tree of life archetype for endless inspiration. Whether we’re formulating with shrooms or with UX/UI components at our lab, I often tell everyone that synergy and eccentricity are the fibers of Chill Jane. We approach product design with the agility and level of visceral credence that one would expect from a global beverage giant of the future.”

Chill Jane launched in 2020 with one variety of carbonated CBD beverage Big Mood priced at $40 for a six-pack.

Beauty products will follow the launch of the Big Mood beverage collection. Igbokwe’s ingestible and beauty brand Elxr sells $50 CBD-infused face oil No Filter Superfood Brightening Serum, and it’s the bestseller. Early on, Igbokwe avoided beauty at Chill Jane because she thought the brand’s customers wouldn’t gravitate to it. Although she’s changed course on the brand’s role in beauty and is readying to produce skincare products for it, she’s in no rush to pump skincare into its assortment. “I want us to do it on our own time,” says Igbokwe. 

Igbokwe isn’t interested in keeping as many plates spinning as she has been. She handles the CEO responsibilities for Chill Jane and Elxr, but would eventually like to hand those responsibilities over to hired CEOs in order to turn her attention to creative pursuits. “I heard Issa Rae say in an interview that she doesn’t think it’s possible to be a great CEO and a creative at the same time, and I have to agree with her,” says Igbokwe. “I’ve been so focused on the business side of things, I realized I haven’t created anything in like a year and a half. So, we’re getting to the point where we’re delegating, and I’m keeping my eyes open to see who we can bring into the organization to keep it going.”