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Uplift Goes Back to the Roots

Uplift: A Pipe Dream the Pandemic Couldn't Crush

Imagine you’ve custom-built your dream car, painted it fresh, and are finally sitting behind the wheel of your first ride when—BAM!—you’re sideswiped by a semi. That’s what happened to Uplift CBD. Months after launching, the health-focused cannabis company came face to face with the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that didn’t stop Sales VP Joe Teyssier and the team from moving forward. It just altered their timeline.

“We had the concept in 2018, but we didn’t launch until 2019. We finally got to our first show at CHAMPS Orlando—and we killed it. Everything started exploding after that,” he said. “Then the pandemic hit, and trade shows started getting canceled. And then we were just four people working in a small room.”

While every business took a hit from shutdowns of 2020-21, it was especially challenging for new operations to absorb the blow. But even if they couldn’t hit trade shows, the Uplift team wasn’t about to go gentle. They maintained their manufacturing lines, kept selling what they could, and they turned the rest of their energy inward.

The four-person company spent the shutdown reworking their brand’s image by overhauling the website and refashioning their look.

“We tried to stay away from a ‘smoke shop look’ on our website and in our product designs because we came to this from a health and wellness background. We always wanted to keep it clean looking. We have colors, but nothing too distracting. We don’t have any mascots,” Teyssier said. “We really try to keep everything looking clean. We wanted to consider ourselves as a Bed Bath and Beyond or like an Apple of the CBD space so that when we were able to go to shows again, we could show people that we have a good product and a good brand. And we were pretty much prepared for that for when the world opened back up and we could reintroduce ourselves.”

 

Uplift team picture

Everybody says this, but we really do feel like family. I believe if you talk to anyone on my team, everyone will say that . . . We are nothing without our entire team behind us.

Back in Business

The facelift worked, and it wasn’t long after the masks came off that Uplift turned things around. As soon as he could, Teyssier went back on the road, pressing the flesh and inking deals at trade shows.

But as he mingled with retailers and manufacturers, he realized his company had re-emerged into a new reality. He noticed the ground beneath them was shifting. Post-pandemic consumers were interested in new products: minor cannabinoids.

Using the muscles they had built during their quick pivot during the pandemic, the Uplift team began testing their own versions of Delta 8, HHC, THCP, and THC-A.

“At first, we weren’t really producing anything that had a euphoric effect. We were more focused on CBD for the health benefits, whether it be pain relief, or help with sleep or anxiety, and we still are true believers in that and care about that, but it was kind of adapt-or-die market where we had to move into the uplifting cannabinoids to move forward,” Teyssier said.

But Uplift needed to do it their own way. They continued to self-manufacture products to maintain a consistently high level of quality and poured new energy into educating their partners.

“Education has always been a big thing for us,” Teyssier said. “We try to be as transparent as possible. Even when providing products to shops, we give them educational information so that their employees are able to sell their product as well as we can.”

And it’s not just talk. Ask him about what separates one cannabinoid from the others and Teyssier will deliver a clear, informative explanation off the cuff. But he’s just as sharp when explaining the market, and where he thinks it’s going.

Our biggest sellers right now are the THCA products, by far. Our THCA flower is a dispensary-grade flower. It’s honestly amazing. I can’t say enough good things about it

All in the Family

Uplift grew out of the longtime Florida smoke shop Pipe Dreamz St. Pete.

Teyssier worked there while earning a degree in business management. Just as he was about to graduate and move toward bigger, the owner approached him with the idea for a homegrown, health-focused CBD company.

It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“Everybody says this, but we really do feel like family,” he said. “I believe if you talk to anyone on my team, everyone will say that. We do a lot for our employees. We do events for them once a quarter and buy food for them on Fridays. We try to make sure everyone has an outlet, where they can speak and be heard.”

He’s not just blowing smoke, aside from maybe a bit of that THCA flower. The team dynamic is strong, and the love, unmistakable.

“We are nothing without our entire team behind us,” Teyssier states warmly. “From our production staff to our graphic designers, we appreciate every single member of our staff who moves Uplift forward.

“I should also mention Nicole,” he adds, referencing their Sales Director. “She was essential in getting the brand off the ground.”

Now that Uplift has entered financial maturity, he’s concentrating on the problem of scaling. He wants to make sure their growth doesn’t cause a drop in quality. And he’s keeping a watchful eye out for the next market shift.

Back to the Future

“Cannabinoids might be popular now, but their future is unclear,” Teyssier said. 

“Our biggest sellers right now are the THCA products, by far. Our THCA flower is a dispensary-grade flower. It’s honestly amazing. I can’t say enough good things about it,” he said. “That’s been our best seller, but there are a bunch of laws going on in Florida right now, and some of these products are coming under more scrutiny.”

This change, however, might be less of a new idea than the re-emergence of Uplift’s original plan.

“We’re trying to bring more back from our roots of doing different CBD products,” he said. “But as we move forward, we’re looking at more health-centered ideas, like re-innovating like a lot of our CBD products. And we’re looking at functional mushrooms, different vitamins, anything like that. It’s great for us because health is where our core really is. We live in Saint Petersburg, which is a very open city, very artistic and healthy. So, we’re reflecting the culture of our city already and we definitely want to feed off that and stay authentic to who we are.”

Pictured (left to right): Uplift CEO & Founder, James Moore, Sales Director Nicole Ault & VP of Sales, Joe Teyssier Jr.
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