In this episode of the SLN Podcast, Laurenn Cutshaw sits down with James Brennan, Founder & CEO of Enlightened Brand Ventures. James is an investor and entrepreneur who’s experienced success in several different industries but is best known for creating the cold-pressed juice category. You may have heard of a little brand called Suja Juice. James is also the mastermind behind Kopari Beauty and Lively, a nootropic supplement company that shifted its focus to CBD wellness.

In this episode, James and Laurenn explore some interesting topics, including what’s going on with CBD regulation, the emergence of the celebrity-backed brands, and his priorities when entering new partnerships. James also touches on how his teams are maximizing the curious year that is 2020 and the two new consumer product brands he is launching through his new venture Sway Brands in 2021.


Podcast Highlights

13:38 – Being introduced to a new business model: “It wasn’t until Suja [Juice] that this new world of don’t worry about profits and just grow, grow, grow, was introduced to me. So it was very foreign.”

18:21 – Kopari Beauty pivoted after COVID: “When the lockdown started in early March, it all happened really fast and for Kopari for instance, you know, a big part of our focus for 2020 was really leaning into retail.”

23:29 – Essentials space sky-rocketing: “I think anybody who plays in that essential space, and even maybe one level up to, you know, consumables that are good for you and your immune system, they’re high flyers. Like they’re breaking records every month.”

24:45 – Reflect on who your partners are: “This has been a great time of reevaluating your plans. And not only your plan but I think your overall business and inside your business, all your partners. And I think this is a great time to kind of relook at who your partners are. Were they there for you or were they looking to extract a pound of flesh from you?”

28:19 – THC products vs CBD: “THC products have had a much easier time than CBD.”

30:05 – Marketing ingestible CBD: “I take it every day. My son takes it every day. I think it has great value and helps a lot of people. The problem is you can’t market it really anywhere. I mean, you can do some influencer stuff, but influencer stuff all by itself is not going to move the needle and you can burn tons and tons of cash.”

36:32 – Performance-based influencer marketing: “We’ve seen not just us and our companies, but many companies move to a more performance-based model. I think that’s probably the direction that is going to continue to go down and I think it’ll stay there.”

40:46 – Kim Kardashian and Spanx: “It made sense for who she was, which is why I think it was so insanely successful and is growing like a weed.”