OTO is a new and more profound wayto understand CBD cosmetics
This English brand has created a line of cosmetic products and CBD-derived oils with the aim of helping people discover the power of CBD and use it to improve their daily lives.
With their products they want to help you FIND YOUR SPACE in this busy world. Today we have sat down with Gemma Colao, founder, chair and creative director at OTO to ask her a few important questions:
1) When did you first have the idea to create your brand and when did you finally officially create it? Where are you based?
I first encountered CBD when working as a designer in the fast-paced Californian fashion industry. The long days, late nights and crazy deadlines were starting to take their toll; and a friend suggested I try CBD to help with my anxiety and poor sleep. I was hesitant at first but, within a few days of trying CBD, I felt my anxiety levels improve.
The dread I felt on my morning commute disappeared, deadlines became more manageable, I was able to focus more and ultimately feel more present. It changed my life and I started to love my work again. It was all down to the therapeutic effects of CBD. At the same time, my husband, James, set up one of California’s first legal cannabis dispensaries, so CBD was part of our professional lives as well as our personal.
In 2016, we had our first child, Leo, and decided to move back to the UK to be closer to family (aka the free babysitters). Upon our return I was really excited to see that CBD was now available in the UK too.
However, I was disappointed by the products on offer. Not only did most of the contain really low levels of CBD that would be ineffective, I also found dropping the oil tinctures under my tongue to be an unpleasant experience. On top of that, a lot of products packaging was confusing and difficult to navigate. I was buying CBD to help with stress…not cause it!
Recognising a gap in the market for high strength, enjoyable CBD products, we created OTO. Together with a group of friends that includes world leading scientists, entrepreneurs and anthropologists, we set out to create the world’s finest CBD experiences.
2) Considering the general “stigma” the cannabis industry has, why did you decide to create a company focused on selling CBD and hemp products?
It was my passion and belief in the power of CBD coupled with the lack of high quality products and clarity within the industry that drove me to create OTO. I knew it could be done better. I knew we could bring more clarity to the industry with trustworthy products that actually work. Whilst the stigma makes it a challenge, it is my mission to help people discover the power of CBD, educate people and create clarity amidst the noise. The results that our products deliver speaks for itself.
3) What type of CBD products are you specialized in?
CBD offers a myriad of different benefits both for mental health and wellbeing and for your skin and complexion. Because I personally felt the benefits of CBD for sleep, anxiety and my hormonal acne, I knew I wanted to offer products that would deliver all of these results to our community.
Because of this our products span the drinks, lifestyle and beauty categories. We have created the most unique and innovative CBD portfolio on the planet, featuring a product portfolio including 7 world’s firsts: a 12 day immersive Mindful Calendar, a CBD Cocktail Bitters and a CBD Pillow Mist.
CBD can be a confusing space, so to help people understand when and how to use our products, we created OTO’s pillars or ‘moments’; Focus, Amplify and Balance. Within these moments CBD is combined with a curated array of functional botanical extracts that offer different benefits from enhancing concentration, alleviating anxiety and restoring balance.
4) What was / is the biggest obstacle you faced as a company? Especially being a company linked to the Cannabis and CBD world?
Perception, breaking down the barriers and educating people. There are a lot of preconceived ideas about cannabis and those tropes are very much still there. As a business, truth and education is at the heart of everything we do; demonstrating the benefits and bringing clarity.
The lack of regulation and changing regulations within the space. The regulation within the CBD space is catching up with the consumer. This was a product that people wanted and needed, it hit the marker before there were correct structures and regulations in place. The changing regulations and growing structures supervising CBD is something we welcome as it will help ensure people get the correct information around everything from quantity to where it comes from.
5) What would you recommend to someone who is thinking of starting a business in the CBD/ Cannabis world?
I would recommend to anyone starting a business in any world, not to do it unless they 100% believe in it, unless it has had a fundamental impact on their lives or people close to them. It’s too hard and challenging if you don’t have a core belief that it works, that you can recommend it and show it to people without any issue. Come from a place of power and passion about your product. Making a market and creating a brand in a space where there aren’t other well established brands is especially challenging.