A YouTube star from Hitchin, Hertfordshire has explained how anxiety and family illness gave him the push to start his new business.
Oli White, 25, and his partner Evie Marcer, are both influencers but have spent more than a year working on Unique CBD, which they hope can help others suffering with anxiety and low self-esteem.
It also has a personal connection for Oli.
While his Sally mum was battling with breast cancer, beyond just the physical toll of treatment there was also a loss of confidence, sleepless nights and the hidden side effects of such a serious illness.
Oli said: “My mum was battling something that I could never imagine going through – she’s incredibly strong to be able to go through that.
“After her battle with cancer, I saw that she had very low confidence, she was very stressed and she learned about CBD through another friend.
“We definitely saw a massive difference in her, and I think she found in herself in her confidence and being able to manage her stress and anxiety better, and overall feeling a bit more balanced.”
In the months that followed his mum’s recovery, Oli then started to find his own struggles with having to keep an online presence, abusive comments and just burning out.
His YouTube channel currently boasts more than 2.74 million subscribers, meaning that he’s open to plenty of comments on every aspect of his life – a big shift from starting it for fun nine years ago.
He said: “After [his mum’s cancer treatment], being online, doing videos and being open to lots of comments and criticism and things like that, it very much started making me a very anxious person.
“I always have trouble sleeping, my mind’s going a million miles an hour, like everyone’s does. I just wanted to find something to try and aid that.”
However, he wasn’t convinced that there was a brand out there that really reflected the lifestyle benefits his family had found, so thought it was his chance to do something beyond YouTube.
Oli added: “This was just a space that I thought, there’s no one that I feel that’s like really doing it really right yet.
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“We kind of want to put ourselves in the position of almost being like the Apple of CBD products in a way, and there needs to be confidence in the market, but there also needs to be a lot more clarity around education, and just making sure the products are what they say they are – they’re high quality and they have been fully tested.”
Unique are currently launching with CBD ‘Day Drops’ which are natural peppermint flavoured oil, specially formulated by neuroscientists the couple worked with.
As the business is formulating their own products, they can ensure that it’s safe, only containing what’s advertised and doesn’t have the psychoactive THC component – which is what makes you high in illegal products.
Oli is aware that a lot of the branding in other businesses have seen a trend, jumped on and haven’t considered much beyond that.
There’s also the need to make sure people are aware that there’s a very clear difference between CBD products and illegal drugs, even if it originates from the same plant.
He added: “There are a lot of CBD companies out there that are just doing it for a quick buck because they don’t put a lot of effort into really anything, but we’ve put so much effort in, working on this just non stop all through the pandemic – and I’m just so proud of what we’ve created.
“I think there’s an incredibly big market for people that maybe just don’t really understand everything about CBD, and that’s why we’re also trying to educate where we can.”
It’s a far cry from the supposed day job, where recent videos include living in his car for 24 hours and blending every flavour of Ben & Jerrys ice cream.
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It wasn’t even intentionally going to be a business idea so quick, but after working with a neuroscientist, the couple realised they were onto something.
Oli said: “We’ve actually spent the last year in intense education speaking to a lot of different industry professionals, doctors, neuroscientists.
“We started using it personally and we found massive [differences], just our overall health and wellness, felt a lot more balanced.
“Then we just decided to turn it into more of a business to be able to provide a high quality premium CBD that people could trust.
“Once we started giving it to friends and family, they just thought it was incredible, and we thought you know what – we need to make this available for other people out there as well.”
More information on Unique CBD can be found on their website.