Pure Functionals launched on to Europe’s CBD and health and wellness scene in May 2020 and has already positioned itself as a leading player in its field. Company founder and CGO Karen Brink explains to BusinessCann what makes the company different – and what the future holds.
PURE Functionals only launched 18 months ago, but from the outset it has set itself apart from other CBD companies.
For a start, there’s the Amsterdam headquartered venture’s memorable and catchy slogan, Dare to be Different, reflecting Pure Functionals’ positioning as a technology driven health and wellness company that uses not just CBD but a host of other natural active ingredients to elevate everyday commodities like food and beverages, cosmetics, and animal care to the next consumer level as it looks to differentiate itself from its competitors.
Then there’s Pure Functionals’ corporate branding. Commonly, CBD firms like to use a stylised image of a hemp plant or adopt a very clinical attitude to their product design, advertising and brand identity.
In contrast, Pure Functionals has taken an energetic, colourful, engaging and very artistic approach to define who it is as it looks to stand out from the crowd in Europe’s burgeoning CBD and wellness sector.
Echoes Of Surrealism
The packaging for the firm’s range of CBD oils, capsules, gummies, functional waters and personal care products feature vibrant, contemporary, nature-inspired visuals that feed through to the company website.
The bold design has echoes of Surrealism combined with elements from nature. It conveys personality: humour, approachability, charm and creativity. More importantly, it’s eye-catching and establishes the brand’s foundational identity with consumers as it looks to position itself for lasting success.
The branding is no accident. It reflects the artistic background of Pure Functionals’ founder and CGO, Karen Brink. A serial entrepreneur and experienced investor who was behind the pan-European provider of internet hosting services, Active24/LaDot, as well as the organic fast-food restaurant chain, Danku, Brink initially studied art at university. Throughout her working life she has maintained her interest in it and been involved with a number of contemporary urban art galleries.
It is her creative thoughts and ideas that has fed through into Pure Functionals’ branding and packaging.
“It is about making a simple product appealing to the client,” Brink explains. “If you look at most of the CBD companies, their products have a hemp leaf on them, which looks very medical. But within Pure Functionals I have used my art background to help bring the CBD packaging out there for consumers in such a way that it is appealing but at the same time relatable.
“For example, our water bottles show elements of the water world (think Mediterranean blue water, coral, cool scuba diving fish and pop art turtles).
“With the majority of people now leading a hectic life and dependent on technology, we envision a world where nature and technology are in harmony and balance becomes a new way of living.
“All the investments and backgrounds that I have, have brought this company to the place it is today.”
Stock Market Plans
That place is on the threshold of hopefully listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the first quarter of 2022. If all goes to plan, Pure Functionals will join a host of well-known cannabis-based companies that have since the beginning of this year floated on the LSE following a change in legislation.
Pure Functionals has been attracted to the LSE because “we wanted to keep things closer to home,” Brink says. “Our chairman is Mark Simmonds (a former UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister who now holds a number of senior international roles and company directorships). Also, our investment bank is located in the UK.”
But more than that, Pure Functionals sees huge potential in the UK CBD market. Whilst many contemporaries are eyeing up Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Greece and Poland, Brink says: “In the EU – and I know with Brexit we are maybe not able to call the UK Europe anymore, but it still feels like it – we see it as the strongest CBD market.
“I saw the LSE as the right platform to launch our brands. Although the rest of Europe as far as CBD goes is rapidly flowering, I think most consumers still look out and businesses look to either the US or the UK, and that is why we decided to do a London listing.”
Pure Functionals has come a long way in a short time under the guidance of Brink, Simmonds, and CEO Mariam Zamaray (a former chief executive of the world’s first ultra-high-definition broadcast network) and non-executive board members Boaz Wachtel (a co-founder and former managing director of Phytotech Medical, Australia’s first publicly traded medical cannabis company, and also a co-founder of the International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition), Ranny Davidoff (a well-known investor and businessman) and Chief Technology Officer, Wouter de Heij (who specialises in all-natural innovations and disruptive technologies for the food and beverage and healthcare industries).
Steeped In Investment World
Brink’s own family is steeped in the investment world which helped open doors when she decided to launch Pure Functionals. She says: “As a family, we have always tried to be on the front end of new technologies, and tried to find businesses that can be revolutionary.
“We were looking into the CBD space with juices, and when I started to read about it I realised what a niche market it still was at that time and what a great potential it had. I was lucky enough to be introduced to some very knowledgeable people within the industry, one of whom explained to me how wonderful this little cannabis plant is and how many functionalities it has and how we can all benefit from it.
“That is how I started thinking about how everyday products could be elevated by infusing them with CBD to give the user the unique benefits of this plant.”
What has been created is a technology driven health and wellness company that formulates, makes and distributes a hybrid-range of next-generation functional CBD products targeting what has, in the last three years, been a rapidly growing market.
Brink is keen to emphasise that it is not a “purely CBD company, but a vertically integrated health and wellness firm with technology. Our big differentiator is our pure research and technology and our biggest niche the fact we are not a pure CBD company but are also concerned with health and wellness.”
Pure Functionals hasn’t suffered from launching in the middle of a global pandemic. Indeed, Brink maintains it has helped consumers re-evaluate what’s important and become more health conscious, especially when it comes to sleep and stress, with many turning to CBD products as they look to take advantage of its immune system-boosting qualities and reconnect with nature.
Having launched in May 2020, Pure Functionals already employs a team of 50 across the group and boasts four divisions, or pillars, covering personal care and food and beverages.
Pure Natur formulates and produces a world-class range of everyday next-generation health and wellness products using CBD and other natural active ingredients of the hemp plant.
Products include both a functional gummy range and waters, an array of CBD, CBG and CBDA oils, CBD capsules, and a cosmetic line, all presented in Pure Functionals’ attention-grabbing packaging.
Pure Technology is the development arm and has created methodologies and equipment to dissolve CBD to achieve odourless, colourless and tasteless mixtures. There is a research and innovation centre with a focus on studying and developing services in the greater field of health and wellness and which holds the intellectual property for the products it develops.
Brink admits that “nothing is completely unique, because CBD is not unique. But the technology behind it, yes, really differentiates us because we can offer a certain quality. I dare not say better than most, but in many tests we have done, most of our competitors don’t come close.”
Pure Ingredients is the company’s B2B supplier of carefully sourced and curated active ingredients.
Meanwhile, Pure Whitelabel specialises in making CBD products for other companies, developing high quality, unique formulations.
Hair replacement and care products as well as an animal care line are set to be launched by the end of this year as Pure Functionals looks to cement its position as one of Europe’s leading CBD concerns.
On top of that, Pure Functionals has engaged with global production and distribution partners representing more than 150,000 outlets spread over more than 30 countries.
Third party validated product testing has also taken place for all CBD-infused products.
Brink says: “We know that we are still factually seen as a start-up, but we see ourselves more as a scale-up. With the knowledge that our partners bring to the table, our board that has a strong business and investment history, and companies we have infused, we have had a running start.
Good Quality At A Good Price
“What is very big for us is that we have strong collaborations with other brands and distribution partnerships, which has allowed us to grow rapidly.
“The pandemic did slow us down to a degree, but the foundations were there before Covid hit. The pandemic has allowed us to grow at a healthy speed.”
Europe is Pure Functionals’ biggest market. “The landscape is ever changing because the guidelines have not been clearly set out, either in the UK or Europe,” Brink states. “But we have the entirety of Europe to look to as well as the US.
“I think if you have a combination of good technology, good quality, good price and then the branding, it is those together that keeps you standing.
“I think you can be a very scientific company focused on the best out there, but keep on developing and developing and never bring anything to market, which will stop growth.
“If you have a great marketing company and ways of bringing the company forward but the quality lacks, that will also limit the company.
“But if you keep all the different pillars in place and focus on providing to everybody, anywhere at any time, good quality at a good price, that is something that is everlasting. That is what Pure Functionals is about.”