As the first organic CBD brand to be sold in Selfridges, Serena Organics is leading the market in premium CBD products, paving the way to encouraging people to incorporate CBD into their wellness routines.
Born to Nigerian parents in the UK, Joe Alabi always wanted to start his own business and started selling drinks and sweets in the school playground. His career-defining moment came when he was rejected for a promotion in a job he was excelling at. When he asked his manager why he didn’t get the job, he was told that it wasn’t down to his competence or ability to succeed, but due to preference only.
It was then that Joe decided to go on a journey of building systems and organisations in which people felt their efforts were rewarded.
Joe founded Serena Organics with Co-Founder David Hexter with the idea of setting up a trustworthy, reliable source of premium, organic CBD, that helped people tackle some of the most common blocks to wellness.
Diversity Business joins the conversation with Joe Alabi as he shares his joint vision for Serena Organics.
The vision to have a business should always be about helping others. As cliché as it may sound, you want to start each day knowing you helped someone’s life today. For us, that’s through unlocking the benefits of CBD. It makes everything so worth it.
What challenges did you face when starting the business?
Launching Serena Organics into a crowded market filled with misinformation was by far my biggest achievement. Our team’s dedication and the quality of our products allowed us not only to survive but thrive in a challenging business climate for over two years.
The fact that we were the first organic CBD range to launch into Selfridges means a lot to me. There are so many different companies vying for the attention of buyers and retailers. As a young company without investment at the time, to achieve the accolade of being accepted at Selfridges was huge. My business partner David and I weren’t working when we started Serena Organics. Being able to start up a company with our own money was special.
Why do you think you have been so successful?
As a direct to consumer brand, one of our biggest concerns is understanding the consumer so that we’re able to deliver the best possible product. We prioritise engaging directly with customers through various channels, such as events, trade shows, social media, and feedback. We selected ambassadors, people who truly believe in Serena Organics. We get a lot of face time with our ambassadors, through platforms like our podcast and delve into the daily challenges, whether related to health issues or mental well-being.
What have you learned about running a business?
One significant lesson I’ve gained while building Serena Organics and defining our go-to-market strategy is the recognition that every customer is unique. We consistently consider the information we share and how it must resonate with a diverse range of individuals. This aspect is what captivates me about CBD—it offers a multitude of uses and benefits. Prior to starting Serena Organics, I never fully grasped the concept of tailoring products and messaging to different audiences. I used to think that bringing a product to market simply involved marketing it broadly, but now I understand the importance of customising our approach to reach and engage with various individuals, rather than employing a one-size-fits-all mentality.
What valuable piece of information would you share with anyone starting or running a business?
A crucial piece of advice in terms of running a business is to refrain from being too hard on oneself. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or entering uncharted territory in a new industry, it’s essential to approach each day with a sense of adaptability and openness.
It’s all about taking each day as it comes. Rather than criticising yourself, it’s important to embrace the process and find joy along the way. It’s important to make sure that one is led by purpose. On challenging days, having a clear sense of purpose will serve as the driving force that propels you forward.
For more information about Serene Organics contact: email@example.com