E-Commerce Shop The Art Of Care Clears The Haze In The CBD Segment For Conscientious Consumers
Beauty influencer and cannabidiol supporter Serein Wu fears CBD’s reputation is getting ruined by shoddy products flooding the self-care market. In order to preserve its reputation and promote genuine CBD, she teamed up with husband and manager Chris Ledford to launch The Art of Care, an e-commerce destination devoted to thoroughly vetted hemp-derived CBD merchandise.
The website is kicking off with CBD offerings from the brands Green Helix, Mondo, Crave Skincare, Health Naturally and Life Elements. Wu and Ledford assembled the assortment to position The Art of Care as a safe haven for CBD users and springboard for people interested in the compound, but a tad hesitant to give it a go.
“I would describe our shop as, on a smaller level, the Sephora of CBD. Sephora is known for carrying high-quality products that people enjoy and love to look at,” says Ledford. “We have this vision of growing the shop by constantly adding new products and also making it a place for information.”
To make the cut for The Art of Care, CBD products have to perform for Ledford and Wu. On top of performance, the couple has to be satisfied with the details the companies behind the products supply them about product formulas. They seek details about the purity and source of the CBD in products, recommended milligram dosages and the studies brands have undertaken to prove claims.
“We are so picky when it comes to what we allow in our lives. If we’re going to carry anything, we’re consuming it ourselves,” says Wu. “We ask our vendors a thousand questions. We try to meet them in person before using their products, and we want to make sure they have all the paperwork showing they’re third-party tested and made in the U.S.”
Wu suggests Mondo as a starter CBD brand. She’s a fan of its Edible Hemp Powder, which is priced at $60 for a 30-gram size. The powder features full-spectrum CBD, a form of CBD preferred by most users, and theanine, coconut oil, cacao butter and tapioca. Wu sprinkles it into her coffee and reports it tastes faintly of almond flour.
“I would describe our shop as, on a smaller level, the Sephora of CBD. Sephora is known for carrying high-quality products that people enjoy and love to look at. We have this vision of growing the shop by constantly adding new products and also making it a place for information.”
“For The Art of Care, I wanted things that were very friendly and aesthetically-pleasing,” says Wu. “Mondo is easy to use, and it’s not intimidating. It comes in a pretty jar, and it has a travel container so you can take it with you. It’s so easy to incorporate. I thought a little scoop of the powder might not be enough, but I’ve had a great personal response to it.”
Ledford’s and Wu’s health is central to their CBD advocacy. Ledford suffered from perennial sleep problems. He tried Ambien and melatonin, and they didn’t adequately address them. Desperate, he resorted to a combination of CBD or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis constituent, and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive cannabis constituent. The combination worked wonders, but Wu wasn’t on board with it. The stigma of marijuana weighed heavily on her.
Meanwhile, Wu was plagued by unbearable menstrual cramps. Like Ledford, she was desperate for a remedy and, after roughly three years of observing Ledford turning to THC and CBD for relief, and his personality remaining unchanged, she became intrigued about the potential healing properties of cannabinoids. Wu decided to buy a CBD tincture from Humboldt Apothecary.
“When my time of month came around, I did the tincture, and I was incredibly impressed at how well it helped,” says Wu. “I didn’t get high. I didn’t need to take Advil. I didn’t feel like anything but myself. I got a little bit of cramping, but it was manageable.” She’s found CBD aids her back pain and anxiety, too.
“We are so picky when it comes to what we allow in our lives. If we’re going to carry anything, we’re consuming it ourselves. We ask our vendors a thousand questions. We try to meet them in person before using their products, and we want to make sure they have all the paperwork showing they’re third-party tested and made in the U.S.”
Although Wu became an enthusiastic CBD convert once realizing the ingredient was effective for her health and mood, she wasn’t enthusiastic about launching a CBD-related business. The legal murkiness surrounding CBD has made it difficult for businesses to operate, especially online, where payment processors frequently shut down accounts. However, Wu felt compelled to erect a trustworthy resource for CBD products because questions poured into her over social media from followers about the CBD products she’s relied upon. She sought to communicate about them and build a platform to enable her followers to access them.
Unrelated to CBD, Ledford endured payment processing complications in the past at a printing company he owned. From those past complications, he learned about the need for back-up processing systems and has shored up The Art of Care transactions with a back-up processor for its back-up processor. Janet Schriever, founder of Crave Skincare, assisted Ledford and Wu with navigating the payment processing landscape and attempting to steer clear of possible issues.
“We don’t want to be offline and not be able to service customers,” emphasizes Ledford. Wu acknowledges, “Clearly, any day [a payment freeze could happen] no matter how much we prep for it, but I was OK to go forward as long as we had a plan B. I’m grateful to everyone who shared their horror stories with us because it prepared us to go into this business with our eyes wide open.”
Wu and Ledford mention they’re operating on a shoestring budget and will expand The Art of Care product collection carefully to balance their budget with customer demand. To foster loyalty, they’re intent on administering attentive customer service. They send handwritten notes with orders, and depend on recycled paper and compostable packaging peanuts for shipments.
“For us, it was never about sales goals. It was about putting a message out there and allowing people the space they need to discover CBD on their own time.”
Ledford and Wu aren’t stopping with the current selection. The Art of Care has already introduced non-CBD products – for instance, lip items from the brand Basalt are available on the site – and they plan to continue to do push it in the lifestyle direction.
“For us, it was never about sales goals. It was about putting a message out there and allowing people the space they need to discover CBD on their own time,” says Ledford. Wu adds, “The shop is CBD-based, but we want to curate an experience. We love each product that we’re selling, and we will always love each product that we sell.”