Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How We Built It: Donal Bourke of Mindful Extracts

  • Give us the elevator pitch. Tell us about your brand.

Mindful Extracts is a wellbeing brand with a range of CBD products and nutritional supplements.  We’re all about using the highest quality organic ingredients to help people find their natural balance for body and mind.  All CBD products are fully tested by an independent laboratory and comply with UK regulations, which means they contain less than 0.2% THC.  Ensuring the business is ethical and sustainable is vitally important.  The range is vegan friendly and the packaging is 100% recyclable. We use carbon-zero couriers, offset emissions and only work with hemp farmers who also align with our values. 

  • What inspired you to set up your company 

In 2015 I found myself on a long road to recovery after a horrific motorbike accident left me with life-threatening injuries.   My motorbike collided with another vehicle at high speed and I was catapulted 40 metres down the road.   

I suffered four broken vertebrae; a broken collarbone; broken ribs, arms, fingers and thumb; bruised heart and diaphragm; broken knee, legs, ankles and toes.   My left leg had the flesh ripped off down to the bone, so they removed two muscles from my back and rebuilt my leg.  I was put in an induced coma for 11 days and spent three months in hospital. 

18 months later and still suffering from chronic pain, arthritis and PTSD, I stumbled across CBD which quickly became a vital part of my daily routine and aided my recovery.  Within half an hour of taking CBD I experienced better pain relief than I was getting from the cocktail of painkillers, with none of the side effects.  I was sleeping better and I was less anxious.  Almost overnight I decided to ditch the painkillers.  I knew they weren’t helping me mentally – I was lethargic, demotivated and they were slowly rotting my body and mind.  I weaned myself off morphine within a couple of weeks and never looked back.

CBD was relatively unknown at the time and there was a lot of trial and error in finding oils which actually worked.  I can’t explain the relief I felt when I found a good quality oil and I wanted to help other people in the same boat as me. I realised that people needed a brand they could trust, with tested and certified products. 

I joined forces with childhood friend Nick de Haan and Mindful Extracts was born.  We spent the next couple of years developing the best quality products and refining our brand and marketing strategy before we finally launched to the consumer in 2020.

  • What was your biggest challenge in year one

Customer acquisition and brand awareness.  We predominantly sell CBD products which mainstream advertising channels like Facebook and Google don’t allow, so announcing our launch was an interesting challenge.  We had to get creative with brand partnership promotions, email marketing and influencer outreach to gather momentum and there was a lot of trial of error in getting our marketing mix right.

  • What would you say has been your biggest marketing success

I’m glad that we took our time to get the branding and products right pre-launch.  We went through three branding agencies and spent many thousands on design development before we found the right team that understood our vision.  But it was worth the extra six months or so to perfect the branding and it gave us a chance to focus on more product development too.

  • What has been the biggest mistake you made

Skimping on our original website build.  A friend convinced us that he could build our custom site for less than £2k which at the time seemed like a great saving.  As our business has grown and we have needed to add more flexibility and functionality, it became apparent that it’s not up to the job.  Our website is our shopfront and we should have invested in a robust website that enables our growth, not hold us back with bugs.

  • Tell us about your plans for the future

As far as the future is concerned, as well as growing the CBD range, we are also expanding into other wellbeing categories.  We’ve just launched a range of organic, nutritional supplements – including functional mushrooms which we believe will be the next big wellbeing trend in the UK to mirror the success of CBD.  We’ve worked with a leading mycologist for many months to ensure the extracts are as effective as possible. 

How we Built it

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