Year in Review with Ryan Rocca

by RISE Mag

July 23, 2019

Last summer, RISE Mag published an interview with Life Bloom Organics founder Ryan Rocca, where he shared his thoughts on “the future of the industry, what consumers are looking for, and why California is an incredible market for [cannabis].”* A year later, we’re catching up with the Malibu marketer to find out what’s changed, what’s come to fruition for Life Bloom Organics, and what the future has in store for our industry now (hint: it’s looking good).

As a longtime consumer marketing professional, Ryan has seen more than his share of trends come and go. He spent years consulting for auto brands, apparel companies, and food and beverage giants, and developed an expert understanding of brand strategy and how to scale startups. When the new wave of cannabis brands started popping up in the southwest US, even before regulations began to relax, he knew the industry had potential… and that, unlike his usual clients, wellness-oriented CBD products were something that could truly improve people’s health and happiness. As a cofounder of Life Bloom Organics, and now leader on the RISE team, he has brought his expertise growing traditional brands to the very untraditional – and exciting – cannahemp wellness industry.

A year ago, Ryan predicted that quality control would become more recognized as consumer understanding of cannabis products improves:

Testing and regulations to assure that product is top quality and meets regulatory standards will become well understood, which is essential. It’s not really “if you grow it, they’ll buy it” anymore.*

Today, we absolutely see this coming to pass. Quality control is one of the top differentiators for our in-house brands Life Bloom Organics and Karezza, and we have seen this become more and more important to both our B2B and B2C customers. 

Not all brands bother with testing their ingredients for purity, but even though the FDA isn’t regulating yet, we still feel it is crucial to provide safe, shelf-stable products to our consumers. And it pays off: Life Bloom’s local teams are frequently asked by customers about our lab, our third-party testing, certifications for our raw material (hemp extract), and what kind of product standardization we offer. Jason Rogland, our Director of Sales, reports:

Buyers from key premium grocery retailers, from Sprouts to Erewhon, ask us knowledgeable questions. They are interested in traceability, COAs, whether our lab is GMP certified (it is), and multiple other certifications (all of which we have). They sure weren’t asking us any of these questions last year!

This is why Life Bloom Organics goes into detail on its public-facing website (Life Bloom Organics, “About Us”) – we have best-in-class quality control and are fully transparent about our entire process, unlike many other cannabis brands that give little to no information about their sourcing, manufacturing, and testing.

Back in 2018, Ryan looked ahead to our team’s vision of selling Life Bloom Organics and Karezza at more retail categories beyond cannabis dispensaries:

We are well-positioned in the market to work with traditional retail as the landscape shifts further. We’ve strategized a focus on CBD products so that they can also be sold at wellness, fitness and vitamin shops.

Today, in additional to the traditional dispensaries our brands were selling at last year, Life Bloom Organics can also be found at multiple grocery and natural food stores, active lifestyle (surf/skate/snow) retailers, chiropractors and physical therapy specialists; Karezza is now carried at top adult/intimacy shops; and both brands now have flourishing e-commerce stores. The retail landscape has opened up exponentially, and our products were perfectly positioned to be welcomed onto mainstream shelves.

A huge achievement that wasn’t on the table a year ago? Opening a brick-and-mortar store on Main Street, Santa Monica, proudly selling our full portfolio of CBD products. While many companies now focus on e-commerce, we didn’t stop there; while Life Bloom’s online store is flourishing, the brand started at retail, where word of mouth drove sales. We still maintain a network of wonderful retail accounts, but our flagship storefront is more than just a store: it is an immersive lifestyle space, an educational hub where consumers can consult with specialists before they venture into the world of CBD, a showroom for partners to experience the brand, and overall a key factor in strengthening our brand’s legitimacy and value to its fans.

We opened our doors early this summer, less than a year after our first interview with Ryan – time flies when you’re having fun, changing the game and making waves. [Want to visit? Flagship store info here!]

*Source: “The Biggest New Industry Since The Tech Boom”: Meet Ryan Rocca Of RISE Life Science USA