Furiously jotting down notes and making eye contact with the little green light above my laptop screen, I ask Raj Doshi, CEO of cannabidiol (CBD) oil brand Lokus, what he thinks is still missing from his already-flourishing business. He’s quiet for a moment, and I anticipate a common answer like “merch” or “influencers”. After all, surely a brand entering such a highly competitive industry needs something dramatic and attention-grabbing. After a little while, Doshi has an answer:
“We’ve already had great success and customers … reaching out to us and saying how CBD has improved their lives…”
- Raj Doshi, CEO of Lokus
With a dream team containing a combined 70+ years of experience in marketing, advertising, and branding; a product that’s easy to stand behind, and easy to access; and the momentum of a massively successful first month, Doshi anticipates the brand appearing higher and higher in searches and becoming a more mainstream solution for chronic medical issues.
“We've already had great success and customers who are suffering from all kinds of ailments reaching out to us and saying how CBD has improved their lives,” he says. “And that’s [how] I know it can’t just be all smoke and mirrors or a placebo effect. There is no coincidence.”
Maybe it’s because he’s already experienced in that world - in fact, he characterizes himself as an “investment banker turned digital marketer” -- but the way Doshi describes his brand is with a self-assured passion; he doesn’t ever sound like he’s reading from a script or struggling to sell me on the cause. Instead, he sounds committed, and committed he is. This is what sets him apart from any other smart, successful business owner: he’s not selling status or success - he’s paving a clear, well-lit road for people to pursue affordable, life-changing solutions to their most difficult health problems.
It’s no secret that consumers are craving honesty from brands, but Doshi’s passion for truth-telling and transparency stems from his own experience with CBD. When he found himself stressed and sleep-deprived, CBD provided him with a hangover-free good night’s rest that he desperately needed. Through mutual friends, he connected with who would become Lokus’ COO and President. They both shared his passion and excitement for the benefits of CBD, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Emboldened by testimonies they’d heard like the Charlotte’s Web story (in which a young girl’s epilepsy was all but cured by a specific strain of CBD) and the passing of the Farm bill in late 2018, the team of three quickly (as in, within six weeks) found a reputable supplier in Colorado, decided on a name, and officially opened for business. It was at this point in his story that I asked Doshi to pause and clarify that detail for me. Where exactly did the name “Lokus” come from, and why was it so relevant to his business?
If, unlike me, your mathematical education was substantial, you may recognize the term locus, which refers to the specific, central point where all data meets. This is especially relevant for Doshi and his team, as their goal for the brand’s position is to become the one central point where all users look to for good, honest CBD products.
“There are so many CBD oil companies out there, but a lot of times you're scratching your head wondering, ‘is this a brand that I can really trust? Is the hemp really coming from a safe place?’” Doshi tells me. “We wanted to offer people a very clean and easy, transparent user experience from the moment that they go to our website to the moment that they receive the packaging.”
This is something he undoubtedly succeeds in, I tell him. We talk about my own experience purchasing CBD from another website, during which time I felt like I was ordering from the Sam’s Club of health products. Other sites (and as a serial cart-abandoner, I know what attracts me to that “complete your purchase” button) tout hundreds of variants and bright, elaborate packaging to distract from the less-attractive ingredients in their supposedly “safe” products. Doshi tells me that he’d guess “close to half” of the CBD products on the market are sacrificing quality and purity for false promises and brow-raising claims.
“There are so many CBD oil companies out there, but a lot of times you're scratching your head wondering, ‘is this a brand that I can really trust?'”
- Raj Doshi, CEO of Lokus
Lokus, on the other hand, keeps it simple with a black-and-white aesthetic to match their attitude towards pure products. When it comes to the reliability and transparency of their sourcing and production methods, there is no gray area. In other words, when you order with Lokus, you know what you’re getting.
“That’s important to a lot of people,” Doshi says, comparing cleanly-sourced hemp to organic produce versus produce that’s been treated with pesticides and additives. “People take CBD for the health benefits, so why would they [consume] something that’s not as healthy?” While it’s not necessarily dangerous to try products that aren’t clear about their sourcing, he says, you do run the same risks as when you purchase lower-quality food.
But even edible products still need to provide a unique experience in order to stand out in the heavily saturated industry. It’s not enough for people to consume Lokus products and get the quality health benefits - the whole experience has to be as high-quality as those products. Products which, by the way, are made for all types of consumers.
Most start with the lowest dose, a 250mg oil that’s placed on or under the tongue. Return customers often graduate to the best-selling 500mg, or if the taste or consumption method isn’t for them, they try the 750mg gel capsules. Doshi tells me he takes one every night before bed, and I make a mental note to revisit my nightly routine. Though which dosage and form is best comes down to a matter of personal preference, there is one thing Lokus promises no matter what:
“Lokus comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee,” Doshi says. “We truly stand by our product in every way and we're confident that you won't find a more effective or better quality CBD oil out there … Give it a shot, and if you don’t like it? Full refund.”
But even with high-quality products and the transparent and clean experience, getting people to hit that “purchase” button isn’t always easy. Despite the fact that CBD is fully legal in all 50 states, companies like Facebook and Google don’t make it easy to advertise. Advertising CBD runs the risk of disrupting some of those companies’ biggest clients, and since it’s a health-related product there are very specific guidelines for making medically-related claims.
When it comes to avoiding getting their ads or site shut down, Doshi’s not worried.
“From inception, we told ourselves that we want to do things the right way,” he says. “We’re not going to try too hard to work around the rules or do anything … shady.”
Although all types of CBD aren’t yet FDA-approved, it’s difficult not to perceive it as a miracle cure. CBD and other cannabinoids work with the body’s own endocannabinoid system to create equilibrium from tip to toe. People with PTSD and OCD report fewer attacks, and people with chronic illnesses develop fewer, or more manageable, flare-ups. Even customers without a specific ailment to treat report sleeping better, becoming more productive during the day, and generally feeling calmer and happier.
When taken nightly for sleep, CBD poses far fewer risks than benzos and Melatonin. Some people even find that their dreams are more pleasant, or that they’re better able to recall those dreams after taking a low dose before bed. At the same time, CBD can also be used to reduce daytime sleepiness. Whether someone is taking it for something life-altering like epilepsy and depression, or just as a daily mood-booster, the best way to guarantee a safe and clean experience is to trust the transparent team behind Lokus and its products.
As for what Doshi would say to people who are still skeptical?