In Conversation With

Hannah Phang of Rain CBD

by Toni Din

We speak to Hannah Phang, co-founder of Rain CBD about the importance of transparency and honesty in business, the meaning of greenwashing and her own personal journey as a business owner and advocate of natural wellbeing.

How do you define transparency?

Transparency is being honest with your audience, whether that's your customers, journalists, or your investors, about the key elements of your business that help them to make informed decisions. If the information you're sharing is filled with jargon or delivered in a way that is so overwhelming that it isn't actually digestible, that isn't being transparent. So transparency is delivering information about your products, brand, business in a way that is clear and usable to who it's being delivered to.

How do you enact transparency across RAIN’s product line?

This is something that we are actively working on to deliver product transparency, showcasing where our products come from, where the ingredients are grown and farmed, and the people along the way. The cannabis industry is pretty opaque so this is a challenge but we're committed to doing so. We're also in the process of updating our website and communications to make it super easy to navigate and understand. This is really important as there are a lot of misconceptions about CBD so we want to be as clear and helpful as we can to help people decide if a CBD product might be right for them and trust that it is coming from a good source.

I'm most proud of the effectiveness of our products. The feedback that we get from customers often makes me really emotional...

What element of RAIN are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of the effectiveness of our products. The feedback that we get from customers often makes me really emotional, because they've been searching for solutions and our products are the first time that they've actually found something that works. For example, I just use our balm as a hand lotion but we've had people tell us it's the only relief they've gotten for their arthritis, another wrote to us that she can't sleep without rubbing the balm into her shoulders to release tension before bed, and another who said it's the only thing that's helped with a skin irritation around her nose that just wouldn't go away until she used the balm.

What challenges have you encountered as you develop a sustainable brand?

Having a really big vision but not having the capacity or resources to bring it to life in the time we want. I imagine that's the same with most small businesses, but our vision also means knowing the people who farm our CBD, products that are produced closer to the customers who buy them, and creating really beautiful and informative content that supports our community's wellbeing. It means taking extra steps and often incurring extra costs at every touchpoint of our business. But we don't want to run our business any other way so it's a challenge we are completely up for.

Any advice for spotting greenwashing?

A few tips. Look at the language. Is a brand saying something vague like 'sustainable,' 'conscious,' 'clean'? If they don't explain what they mean by these terms or explain how exactly they are being 'sustainable' it's probably greenwashing. 

Another is looking at if it's a one-off initiative, collection, or campaign, or is it part of a bigger business strategy? Doing one campaign but not addressing the main impacts of a business and their core offering is probably greenwashing.

What advice do you have for small brands as they start out?  

Try to build sustainability into your business now. I was a sustainability consultant for years, helping big corporations work on their impact and it is such a challenge. If you can incorporate and embed practices when you are small, then it just becomes a natural part of your business as you grow, and can even help you to innovate new business models, new materials, or ways of doing things that help to differentiate you. Mapping out your business operations, products, and influence is a great place to start as it will show you all the opportunities you have and places where you could improve. Also consider opportunities to help your customer be more sustainable as well. 

What keeps you hopeful?

People - their kindness, generosity, ideas, dedication. My mum always told me that when there is a crisis, look for the helpers and it will give you hope. We're all dealing with a range of crises from the climate crisis to mental health. And there are helpers everywhere. I make sure to follow or subscribe to people and sources that share about the positive change they are committed to making and it keeps me inspired and hopeful.

Discover Rain CBD here and on Instagram.

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