Meet Boris Blatnik From Kannaswiss - The CBD producer from the Swiss Highlands
Meet the newly appointed CEO of Kannaswiss
By Dr Julie Moltke
Vitafoods 2019, Geneva, Switzerland
At Vitafoods, Geneva, we were lucky to get the chance to interview the charismatic Boris Blatnik from Kannaswiss, one of the leading CBD companies in Europe. Boris started with a strategic position in the company and has recently been promoted to CEO. We had an honest talk about CBD and how the industry looks right now.
1. What made you get into the cannabis business in the first place?
I was influenced by a friend who suffered from Crohn’s disease, who asked me if I knew about CBD, I answered CBD what? He said I should know about it and he told me how it helps with inflammation and stress and a whole plethora of ailments. Later my company was contacted by an older lady and her daughter who came unannounced to see if we could help with her Parkinson’s. She had just lost her husband recently and was shaken badly on her hands. We gave her a dose of CBD and started talking to the daughter, when suddenly 20 minutes later the older woman made eye contact and said “look. I stopped shaking”. We looked over and her hands that had been shaking for a long time were laying still in her lap. From that point onward I knew there was something very, very powerful about this substance, this moved me very much and made me want to pursue this business. This was just one story out of many, many other moving stories.
2. What is the vision behind Kannaswiss?
The vision is to be the most sophisticated and contemporary CBD company on the scene. We want to provide a whole range of products in both food and healthcare categories. Right now we have the typical tinctures, we have water solvable CBD and transdermal creams. We are launching a skincare series and developing beverages for cognitive function and mood enhancing. I am very much involved in the product development myself, and we have recently hired new professors and chemist to help me with product development and regulations.
3. What was the first product you made?
The first product was a paste that came in a syringe. This was the first thing that I tackled when I started. I was thinking to myself, what do I do with this and I can imagine that most people thought the same. And then there was the problem with the taste; since CBD docks on the same receptors as pepper it can be quite spicy. I took it on myself to develop new better ways to deliver the compound into the body. The automatic first choice was the tincture mixed with MCT oil, then the rest followed.
4. Who is the typical product consumer and what are they looking for?
This is a tough answer to give. In our analytics, we primarily see women between 40 – 60 years old but we have clients from ranging from 5 to 95. Our sweet spot is between 40 – 60 because the disposable income is usually higher in this group, they also tend to take more care of their body. Another reason is that women that age seems to be going through some natural changes in their body like menopause, arthritis, chronic pain and depression. Most of them come back and say that it works on their symptoms. We are in the process of doing some clinical trials about CBD and menopause. We are testing CBD along with another active ingredient, and I suspect that results will be out in 3-6 months.
5. Where do you see Kannaswiss going in the future?
We might be splitting up some of the products and make Kannawiss a holding with various subsidiaries under that. We are a very diversified company being in the cosmetics space, in the beverage space and the nutrition space. I want to be able to separate each component and make them run themselves. We have the benefit that since we are a private company, we can change direction quickly which you need to be able to do in this industry. If you have all your eggs in one basket, you will most probably regret it. We are now in an excellent position where we can refocus on the brand and have enough revenue coming in that we don’t have to worry about the payroll at the end of the month. We are not yet looking for investment from North America, we want to grow our revenue numbers first before considering that step.
6. What is your main focus?
The overall focus is to produce the oil other products and to find different delivery methods. Now we are in a position where we can start looking at other potential markets. We are in the process of becoming GMP certified to be ready for regulatory changes. We want to be a few steps ahead and not only focus on CBD but all the other cannabinoids too. We believe that there are no other companies like us out there, we take smart steps, and we are one of the few companies in this industry who has been profitable since day one.
7. What has been the most exciting thing the last year for you/your brand?
Finally getting our numbers up and being able to hit the target we were aiming for. It is great to be able to hire and poach the best people in the business, not only in the CBD world but also in the nutraceutical pharmaceutical space. People are jumping ship, they are coming to us and are asking if there is an opportunity.
8. What has been the most challenging thing for you/your brand this year?
Being able to reach the numbers. All start-ups are a rollercoaster, but we really want to help as many people as possible. At the end of the day, the endocannabinoid system is something extraordinary, and our mission is being able to figure out how to compliment it with the correct ratio and dosage of cannabinoids for the individual.
9. What advice would you give to the consumer when looking for a CBD product?
Having traceability for all of the products is essential. We are working with a technology where you can scan a QA code on the package, and you can then see exactly where the seed came from, who planted it etc. I think this is the future for the nutraceutical business in general. The consumer wants to hear the story of the exact bottle that they are buying. There is so much junk out there right now, people making all sorts of claims and hopefully regulation can sort that out. I think regulation is a necessity. We want to play by the rules, just give us the rules.
10. What is your own personal health advice?
Take as much CBD as you can afford. You cannot take too much. If you can afford 1000 mg a day, take 1000 mg a day. I take at least a few hundred myself.