Joe: On this special episode of the "CBD University Podcast" with CBDs in health and wellness, we'll introduce you to our first non-CBD line with our new brand featuring immune support gummies, what's behind the newest brand, and overview of the products, and the innovation and technology that made it possible. This is a special edition of the "CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CBD University Podcast." And if you are a returning listener, we welcome you back to our podcast. If you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. Don't forget you can catch full video episodes of our podcasts on our Global Widget YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands. No matter where you subscribe, we ask that you do subscribe to our podcast. You'll get notifications each week when new episodes are published.

On this episode, we introduce you to our newest brand available to our food/drug/mass retailers, distribution partners, and our e-commerce customers. It's the first non-CBD brand from Global Widget, Defense Boost, featuring a selection of gummies immunity support ingredients. Be sure to tune into our YouTube episode for this episode because we'll have some video extras where we do some show and tell with the products. That's coming up later, but first here to tell you all about Defense Boost is our vice president of sales, Vince Gillen, and our director of strategic business partnerships, Tracy Lane. Vince, welcome back to the podcast. We have a new guest.

Vince: Yes, we do.

Joe: Tracy, welcome to the podcast.

Tracy: Thank you for having me today. Excited to be here.

Joe: And we'll start off with Vince. First, let's talk about the launch of Defense Boost as much as it is the first non-CBD brand from Global Widget. As someone who works directly with our wholesale and distribution partners, how has the response been to the brand since we brought this to the market for that audience?

Vince: It's been great. We've launched late last year, so able to get out there. We always have made really, really good-quality gummies. So, you know, having the Defense Boost line out there, it was pretty easy for us to make good gummies. And then once we put the product into retail, we got a lot of good feedback on the taste, the quality consistent with the gummies, and so it's been awesome.

Joe: Same taste and same quality as you've always come to know and expect. And, Tracy, you are one of the newer members of the team. You've been working with the Defense Boost brand since its launch. Talk a little bit about your experience and how you ended up coming to Global Widget and working with this brand.

Tracy: Yes, of course. So it's crazy to say but I've been in the CPG industry for over 20 years. I've worked with existing and new products in both the eyecare and skincare categories which are very overwhelming categories to shop for consumers. The same with health and wellness products, which are products that we manufacture.

So, you know, over the years I have worked directly at headquarter level with food, drug, and club class of trade, and I'm starting to work with the mass retailers now that I've joined Global Widget. I'm really excited to be a part of this company, Global Widget, you know, manufacturing all-natural health and wellness products to consumers, but also we develop and innovate products for retailers that deliver our retail partners' product set that sell. And, you know, really proud to be a part of the organization.

We do everything in-house here from product development, manufacturing, in-house third-party lab testing, our fulfillments. And, you know, everything is really topnotch from our formulation team to, you know, our quality control, and our chief compliance officer, and supply chain management. So it's exciting to be a part of an organization that's really passionate about bringing good-quality products to consumers but also partnering with retailers. And the passion from the CEO down, it's just really exciting.

Joe: And when we talk about some displays, I mean, obviously, we've come to familiarize our CBD products with some great displays. And we've talked about the Defense Boost packaging display. Obviously, it looks great as always. First, Vincent and Tracy, obviously, this is a display that fills in really nicely in a grab-and-go environment. We've got some of the product samples that are falling...that we'll show off here, but these really fell in nicely.

Vince: Yeah, we started with the first product we put out was in a 12-count bag, which is a little bit different. You see a lot of the products similar to this that are sold, you know, online, Amazon, etc. that are in bottles. So when we went to market, the first thing we thought was to do bags that could be more of an impulse item, and, you know, the feedback's been great. We are coming out with bottles, but for now this was something that can differentiate the actual brick and mortar retailers from what's being sold online and have a lower price point.

Joe: If you head over to our YouTube channel, you can see some of the bags and we'll do some show and tell right after I talk to Tracy about this. The response from retailers so far on the size and how easy it is for grab and go. You've, I know, presented a couple of virtual shows so far.

Tracy: Yes, yes. So, you know, I'll kind of take a step back a little bit. So through our product innovation, we take our SPINS partnership, which is part of our IRI, our Amazon arm of the business, and our contract manufacturing. And it helps us to, you know, come up with and develop products that are in a preferred form, top trending ingredients like Defense Boost with the vitamin C, elderberry, apple cider vinegar, and the sleep melatonin. But also with the right price point, it helps us determine market size. So, you know, again, really helping us deliver retail-ready products to retailers and consumers.

So the feedback was really strong at the ECRM show. ECRM is a bridge between retailers and suppliers, really helping to bring great quality products, you know, out to marketplace. The feedback on the bags have been tremendous because they're very unique and they're at a great price point. And then there's different merchandising opportunities. I mean, they're peggable. They can be merchandized at shelves and at sleeves but also different display options—front-end and also in the travel trial sets. So it gives, you know, consumers and opportunity to, you know, keep immunity building on the go.

Joe: And that leads in as Tracy is modeling the sleep version, and we'll start with that. This if you check out our video extras on our YouTube channel. As you can see, we have the display and then some of the bags right here. So let's just go through them. And I know we talked a little bit about the different ingredients. But, Tracy, you have the sleep version that comes in a blue bag. It's a 12-count gummies, and then obviously that contains the sleep aid melatonin.

Tracy: Yes, it does. Yes, it does. So melatonin, you know, is a great way to get a good quality sleep, you know, and really to wake up refreshed but, you know, really boosting opportunity to get a great quality sleep.

Joe: And then I've got in my hand the apple cider vinegar gummies. Again, these are the 12-count bags, and then, as you can see on the back, everything that you would typically see—barcodes and... We've talked about this also on our CBD product lines, but there are QR codes that you can scan for more information on the back of our products. Everything made in the U.S. in-house as Vince and Tracy have mentioned. And this is something we haven't done before—apple cider vinegar gummies. This contains apple cider vinegar right in each gummy. Have you had these?

Vince: Yes, I have. Actually, that's one that I was not sure how it was going to taste, and they're my favorite.

Joe: See, I'm a big apple cider vinegar fan like salads or, if I don't have apple cider vinegar during the day kind of salad, I'll have a tablespoon, you know, sometime during the day. I'm a big apple cider vinegar fan.

Vince: Now you can just eat the gummies and put them on your salad.

Joe: the whole thing.

Vince: We've learned a lot and Tracy's taught us a lot but, you know, some of the terminology used in, like, apple cider vinegar, a lot of the packaging will say ACV so we've started to see that. To what Tracy said on the data, you know, all these products are stuff that... The consumers are looking for it. And, you know, maybe with some of the stuff last year with the pandemic and all that, it's probably more front of mind for the consumer. But the, yeah, apple cider vinegar and vitamin C. And then which one do you have there?

Joe: I've got vitamin C, so we talk about immune support and some of the... This is a vitamin C gummy with the antioxidant right in it, and you could see exactly what's in the gummy vitamin looking at the back. But this has 46 milligrams of vitamin C in each gummy. And of course, I would grab the bag that has the orange on the bag but...

Vince: For Syracuse?

Joe: Well, I was going to say we're in Florida but if we want to bring in my college sports team, why not?

Vince: There you go.

Joe: And then the other flavor left, Vince you have that one, we can go with...that's the elderberry gummy and that has 50 milligrams of elderberry. That's another...

Vince: 100 mgs.

Joe: I'm sorry. Excuse me. 100 milligrams of elderberry, but that's another flavor you talked about that is becoming more and more popular in the marketplace.

Vince: Right. We actually even did... One of the reasons we added that to our CBD line was because this flavor has been so popular with Defense Boost. Yeah, elderberry, that's kind of my second favorite.

Joe: Now, Tracy, as we talked, you presented at ECRM, and I understand that that was on display recently with [inaudible 00:10:02] virtually and maybe some in person later this year. What lies ahead, you know, in the marketplace as you continue to talk to customers and potential customers? What's the feedback?

Tracy: So, well, it's been really interesting because typically, you know, you're going in to meet with category managers with live samples, paperwork, and everything's done right there in person. So the virtual through the ECRM platform, it actually worked out really well to be able to present and send samples out. And the feedback has been tremendous, you know, on the format and meeting with the suppliers but also in Defense Boost in general and the products that we're bringing to the marketplace, you know, in addition to Defense Boost, you know, as we grow in the future, bringing more immunity products and health and wellness products out there.

So, you know, like I mentioned, my past experience in working with categories that have been really difficult to shop for consumers, the health and wellness category is also very complicated for consumers. So my goal for the brand is, you know, to gain distribution in the food/drug/mass class of trade, you know, and really help retails offer consumers good quality products and innovative products where they can also make some really good margins.

But also I have such a passion, you know, through my experience in the CPG industry is, you know, bringing expertise to help simplify the shopping experience for consumers, and helping retailers offer products, and help them with different ways to merchandise and price point, and educate the consumers so they're getting a good quality product for their money.

Joe: And finally, Vince, as we continue to expand our CBD and non-CBD product lines, how has the feedback been with distributors and wholesale partners? And what other types of products they are looking to carry?

Vince: Like I said, it's been great. One of the unique aspects I'd say with this product line is finding other places in the store to put it. So it may go on the counter. It could go inline but we've learned some new terms. At least I have. So we have distributors that are using sidekicks and other end caps to place the product because they may have their set, you know, year-round HBC, you know, products like these already inline but they may look to have something in the travel section, grab and go, impulse.

So, you know, I think we have a lot of support internally to help our distribution partners and their customers, retailers, etc. to figure out where to put the product with custom displays. And that's been fun. So obviously it takes a while. You know, things don't happen overnight. So we're very patient, and there's a lot of back and forth and Tracy can attest to that, especially when you're dealing with a lot of the bigger retailers.

Joe: And for the latest news, and newest brands, and newest products, stay tuned to our podcast. And I should also mention our social media networks and I want to also mention Defense Boost on social media because Tracy. It's like a LinkedIn celebrity. But Defense Boost, you can find it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So I do invite you to follow Defense Boost across the social media networks, and the links to each of the social media networks are in the description of this podcast episode. Is there anything I left out? There's still more to come so you have to keep tuning in.

Vince: That's right.

Tracy: Yes.

Vince: I think that was good.

Joe: And on that note, in our upcoming episodes, obviously this is a non-CBD brand. This is the "CBD University Podcast." So as I mentioned, look for more news and information about additional new brands available to our retailer and consumer audiences. And stay tuned for a big announcement as our podcast approaches its 75th episode. And what is next for our podcast in the next chapter? We have big plans to expand it as we approach 100 episodes and 100,000 downloads.

I think my guest, the vice president of sales has been scaling, and Tracy Lane, your first podcast, great job, Tracy, director of strategic business partnerships. I told you Vince will... When you're with Vince on a podcast, it all comes natural and it usually turns out to be the best episodes we have. Don't tell anybody else I said that.

Vince: Thanks, Joe. That means a lot.

Joe: And I want to thank you all for listening to this special episode of the "CBD University Podcast." Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcast and find full-video episodes on the Global Widget YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands. And for more information on Defense Boost, visit www.defenseboost.com. And don't forget to follow Defense Boost across its social media networks—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as I mentioned.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CBD University Podcast". Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This content is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.