We talked to Konrad Dziekan, founder, and CEO at Purehemp, about innovation in the materials market, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Konrad Dziekan: Both me and Evelin – my life partner who works with me – love working from home. The home office was part of our lifestyle before the pandemic so it wasn’t too much of a problem. We had to make some adjustments in our daily routine due to kids staying at home. Other than that we’re all good and healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Purehemp.
Konrad Dziekan: After a short adventure with a corporate career at one of the major global companies I decided to shift my carrier path from employee to entrepreneur. Corporate life and politics were not something I found amusing back then. I was young, full of ideas, and with infinite amounts of energy.
Lack of entrepreneurial experience took its toll but at the same time hardships and challenges allowed me to feel satisfied with where I was going. The price of a newbie in the business world had to be paid. I’ve been failing and raising back up at least 2 or 3 times. Not all of my undertakings resulted in success but all of them thought me valuable lessons and made me who I am today.
How would I describe myself in one sentence? Customer-oriented one-man army who loves people. Purehemp.pl was founded in 2019. I experienced the benefits of CBD oil use on my own health, performance, drive, and emotional wellbeing. At the same time, I saw a huge potential in the growing market of medicinal cannabis in the analytical data and market reports. I intuitively knew that this is the place I’m going to invest my own money, all the energy, skill, and experience I gained up to this point of my life.
The task I put in front of myself was not easy at all. There were several competitors with at least 5-6 years of market presence, developed brand awareness, reputation, and customer trust. Those were some of the biggest companies on the Polish cannabis market with vast financial and human resources. Today, with over 30.000 unique users per month Purehemp.pl is among the TOP3 biggest CBD oil stores online in Poland in terms of organic traffic.
How does Purehemp innovate?
Konrad Dziekan: One of the greatest innovations was the introduction of our CSR-related program. In 2020 we have developed a unique functionality that allows our customers to allocate 5% of their net order value to charity. What makes this program different is that it’s obligatory, meaning that at the checkout customers must choose who gets the financial support from the list of available charitable goals. It’s a win-win for everybody: the customer, the charity, and the business itself.
I truly believe that even small businesses, like Pure Hemp, can and should be more involved in helping those less fortunate of us and I’m doing my best to walk the talk. We are also trying to innovate in terms of eco-friendliness by using recycled materials for our products and shipping packaging. We aim to lower our carbon footprint where ever possible. Zero waste is the ultimate goal.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Konrad Dziekan: The fact is that as an online business we are thriving in times of the pandemic. With most brick and mortar stores closed the customers shift their interest and shopping activity to the Internet. If the situation lasts longer this trend might become a permanent shopping habit worldwide.
Another trend that emerged with COVID-19 restrictions and governmental response to this crisis was that people started seeking methods and products helping them take better care of their health on their own at home. Polish lockdowns and means of fighting the virus resulted in lower than normal availability of public health services.
A growing number of scientific proofs shows cannabinoids are safe & effective natural compounds useful in keeping the endocannabinoid system up and running well. This system is also responsible for the immune response of the human body to microbial and viral threats. That alone builds up the demands for products like CBD oil. I’m looking into the future with a healthy dose of optimism.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Konrad Dziekan: During the pandemic, there were actually no significant changes we had to make. The only difference is the increased number of daily orders that have to be taken care of on time.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Konrad Dziekan: This crisis is as someone much wiser than me said “a narrow window of opportunity” and both me and my company are willing and ready to go up this road. How do I navigate? Hard work, consistently great content, improving customer experience, and focusing on their needs while bringing as good quality product as possible to the counter.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Konrad Dziekan: My competitors are mostly financially backed by different capital groups companies run by experienced managers with skillful human resources at their disposal.
Purehemp.pl grows fast and organically. Its development is based solely on my own funding, raising revenues, unique skill set, innovative ideas, and proper execution. Staying in the game will require scaling and further growth. Pure Hemp sales reached the point when experienced staff hiring is both necessary and possible.
We are also making the first step toward international presence. This year Pure Hemp brand and products will be introduced to customers from one of the major EU countries. Stay tuned. The next area of development is the product assortment itself. We are working on several new CBD products that should be available shortly via our online platform.
There is a lot of space for improvement on the way to master the game of the online CBD market in Poland and hopefully internationally too. Another belief I carry with me in both life and business is that “caring” is the ultimate business strategy. We care about our customers, we care about the society we live in and we’re trying to do as much good as possible while keeping in mind all the toughness of business reality.
Your final thoughts?
Konrad Dziekan: If you want to anticipate possible scenarios for the future look at the data & trends and listen to what customers say about the products you sell. The trend in the CBD niche says it’s a growing market and analytical data simply confirms that. What do customers say? Unprecedented count of positive effects on peoples health and quality of life are being reported worldwide. This makes cannabis part of a larger trend of wellness and wellbeing developing globally.
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