Meet Toby Gordon-Smith, CEO at CBD Brand: Grass & Co.

Toby Lowe

Grass & Co. is a CBD brand at its heart. We’re growing a trusted brand that combines the highest quality, best-tasting CBD with complementary botanicals and vitamins that deliver health benefits. The main reasons people are using CBD are to help with anxiety, pain and insomnia. This is why we have developed our complete CBD+ ranges around three unique sub-brands: CALM, EASE and REST. These award-winning formulations are unique to our brand. The team sources the finest quality, sustainable ingredients that offer the very best flavours and sensory experiences.

At Grass & Co. we only use CBD where it can offer a real benefit to our customers. So, we’ve built a non-CBD product range that provides a complete ritual to help our customers cope with their conditions. These aromatherapy products, such as Aromatherapy Pillow Sprays and Himalayan Bath Salts, tie in the key botanical ingredients, alongside our delicious CBD infused Consumable Oils and nourishing CBD Muscle Balms and Body Oils.
Grass & Co. EASE consumable CBD Oil 500mg with Ginger, Turmeric & Orange |  Holland & Barrett

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I had been looking for an opportunity to set up a business in some form of health and wellness supplementation space for some time. I love consumer goods and I love building businesses.

As CBD became legal in Europe and the UK, this offered an irresistible opportunity to build a business that could deliver wellness benefits to enhance people’s quality of life in ways that we are only beginning to understand.

Looking at the stories of how CBD has genuinely changed people’s lives was all the inspiration I needed. I’ve been working in wellness supplements since 2009 and in consumer goods my whole career. At Grass & Co. the daily interactions with the people who use our products are beyond inspiring. I also like that we’re working with natural ingredients from plants that are sucking carbon out of the atmosphere. I’ve previously worked with dairy-based supplements, and that industry is having the opposite effect.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Any start-up is certainly an intense experience. You’re trying to build a business, and in our case a new category, in an uncertain world with limited resources. There are so many things that a business needs to get right in its first few years, and you will need to be prepared that some of these things will throw you out of your comfort zone. I think these can be grouped around the following areas:

Firstly, you need to start with a quality idea. And, ensure there is enough within it that is unique, either because it is genuinely new to market, or that there is something in its positioning or execution that brings something new. The more compelling this is, the easier it will be to get investors, customers and consumers interested in what you are offering.

In the early years, be resilient and flexible. You’ll need to find the right balance between sticking firmly to the foundations of your idea, whilst also being able to listen and respond quickly to feedback from the people that matter. Keep your business model supple and adaptable so that early mistakes don’t sink you.

Surround yourself with the best people. People who share your vision, but people who will be able to bring something new to it. It’s good to recognise your own strengths, but just as important to recognise the gaps that you will need to fill. Look for people with the skills and experience you don’t have and have the courage to work with people that can really challenge you – it will make the business work better in the long run. But, make sure you align on values and can really share the vision of the business. Start-ups can offer an intense working experience. It is so important that you can all roll up your sleeves and ride the highs and lows of what can be one hell of a roller coaster ride.

With this in mind, from an early stage, you’ll want to make sure you have someone on your team who understands cash flow. It sounds a bit boring, but running out of cash is the biggest reason for start-up failure, irrespective of getting everything else right.

What can we hope to see from Grass & Co. in the future?

There are so many exciting things we are working on. Partly, it’s about building out more of a ritual that supports people with anxiety, pain or insomnia, but also always looking for ways to improve the experience of consuming CBD, without losing the effectiveness of the way the CBD Oils are absorbed.

For now, our focus will be on continuing to innovate in a way that helps to make CBD relevant and accessible to consumers who can benefit the most from CBD products. We will only ever launch products using the highest quality ingredients that taste delicious so that they’re a joy to use every day. There is still so much to do here.

Beyond that, the Grass & Co. team are always looking to unlock the potential of natural ingredients that can have some really life-changing benefits for people. At the moment, there is so much to unpick with CBD, not to mention other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Beyond that there are other plant extracts and ingredients that we can look at. There really is an exciting world of opportunity in front of us and we can’t wait to lead the category forward.