To celebrate two years, find out more about the business!
Two Years of Reakiro - Interview
We sat down with our CEO Stuart McKenzie (SM), and Head of Operations Mark Wright (MW), to find out a bit more about their journey over the past two years, how they got here and where they’re going.
How did it all begin?
MW - We wanted something new to do (laughs). We were looking for a new venture, an area where we could use our business knowledge and experience, but invest in an area that would have impact.
SM - We forced ourselves to look outside the ‘normal’ parameters, to think outside the box. And we found hemp.
MW - Around the world this plant has been ignored for 80 years due to misinformation.
SM - This is not a new thing, but a reintroduction. Hemp has been around for thousands of years, it was found back when Mark was a little nipper.
Where did you see Reakiro going when you began?
SM - Our tagline is “changing the world … naturally” and that is exactly what we’ve always intended to do. We wanted to help introduce sustainable, biodegradable, and natural products to the world through hemp. There are over 50,000 uses for this plant, from housing to medical, and this is what captured our attention. There’s a reason this is forecasted to be the fastest growing businesses in the world.
MW - From both of our long backgrounds in business and marketing we had plenty of knowledge and networks to tap into, but we wanted to tap in with a project we were really passionate about, a project that could make a difference, a project that could change the world.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
MW - For me, focus. There are so many opportunities, as Stuart said, this plant has over 50,000 uses, it was hard to prioritise which areas we wanted to work in. You can’t do it all at once.
SM - Education, not many people are educated in this realm so initially their reaction can be quite shocked, things like “oh my, you’re drug dealing”. It’s all about effective communication. The rules and regulations surrounding hemp, and especially CBD products, are constantly changing and this is a double edged sword. More and more opportunities are opening up, but as the industry grows this calls for thorough education and regulation.
MW - We’re a quality based business, no false claims and no shortcuts. But now we’re coming up against companies who aren’t playing by the rules which is challenging.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
SM - Expanding into different markets, new countries, introducing our products to new people.
MW - Discovery, everyday there is something new. We’re not constantly turning the same old stone over and over, trying to see a new face. I can’t help but be excited.
SM - It’s also so great to work in an industry we are truly passionate about. Hemp and CBD are more than just a 9-5 job for us, it’s changed the way we think about the world and on a personal level, our own lifestyles.
MW - Yes, vaping CBD has helped me relax and focus to such an impactful degree.
SM - I have it before bed, glorious undisturbed sleep and I get to briefly forget about seeing Mark’s face the next day.
How much has the CBD industry changed over the past two years?
MW - It’s turned on its head.
SM - Two years ago no one really knew about CBD, now there’s thousands of companies working with CBD and a large majority have at least heard of it. This is more than a trend or a craze, people know about it because it works. CBD is rising a grassroots movement, regulations are changing and people are changing their opinions - due to this now there’s even strong government involvement.
Tell us about some highlights from the past two years.
SM - Within the next few days our new facility in Adelanto will be ready. This is in the top 5% of extraction facilities in the U.S. for its size and scale - I would say that’s pretty exciting! Another highlight was when we produced our first customer products, instead of wholesale. Making something that goes straight to the customer creates real value, not only does it put Reakiro as a brand on the map, but it feels more personal.
If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?
SM - Honestly, no. We got to where we are because of the mistakes we made and learned from.
MW - Two years ago we had no one to learn from, so we had to teach ourselves - which is also the most exciting part. If you’re doing something that everyone knows about, it’s not worth doing.
Tell us about the biggest lesson you have learned from this entire venture.
MW - There is no limit. You’ve got to continue to explore. I’ve learned about myself, that I’m optimistic but not free-thinking and this challenges me to think outside the box. Stuart and I yin and yang a bit, which ultimately balances and works well, you can’t have two people ready to jump off the bridge.
SM - It has also been a journey that has made us think more about how we treat the planet and how we treat our bodies. The hemp plant can offer natural remedies for our bodies whilst being a sustainable plant that is kind to the earth, that’s pretty incredible.
What do you see for the future of the hemp industry and the future of Reakiro?
MW - They go hand-in-hand, but again, there is no limit.
SM - We’re continually trying to change the world naturally. How we build houses, finding a solution for the mass deforestation the world is experiencing, finding new medicinal solutions, finding a solution for pretty much everything. There’s 7 billion people on the planet, so there’s a lot to be done.
MW - It is almost beyond comprehension how much is possible, one plane is challenging so many things.