Evoxe Laboratories burst into the vape marketplace with a mantra of innovation, simplicity, communication and strategic partnerships.
In December 2015, Evoxe Laboratories, developers of advanced cannabis consumption technologies, announced it would partner with award-winning CBD isolate producer Isodiol to provide patients with the highest-quality CBD vaporizing experience available.
“This is a great strategic partnership that enables us to provide a superior, therapeutic, and THC-free product that contains all the benefits of CBD to our discerning patients,” said Evoxe President Michael Katz.
But Katz almost didn’t launch Evoxe.
“Both of my cousins have home health care businesses in Florida, and our initial intent was to set up a dispensary in South Florida,” he said. “However, when the Florida initiative failed, we decided to investigate other ways that we could still get involved in the industry. During our dispensary research we became familiar with the popularity of vaporizers and saw that while there were many companies already in the space, none of them had combined the benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy with cannabis.”
Even though the vape market was still budding when Evoxe launched in September 2015, the space was teeming with products: from high-end, intricate doozies to run-of-the-mill pens to cheap Chinese knock-offs. Katz knew Evoxe had to stand out from the herd. First, the company had to be innovative. Evoxe is the only company in the cannabis space currently offering the combined benefits of aromatherapy and cannabis therapy in a vaporizer. By blending the naturally occurring terpenes from the essential oils with highly concentrated, CO2-extracted cannabis oil, Evoxe allows patients to decide how they want to feel.
“People have been utilizing essential oils for thousands of years for medicinal uses, and there’s a large body of research that states which to use for a desired effect,” said Katz. “And since many naturally occurring terpenes are lost from cannabis oil during the extraction process in favor of higher concentrations of THC, our approach naturally reintroduces supportive and complimentary terpenes to help more effectively direct the medicating experience.”
Simplicity was paramount for Katz, too. He chose to approach the hardware question from an ease-of-use standpoint. Many of the disposable screw-on cartridges in the marketplace look the same and can be difficult to tell apart. Evoxe chose to color-code the pens, and the boxes, to clearly indicate what’s inside.
“We also found that screwing the cartridges off and on to a battery, and even sometimes having to push a button, can be painful and difficult for people with certain conditions, so we chose to provide the simplest delivery system available: no buttons, no recharging, and nothing to attach or remove,” Katz noted.
Finally, communication was of the utmost importance. One of the biggest questions patients have is “How is this going to make me feel?” With the #ChooseTheMood campaign, Evoxe cuts through the mystery of medicating. Each of the products is designed for a specific purpose and effect, and color-coding them seemed logical. Engage, the sativa blend, is red to signify energy and movement. Deep, the indica blend, is blue to indicate soothing relaxation. The black Stealth hybrid vaporizer is the most traditional cannabis experience with high terpenes, and the white color of the CBD blend Balance indicates health and wellness.
“Our products are for people who want a reliable, holistic, and comprehensive experience that fits into their lifestyle seamlessly, and we’ve made it possible for them to now incorporate this approach to cannabis as well,” said Katz.
Distribution, education, best sellers
In just under four months, Evoxe has sold 3,000 pens; the company’s products are offered by more than thirty dispensaries and delivery services throughout California. The THC-free CBD vaporizer Balance, the High Times Cannabis Cup award-winning vape, is currently sold on the Evoxe website as well as in MMJ clinics in Oregon and Arizona. The company has seen an impressive increase in sales month-to-month and received multiple re-orders from dispensaries.
“Ultimately, education is our biggest ally,” said Katz. “As more people have been learning what sets us apart, we’ve been building a loyal customer base that appreciates the quality of our offerings.”
So far, Balance and Engage that have driven the bulk of sales. Many patients want to medicate without altering their senses, CBD pens allow them to do that.
“We’ve heard from patients that they have been able to use Balance in lieu of Advil for aches and pains,” Katz said.
And 2016 looks promising. Within the next couple of months, Evoxe plans to launch a whole-plant CBD extract pen called Balance+ in partnership with a Clean Green Certified cultivator. The new product will contain the popular Balance essential oil formula, but with the added benefit of naturally occurring terpenes and cannabinoids found in organically grown, high-expression CBD flower.
“We believe in what we are doing and feel fortunate to be able to provide a product to the cannabis community that is unique and effective,” Katz said.
3 LESSONS LEARNED FROM LAUNCHING EVOXE
- Ingredients matter.
“We are creating something that people ingest, and there are a lot of companies that use questionable cutting agents for their products. We do not use propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin; just the highest-quality, lab-tested CO2-extracted cannabis oil, organically grown essential oils. and 99.6-percent pure, award-winning CBD isolate extracted from organically grown hemp stalks. Better ingredients equal better results.”
- Expect the unexpected.
“If you’re starting a new business, there’s going to be a learning curve. It’s important to allot the right amount of time to research, product development, and workflow development so that when the time comes to really get things going, there’s a strong plan in place. Then, when unexpected developments occur, there’s a strong foundation of thought that can go into the right way to manage them.”
- Get involved.
“Everyone working in the cannabis industry should also be an advocate and activist on behalf of the cannabis industry. As laws and regulations are being updated and instituted, it’s important to make our voices heard not just on social media, but in person at town hall meetings, etc.”