fourfive was set up in 2019, after founders George Kruis and Dominic Day, who have 25 combined years of rugby experience behind them, were looking for a more natural way to deal with repeated injuries.
From starting with CBD, the pair have now branched out into vitamins and nutrition too – part of their vision of creating a rounded wellness brand for people from all walks of life.
Cannabis Wealth caught up with Dominic to find out more about his journey from injured player to CBD businessman.
How did fourfiveCBD and fourfive Nutrition come about?
George and I started fourfive originally just as a CBD brand, before branching out into vitamins; we see ourselves really as an all-round wellness brand.
In 2018, we were both struggling with injuries – I’d just had a second knee op – and so we were looking for something that was going to help us recover, but a more natural alternative to the prescribed medications we would normally be using.
At the same time, CBD had just been taken off the banned list for sport, so we tried it; we saw such great benefits, and it significantly cut down our recovery time – we were sold.
However, while we were convinced about CBD and the benefits, we weren’t ecstatic about the quality of products on the market; to be honest, you could never be sure that what you were taking was what it said on the bottle.
We knew that a lot of rugby players were using CBD and so soon realised that there was a market for a product that was sourced well, manufactured well and, most importantly for athletes, tested to the best standards.
After researching and designing our product range, we launched in 2019 and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since.
What led you to CBD personally?
I was injured and laid up so I started googling alternative recovery methods, which is where I came across an article about CBD and its benefits.
There was a vape store down the road from my apartment, which had CBD in the window, so I hobbled down on my crutches and decided to give it a go.
Before that, I’d had 15 years of more conventional treatments – ice, physio, medications – so I wanted something more natural.
Now, I incorporate the CBD along with the physio and other support, with everything working together. We tend to see it as a supplement, but we’d like to see people using it like a vitamin – just part of their daily routine.
Where does your product inspiration come from?
It’s probably 50/50 between us and customer demand. Our core range is based around oils, as that’s how we started using it, but that’s also designed around customer and retailer feedback for what they see as being strong in the market.
One thing we want to avoid is being too sport-heavy, and we’re not just focused on professional athletes; CBD and quality nutrition is for everyone. We have lots of customers between 40 and 60 who want to live a more active lifestyle and they’re looking for things that can help them.
How has the business grown since 2019?
Obviously, it was started by George and I, although we brought someone in to help in the early days as we were both playing full time.
Over the last two years, we’ve grown to a team of seven, with plans to up to 162 in next six months. There’s real potential for growth there, both in the company and in the market, and we’re tapping into that.
At the moment, we’re focusing on sales and marketing teams. We get such good feedback from retailers that lots of brands out there are just labels on bottles. They love that we have a brand story that people can relate to.
What do you think have been the key developments in the industry over recent years?
We’ve been involved in the CBD industry for nearly three years now and acceptance is definitely growing. When first got into it, nobody knew what it was – or certainly not beyond the stereotype. Education is getting around – although there’s still a lot of work to do – but people are coming round to the fact that this is a natural product with a lot of benefits.
The novel foods regulation is also going to be a really key development. At fourfive, we’re really into wanting quality products where people know what they’re taking. The novel food regs will force everyone to have really compliant products, which will improve consumer confidence – that’s a massive step forward
Do you find the CBD industry collaborative?
Absolutely; if any of us are going to grow we need to collaborate, because it all ties in together – the education, the quality products.
It’s not about brands going out there alone to land grab, it’s about working together to all make the market as big as we can make it so we can all benefit.
We also need that unified voice in response to regulations, to give us that strength in numbers.
Who is your business inspiration?
My business and sports inspirations are all tied up for me; I recently retired from sport and so I’ve looked to people who have successfully made that transition.
Someone who I think is quite inspirational is Alex Rodrigues – he was a hugely successful athlete in the US, before transitioning to the business world.
That’s kind of the example we’d like to set, and the more successful we can be helps us to lead by example and show that life after sport can be just as exciting.
That’s why we want to support as many athletes as possible, and we’re looking at onboarding other what we call ‘Team players’ with fourfive; helping them both with their sporting career but then also afterwards.
It’s not a support group as such, but we do have that sense of community; for example, we’re working with rugby player Jack Nowell, who’s behind Exeter clothing brand Mustard, and Maddie Hinch and her hockey coaching clinic, to help them with their businesses.
Because we know that business is hard, if we can help people navigate that through our network, that’s something hugely beneficial.
What’s the best business advice you’ve been given?
To build business on solid foundations. We didn’t have massive business experience, but we’ve built this firm in a way that’s compliant and doesn’t make any stupid claims.
What are the key qualities you need to succeed in business?
You need to have that resilience to get past setbacks and keep pushing forward – there’s always another way.
You also need to be good at communication, and that’s something George and I are both good at. It’s partly a skill that has come from our sporting lives, an ability to get your message across and also stay calm under pressure.
The CBD and nutrition market is such a great industry to be involved in, and the growth we’re looking at over the next four to five years is just phenomenal – it’s a very exciting time.