Tell us about yourself, Taylor. Tell us how you got involved with JUNA and what you guys do.
Taylor Lamb: My name is Taylor Lamb. I’m the co-founder and CEO of JUNA, a women’s wellness brand. We formulate the most effective and most sustainable wellness product for our modern world. We know that women everywhere are more sleep-deprived, stressed, overworked, and anxiety-ridden than ever before. As a female founder and entrepreneur, I experience that firsthand. And these things have only increased significantly during the pandemic.
So, at JUNA, we formulate plant-powered solutions to help solve some of these issues so that people don’t have to turn to pharmaceuticals. We focus on solutions for the mind, body, mood and sleep. And we also have a collection focused on alleviating PMS and endometriosis. Essentially, we offer these effective, natural alternatives to women so that they can show up everyday as the best version of themselves.
I started JUNA with my co-founder Jewel Zimmer. She was a fine-dining and pastry chef and sommelier. She also used to have a chocolate brand. So, she really knows how to source the best ingredients. After learning how powerful the hemp plant is, she started working on these important formulas.
My background is more on the marketing side and data analytics. I’ve been in marketing and ecommerce for over 12 years, specializing in growth and customer acquisition within the women’s fashion space. I previously helped launch a direct to consumer brand called Lunya, worked for a jewelry brand called Gorjana, before partnering with Jewel and launching JUNA in August of 2018.
I know that you’ve talked about the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), but explain how we can fully experience JUNA’s wellness oils? Can we mix it with our food and drinks, or do we ingest it as is?
Taylor Lamb: We provide JUNA oils in tincture bottles. What’s great about this format is that you can drop the liquid directly under your tongue, or you can drizzle it on your coffee or your food. I personally enjoy it straight under my tongue, or in my morning cup of coffee. It’s great for combating coffee jitters. Our balance collection also helps improve focus by clearing up brain fog. It’s a common misconception that CBD makes you tired. While that’s not true, we do have a sleep-specific concoction called Nightcap.
What is your business’s biggest strength? What sets you guys apart from competitors?
Taylor Lamb: We find that many of our competitors are really chasing a trend versus creating a solution. We’re not a cannabis or a CBD brand in that we really consider ourselves more of a wellness brand. At the core of what we do is finding plant-based solutions for women’s problems. There are four things that make a successful brand. I think we’re able hit each one of those things.
- We clearly solve a problem. We’re improving women’s lives. If you have trouble sleeping, we have a sleep product that can help you. If you need to balance your moods, we can help you
- The products are effective. All JUNA products are third-party tested for efficacy and purity. Each product is five star-rated by our customers. We have close to a fifty percent repeat purchase rate. A lot of the competition out there is white label. You’re not exactly sure where your product comes from and what’s in it. JUNA is USDA-certified organic, so you can trust what you’re putting in your body.
- It’s really important not to change people’s routines, but to fit into them. All of our products in the tincture format can easily fit into people’s everyday routine and they can use it daily. It’s great for repeat purchases. We have a subscription program that people can sign up for to refill their supply every month
- We speak to our consumers at a deeper level. Our target demographic are women between ages 28 to 48, mothers, professionals and entrepreneurs. We can speak and communicate and educate authentically to those women because we’re also them.
The CBD oil market is ever growing and increasingly competitive. How did you guys put yourself out there? Was it easy to market yourselves or did it take some time for sales to pick up?
Taylor Lamb: I think we’re still figuring all of that out. When we first launched JUNA, we only had one product – our Balance product. Since then, we’ve launched two new collections and five new products. So, a lot has changed since then. But we find that being transparent is the most important thing.
Our biggest marketing asset is peer-to-peer recommendation, and repeat purchasers. A customer buys JUNA, they are most likely to come back and buy it again because the product actually works. It improves their lives and they recommend it to their friends.
I’ve been in marketing for over 12 years. The strategies that worked six years ago have really shifted and changed. People no longer want to enter email giveaways, or join friend referral program and bombard their friends with a bunch of emails. We’re always trying to rethink those old strategies and think of new ones that are more applicable to today’s consumers.
Do you guys sell largely online or do you work with retailers as well?
Taylor Lamb: Both. We’re primarily direct-to-consumer. But we do work with a number of retailers, such as Fleur Marche and Standard Dose, both of whom have online stores as well. You can find JUNA in boutiques across the US.
What was your 2020 experience? How did you guys at JUNA deal with the chaos of last year?
Taylor Lamb: It was a wild year. The pandemic hit right when I had my baby. I gave birth on March 1st, and I thought I had everything planned out and scheduled, so I could take maternity leave. But that didn’t happen. When the pandemic hit, people were more stressed, and looking for natural solutions, and they were spending more time at home. We actually experienced a huge spike in performance in sales.
We started pivoting in terms of strategies. Some of these in-person pop-ups and activation got cancelled. We started doing more virtual panels and educational panels online, and we became this resource company for connecting people. We invited doctors on our virtual panel to talk about stress, endometriosis, and really create this place that people could come to and find relief.
What’s it like now? Is 2021 looking more positive?
Taylor Lamb: We actually ended 2020 on a high note. We exceeded our sales production, and we’re really excited to launch a subscription service and continue nurturing our strong and loyal customer base.
Going into this year, we feel really good with how things are going. We’re trying to plan a number of fun collaborations, including working with women who suffer from endometriosis. We want to bring more education and awareness around that. We’re also investing heavily in the educational space and creating content to become the main resource for people and share the data and the research out there.
As part of your brand, you talk about JUNA as a ‘for women, by women’ type of product and you’re also part of cannabisforblacklives. Can you talk about why it’s important for JUNA to highlight these causes?
Taylor Lamb: There were so many important movements that happened in the past year and it’s important for us to be supportive and give back. We’re for women by women. We are for moms, by moms. We are also inclusive, so decided to give back in a number of ways. And we’re especially committed to give back to the endometriosis cause.
As a related question, what’s it like to be a women-led wellness brand in the CBD oil industry? Do you face unique challenges to being a female founder?
Taylor Lamb: I don’t think being an entrepreneur is ever easy. There’s certainly additional hurdles with being a woman. But, I think, above all, I see it as a strength. There are so many amazing female led-brands and entrepreneurs out there. And we’ve been able to create a great tight network of them, where we all work together and support one another. Are there hurdles involved? 100%, mainly around fundraising. But, overall, I think it’s more of a strength to be a woman founder than anything, because of the amazing community of women that we’re able to work with and who support us.
Speaking of working together, what’s your favorite thing about working with Jewel? What makes you guys work so well together?
Taylor Lamb: Jewel and I have such a great relationship. I joke around because I speak to her more than I talk to my own husband (laughs).
We’re constantly on the phone, constantly in meetings together, and collaborating. We have such a great close relationship. We bring such different things to the brand. I mentioned that she comes from the culinary space. She’s so focused around the ingredients. She works on formulations and studies how it affects the body. She chats with doctors every week, which is something she’s really passionate about. I’m more focused on the branding, our voice, our messaging, and the creative side. We work together a lot on the business decisions, the reporting and the analytical stuff, and on making sure we’re hitting our numbers.
For this month’s Mover’s Spotlight theme, we want to talk about creativity. How do you define entrepreneurial creativity? How do you personally harness it?
Taylor Lamb: I’ve always considered myself a creative person. I was an artist growing up. When I went to college, I actually majored in graphic design and that is before people knew what graphic design was. I won’t date myself (laughs), but it was a fairly new major. I drew myself into that creative world and it has helped me build the skills and nurture the creative side of my brain, which has helped me throughout my career.
With Juna, I’m still the one who creates the graphics in our ads. We do monthly postcards. I design those. I love being able to use my design skills and creativity to communicate with our customers. If I put an hour or two on my calendar every night to create something, it helps center me. It helps me make better decisions as a CMO and an entrepreneur, because I get to see things holistically. When we’re looking at, say, an ad reporting, I’m looking at it not just from an analytical point of view, but from a creative point of view. It helped when we redesigned our website and had to figure out and converge what looks great for the customer experience and from a branding perspective.
Are there decisions you’ve made for Juna that you think speaks highly of your sense of creativity as an entrepreneur?
Taylor Lamb: Everything! If you look at our socials, you could see some of the creative graphics that I’ve created that helped communicate some of the research around how this important ingredient works in your body.
As I mentioned, I have a lot of fun with our monthly postcards. People have started collecting them. They’re always so different. The one for February 2021 features my own spin on love languages and I wrote a poem for our customers on the back of it. Every month is different – we’re going to do something really fun for Sleep Awareness week and Women’s month. I always try to make it fun and ultimately strike an emotion for the person on the other end who is seeing it. I want to make someone laugh or feel good or educate them.
Looking back on your journey, is there something you wish you could have done differently? Or something that you know now that you wish you had known when you started?
Taylor Lamb: I think trusting our gut and our intuition. There’s been multiple times when we see something come to market and we’re like, “Gosh, we talked about that. We should have done it”. Looking back on it, we wish we did. So, being true and listening to our tuition and trusting our gut – whenever we’ve done that, it has always proved to be a great decision for us.
Where do you want to see JUNA in a year’s time?
Taylor Lamb: I want us to be the number one women’s wellness brand in the world! I mean, that’s the ultimate goal. I want us to continue to solve women’s problems through plant-powered solutions and continue to grow our collections.
We continue to explore other problems and figure out how to solve them. We’re working on one specifically that I can’t disclose, but we’re hoping to launch that at the end of the year. Over 90% of the population would be interested in proving that. So, we’re excited for that.
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