16 January 2021|Latest Posts, Launching a business, Meet the Successful Founder
Hayley Millbank (36) founded Cannadox, a luxury CBD brand, in 2019 after suffering a severe anxiety attack in 2016, she was prescribed medication but ended up discovering CBD was the only remedy that helped manage her anxiety. Here she discusses starting her company, the trials and tribulations she has faced as an entrepreneur, and how she juggles being a full-time mum and businesswoman.
Before I launched Cannadox, I had been working at a multinational investment bank, although it provided me with invaluable skills, it was extremely stressful due to the high pressure and long hours it demanded of me. I often found myself hiding in the toilet crying and my mental health was suffering immensely. In 2014, my husband Daniel and I had our beautiful daughter, Boo. It was the happiest I had ever been, however, I had to go back to work to make ends meet after my maternity leave. Returning to a stressful job and being a mother started to take its toll on my health.
It was a Friday, in February 2016 – I was working from home and something had gone wrong – I think I had forgotten to action something important. Suddenly my throat felt like it was swollen, I could barely swallow. There was a pain in my chest, like my heart was bruised and each pound of it just aggravated the bruising. I couldn’t breathe, I was being smothered. This darkness consumed me – shaking and sweating. It was like I was being pinned down by this mighty dark force, which loomed over me. I had suffered from a complete burnout and a spark went out.
I plucked up the courage to speak to my doctor and I was signed off work for six months. I was prescribed various drugs for my depression, but they had a negative effect on me; I was feeling numb, I was a shell of my former self, the lights were on, but no one was home. I finally made the decision to quit and work as a part-time receptionist to try and limit my stress and manage my mental health.
With the drugs making me feel worse I knew I needed to find an alternative way to manage my anxieties. I started researching CBD oils. I initially started to take a CBD oil that had 1000mg of CBD in it (10%), however I found I needed to double the dosage before I could safely and effectively ween myself off the pharmaceuticals. When I did feel the effects of CBD, I felt lighter and my mind was focused, after so long I felt a spring in my step again!
CBD changed my life in so many ways, I was more present and felt like I could be there for my family again. I wanted everyone who was experiencing problems like mine to try this amazing product. In May 2018, with a lot of encouragement from my husband, I left the receptionist job, and with no experience of owning or running a business, I launched Cannadox. I saw a gap in the market for premium strength, luxury CBD products, I wanted this to be my niche.
Launching a business is never easy but launching a business where the product is derived from Cannabis was going to be even more of a challenge. I had seen that Holland & Barrett, a trusted high-street brand, were advertising CBD and I thought it was brave of them to support the industry, and it gave me the confidence I needed.
I did extensive research into suppliers, I wanted to know exactly where my product was being made and produced, I needed to ensure my CBD was traceable from seed to shelf. I also wanted to create high strength CBD oils that myself and my customers would be able to feel the effects of instantly rather than taking 10 drops a day of a lower strength CBD oil.
I joined the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) for guidance, and they put me in touch with licensed farms in the EU, where they grow organic Cannabis Sativa L., the Cannabis plant, by natural and sustainable means. They extract the CBD and allow us to work with a chemist here in the UK to make our oils into high strengths of 20% 2000mg, 30% 3000mg and 40% 4000mg. I am so happy to have found trusted suppliers and third-party laboratories who carry out thorough tests to ensure the purity and potency of Cannadoxs’ CBD oils, I display all of these results on my website ensuring I am always transparent about the efficacy of my products.
I worked tirelessly over the next year on the product, the packaging, the brand, the website, and everything else that’s needed for a retail product. We finally launched in April 2019 with the three different strength CBD oils. Since launching, we’ve had some amazing feedback from customers, and even from some celebrities! From those that suffer with similar mental health problems like me – anxiety and depression, to those that suffer with sleep deprivation, skin conditions such as acne, and even pain relief.
I have had some stumbling blocks along the way trying to build the Cannadox brand including very blurred guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about what I am legally allowed to say, how I’m allowed to promote my brand, and even how customers can pay for the products through my website. This has made it much more difficult to get the Cannadox name out there. It’s so important that my brand is a well trusted and respected one, so I have been meticulous when it comes to the strict rules, even though they’ve been quite restrictive and tricky to navigate.
If I have learnt anything from this process it’s not to worry about asking for help, and I fully encourage networking with other businesspeople, I do this mainly through LinkedIn and have found a community there who I can ask questions to and share my thoughts with, it’s a truly supportive place.
Finding a balance between family life and running my brand can be tricky, but I’ve learnt to structure my day so it works for all of us. I process the orders, respond to messages and emails, post on social media, send out newsletters, attend networking events, and share my story on podcasts while being a wife, mother, home educator and dog walker!
I’m so proud of how far I’ve come as a businesswoman and brand founder, Cannadox is now one of the UK’s premier providers of premium quality and high strength CBD, and in June 2020, we launched our CBD Cream. The perfect topical product for those wanting to ease muscle tension, as well as restoring and repairing the skin through the power of CBD.
I’m focusing on my plans for 2021 and getting Cannadox even more recognition, I’m eagerly waiting to hear how we got on at The Beauty Awards with ASOS where we are shortlisted for New Holistic Wellness Hero (CBD Cream) and Best Body Care (CBD Oil), I am also looking into new product developments and ideas, so watch this space!
About the author:
Hayley Millbank is the founder of luxury premium strength CBD brand Cannadox. Hayley founded Cannadox in 2018 after experiencing the amazing benefits of CBD herself, she wanted to share this with others and provide the UK market with pure, traceable from seed to shelf, high strength oils. She now successfully juggles owning a business, home education her daughter and being a being a mental health spokesperson.
Visit – https://www.cannadoxshop.com/