You won’t want to miss this exclusive interview with Rachael Rapinoe…
I’ve written a lot about the mindset of a startup’s founder and how it’s important to the success of the company they build.
I’m also a huge soccer fan and, in particular, I’m a fan of the U.S. Women’s national team – a four-time World Cup winner.
So, when I heard Rachael Rapinoe started Mendi, a CBD business with a focus on athletic recovery, I knew I had to talk to her.
Athletic use of cannabis, both THC and CBD, is growing fast. Leagues are revisiting their rules, athletes are signing up with CBD companies, and most importantly, people are recovering from injuries and overtraining stresses more quickly and without opioids.
Rachael played professional soccer before launching her business and her twin sister Megan – who helped lead the U.S. to victories in the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – is a brand ambassador for Mendi.
As a fan of both CBD and the Rapinoes, I can tell you that I ordered one of Mendi’s products.
The product itself is a very good one, and the company’s ordering process and fulfillment operation matched the product quality.
Mendi is a company to follow, and I’m excited we’re able to share Rachael’s insight about running a cannabis business with you.
Our Q&A with Rachael Rapinoe
From starting a CBD business to how cannabis is helping athletes recover, Rachael provided the type of insight that’s hard to find anywhere else.
GM: Tell us more about Mendi. What drew you to the CBD business?
RR: Mendi is a sports brand whose goal is to improve the lives of athletes using nature’s best tool. There’s nothing like Mendi on the market. We want to become a household name people think of when they’re wanting something for pain management, recovery, or just to feel better.
My business partner, Kendra Freeman, brought me to cannabis.
I had zero intention of ever getting into this industry until she started to educate me on the medicinal aspects of the plant. I started to connect the dots to athletes and athletic performance. Then, I started seeing many professional athletes using cannabis as a recovery tool; not for any type of ‘stoner culture’ (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
After doing an abundant amount of research and anecdotal evidence, I 100% believe there needs to be a place for cannabis in sports.
The findings are undeniable.
GM: As a former professional soccer player, you experienced a few injuries. At the time, CBD wasn’t a prevalent wellness solution. How have you seen the acceptance of CBD evolve since then, and do you think it’s going to become a go-to-solution for athletes who are dealing with injuries?
RR: I was never the kid or young adult using cannabis. To be honest, I was a little scared of it because of all the propaganda we were exposed to for the past several decades (War on Drugs era).
My introduction to cannabis was through athletes in my mid-to-late twenties, using it as a recovery tool, not for stoner culture. This was the first time I had ever seen anything like this.
Then, I slowly started using CBD for sleep, stress, inflammation, pain, etc., and the results were astounding. I felt like a new person. After using CBD consistently for several years now, I’m able to focus for much longer periods of time, I feel calmer, less anxious/stressed, and feel much better post-workout. It’s become a part of my daily supplement regimen.
The experience I had with CBD is the same for many other athletes I know of.
The acceptance rate of cannabis in the professional athlete circuit is through the roof, and it’s growing for the broader active consumer, too. People are tired of being pushed to unsafe methods to manage pain and recovery. Athletes and active people want to put the healthiest tools in their bodies. So, I absolutely think CBD is becoming a go-to-solution for athletes, currently.
We still have a way to go to completely destigmatize the plant, but there absolutely needs to be a place for cannabis in sports.
GM: Have you found that you’ve influenced other athletes to use CBD and stay away from pharmaceutical drugs as a form of treatment?
RR: Yes, absolutely. We have been doing focus groups with professional athletes and teams since February. Our conversations with athletes have been very powerful.
We’ve educated and informed them about cannabis, THC vs. CBD, hemp vs. marijuana, league policies, and Mendi.
I think we’ve empowered a lot of athletes to take ownership of their pain management regimens and start using CBD products instead of grabbing the bottle of Advil. Their feedback on our product has been very exciting to hear.
GM: Your sister, Megan, recently signed on as a brand ambassador. With this role, what does she hope to accomplish? Also, are you in talks with other athletes to be brand ambassadors?
RR: Megan is so much more than a soccer player. She and other athletes we are signing stand for equality, equity, and are working every day towards building a brighter future for the next generation.
Megan brings a huge network of influencers, brand development and strategy firepower, high-level creative experience, product innovation, and legitimacy to the brand. The same goes for other athletes we are signing.
GM: Have you experienced any barriers being a woman in this industry?
RR: Not yet that I am aware of, but I’m sure I will.
GM: You have an impressive management team. What qualities and credentials do you look for when hiring someone in this fast-paced industry?
RR: Good humans, first and foremost. They need to align with our brand and core values. Secondly, they need to come with expertise and a certain level of experience.
We want to be the most trusted sports brand in the industry; that is going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of right decisions being made.
There will be some gut decisions along the way, but we are looking at our bench of advisors and investors to help steer this ship in the right direction. Mendi is a collaborative company that fully believes teamwork makes the dream work.
Having a strong management team is important for every brand; Danny Brody covers this and two more principles for choosing potential investments in his Cannabis Investor’s Masterclass. Check it out now.
GM: What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years?
RR: We want our Pro Line to be in every professional sports industry, our Full Spectrum line to be successfully in market with our winningest products, maybe a THC line depending on legalization, and a Series A round completed.
Of course, we want success and to continue down a clear path to profitability but, in five years, we want to look back and know we kept our core values at the center of every company decision.
GM: Now, you told us that you’re looking to expand your product line. We want to catch up with you in the next couple of weeks and talk more about that. But could you give our readers a quick introduction on what products you plan on rolling out?
RR: We will roll out a Full Spectrum hemp CBD line in spring 2020 with our winningest products; i.e. salve stick, gummies and soft gel capsules for sure.
I can’t talk about our other products at this time, as we haven’t launched all of our 2019 Pro Line products yet.
I want to thank Rachael for her time, and we look forward to talking to her down the road.
Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors
P.S. A few years ago, you would have never read an interview like this… one where a former professional athlete was openly talking about CBD usage – not to mention starting her own CBD company! Thanks to one landmark event last year, the hemp CBD sector is on track to grow more than 15 times FASTER than the overall cannabis industry. With sales projected to hit $22 BILLION in the next 12-36 months, now is the time to get started. And we’ve got the sector broken down for you right here.
7 responses to “We Talk Entrepreneurship, CBD, and Sports with Rachael Rapinoe”
November 18 2019