New Smyrna Beach native and owner of Peace, Love and CBD, Donna Nichols, discovered the health benefits of using CBD before she decided to start her business. She used it for anxiety and was able to get off her blood pressure medication. Her husband also used it for pain. When she ran into an old friend one day, the idea was born to start selling this natural alternative used to treat a wide variety of conditions.
"I hadn't seen this friend in nearly 30 years," Nichols said. "I found out she worked for a manufacturer of CBD products headquartered in Daytona. After that, everything sort of came together."
Nichols started by validating her idea. She met with potential customers, captured feedback through Facebook and started going to expos to learn more about the products and to see what the demand was like. She also visited the manufacturer's laboratory and looked at their Certificate of Analysis to ensure she'd be representing a quality product.
Upon launching Peace, Love and CBD in August 2018, Nichols started with small purchases of CBD liquid from the manufacturer and, as her business grew, so did her inventory. She added CBD dog treats, gummies, body lotion, pain cream and bath bombs. She also built a website and set up an account with Stamps.com, allowing her to package, label and ship her own orders.
"It took some time to get the word out, but the business is growing," Nichols said. "I mostly ship the products to my customers, but sometimes they'll come to the house. I'll even deliver to them if necessary. After starting with mostly local customers, I now have customers in several other states."
Nichols admits that she still faces CBD skeptics and those that simply don't understand the health benefits.
"I try to reassure them that there's no THC in my CBD products," she said. "I tell them they won't feel weird or like they're on a drug. I also tell them that if they have a disease, that they need to check with their doctor first. That's a must. From there, I'll do samples of the cream and gummies to slowly introduce them to CBD. It's important to me that people understand the benefits. I believe that feeling better inside and out will help people not be so angry and hopefully begin to erase hate!"
Looking ahead, Nichols' goal is to become bigger and better. She's committed to working four more years for her current employer before she attempts to make Peace, Love and CBD her full-time job. She's also considering the possibility of eventually having a retail location.
What advice does Nichols have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Go for it," she said. "You don't know if you don't try!"