“For the health conscious consumer in a GE world”
Key Business Activities
We sell natural food products suited to health conscious consumers who prefer natural and organic products that have not been genetically engineered.
Product and Services
Our featured product is Hempty(TM) – a wildcrafted, handpicked herbal hemp green tea. This tisane has the unique distinction of being a world exclusive and we definitely want to take advantage of that until imitations flood the market. There is a simple, yet effective measure in place to ensure that Hempty(TM) will establish and maintain a large share of the hemp tea market through the quality of the product.
The long-term plan is to build a “mall” featuring organic non-genetically engineered foods such as Hap-Bee Honey, the perfect compliment to Hempty(TM) and other organic herbs and teas from Wynn’s Organic Herb Farm such as Echinecea, St. Johnswort, Goldenseal, Ginseng, Ginko, Red Clover, Comfrey, Oregon Grape, with more products under consideration.
Management and Advisory
Ye Natural Shoppe will be located on the World Wide Web and operated by the Universal Compassion Centre, a registered non-profit society in Alberta as a fund-raising and awareness project.
The management team consists of:
Debra Harper – set-up /marketing the on-line virtual store
Pavel Dimotoff – hemp consultant
The last two years have been spent creating and developing a network of the most experienced individuals and organizations in the cannabis/hemp movement who are willing to lend their expertise and advice to this venture. This includes medical doctors, lawyers, farmers, front-line workers, consultants, media, commercial and other interested parties.
Other consultants and possible sources of information:
John Conroy – legal counsel – criminal law
Ken Rogers – legal counsel – civil / business law
Brian Taylor – Cannabis Research Institute
Dr. Paul Hornby – EPA certified, analysis and testing
David Zradicka – Wuta International (WUTA) International Trade and Commerce consultant
Access to a large number of other experts via subscriptions, e-mail and Usenet lists on everything from marketing, web technical and design assistance .
– The business caters to health conscious, yet free-thinking consumers
– This business meets the need for viable alternatives to what is already “out there”
– This business came about when the Universal Compassion Centre (UCC) needed a fund-raising venture.
The company is offering a chance to become passively involved in a social issue by purchasing Hempty(TM) with the proceeds going to the UCC. Besides the virtual store, Hempty(TM) will be sold through health food stores or hemp stores willing to become involved and the target customers are those already buying herbs and organic foodstuffs, green tea drinkers, free thinkers, environmentalists, cannabis smokers.
– in a word – Explosive! The hemp industry became legal again in Canada, March 1998 and the amount of hemp planted each year is increasing at astronomical rates. We do not anticipate large seasonal fluctuations because tea drinking is a habit forming type of behaviour and many tea drinkers enjoy their daily morning or evening cup year round, although sales are better through winter.
There is none! We anticipate that observers of our little enterprise will venture out eventually with copycat teas providing there are no legal ramifications brought against us.
Hempty(TM) is very well suited to an income-generating site.
Who is going to buy into this little social experiment called Hempty(TM)?
From the virtual stores website: http://cannabislink.ca/shop/
Ye Natural Shoppe
The Hempty(TM) Campaign
Welcome to a world premiere as hemp debuts in a new way…
Hempty(TM) is slightly ahead of it’s time although it arrives on the scene several years after hemp was legalized in Canada.
Most hemp products are in the form of clothing, oils, lotions etc., but Hempty(TM) boldly expands the uses of the hemp plant to include a non-genetically engineered, wild-crafted, hand-picked, herbal tea with no additives or preservatives .
Hemp grown without a license (no one needs a license to grow corn or wheat) is not permitted and hemp leaves for tea are in a grey area of the law, so technically speaking Hempty(TM) is a somewhat banned substance. BUT, people who can think for themselves realize prosecuting people for drinking hemp tea with less than the legally allowed 0.3% THC would bring justice into disrepute, especially since hemp has been growing wild for decades.
By purchasing Hempty(TM) you will be supporting:
1) the right to choose non-genetically engineered foods
2) the right to maintain control over lifestyle and health-related
3) the right to say no to senseless laws (without serious
PLUS, the proceeds from sales of Hempty(TM) from Ye Natural Shoppe will be going to a registered non-profit organization, the Universal Compassion Centre, which is dedicated to dispensing therapeutic cannabis to sick members.
The statistics indicate that 92% of Canadians support the medicinal use of cannabis and as this country moves closer to allowing the sick access to this medicine, it will either fall in the hands of corporations to grow and dispense it if the government has it’s way, or it will fall in the hands of experienced, knowledgeable, but badly underfunded compassion societies such as the UCC who already have the system in place, if the people and hopefully the voters have their way. Hempty(TM) is the “Girl Guide cookie” fund-raising tool and hopefully just as popular!
Only through grass-roots action and participation will enough pressure be applied before the concerns of voters/consumers are heard. We are seeking support from environmental, union, consumer, alternative medicine/therapy advocacy groups to name a few for this fundraising project.
Friends of Hempty(TM)
Universal Compassion Centre
Vancouver Compassion Club
Healing Herb Festival
The Ohio Hempery
The Media Awareness Project
Renee Boje’s Web Page
Lost Art Naturals
Marijuana – The Forbidden Medicine
ADD YOUR ORGANIZATION OR NAME HERE!!! (1)
We are confident our customers will be from a wide variety of niche markets and our strategy includes a pro-active campaign tying in with related social issues and causes such as environmental and nutritional choice, bad prohibitionist laws, etc., that have widespread appeal and many supporters.
The premise that millions of people already break laws that bear greater consequences by smoking cannabis, and law enforcement has better things to do than arrest people for drinking a tea made from hemp leaves, leads us to conclude there is a vast untapped market for hemp tea. Any government intervention would be felt at the distributorship level, not the consumer level, so risk to our customers is minimal as this project proceeds by taking orders and shipping at our discretion, while lobbying to become a legitimate business and waiting on trade advice.
Our established customer base consists of members of compassion societies who already face worse consequences by possessing the psychoactive cousin of hemp; cannabis, so purchasing Hempty(TM) is a no-brainer to them.
Is there a demand?
Oh yes, or why would we bother! If the marketing is done properly, it will be very successful and because the product itself cannot be patented, the process will remain proprietary in anticipation of imitations which will flood the market if we are free to conduct business for a comfortable amount of time. This will give us enough of an edge to establish 100 per cent of the market share and instant namebrand recognition. And research shows that people are very enthusiastic about hemp in general:
Bruce Brolley, a new crops specialist with the Manitoba provincial agriculture department, says he’s estimating about 15,000 acres will be planted in the province this spring – only the second year producers can legally plant the crop. That’s up from approximately 1,300 acres last summer.
Ray McVicar, a new crops specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) in Regina, says he’s expecting somewhere between 3,000 and 4, 000 acres to be planted in that province. That’s up from an estimated 500 acres last year.
In Alberta Dr. Stan Blade, a spokesman for Alberta Agriculture, says roughly 2,500 acres of hemp are expected to go into the ground this spring. Campbell downplays concerns about market instability that could accompany quick growth, saying CGP has large scale customers lined up for its processed products. (2)
Some conclusions of the Maritime Industrial Hemp Product Marketing Study” prepared for the Maritime governments indicate the trend is going in the right direction in terms of marketing:
-It is clear a culture of believers in hemp and its variety of uses has developed in North America. This is reflected in the growth of hemp-based products, all based on imports of hemp fibre, grain and oil. Some individuals within the agricultural community have observed this and believe there is an opportunity to supply this demand with domestically produced hemp fibre and grain.
-The markets for hemp products can best be described as developing. They are primarily a loosely connected set of niche markets. This industry is in its infancy, having lain dormant on the supply-side in North America for 60 years.
-This study was aimed at identifying the potential for a Maritime-wide industry. Maritime production is small,made up of only a handful of growers. In the absence of a well-developed distribution system, there appears to exist only niche-market opportunities for a small number of growers. Our research suggests that at this time substantial effort will be required to develop a Maritime industry for many of the markets claimed for hemp products such as textiles, building materials, alcoholic beverages, livestock feed, bedding and biomass fuels. The main reasons include insufficient processing and value-added infrastructure and incomplete research and development results. (3)
The time is ripe, people are feeling rebellious and becoming more willing to participate en masse in setting trends such as purchasing Hempty(TM); perhaps spurred on by the internet revolution . The Body Shoppe proved this with their hemp promotion. The main difference is they broke no hemp regulations to market their products so they could advertise and promote with impunity through every traditional medium.
Keeping totally abreast of all developments concerning regulations and drug policy is essential to avoid unnecessary legal risk compiled upon calculated risk. However, several court cases that will be heard in Supreme Court of Canada within the next year or two could result in much the same situation as the Morgentaler case where the law is struck down, making the enterprise (and all forms of cannabis) instantly legal.
But in the meantime, we are aware that: “The courts have previously ruled, including the British Columbia Court of Appeal (BCCA) in Ian Hunters recent appeal that the prohibition applies to the whole plant. Consequently the THC level doesn’t matter. The possession of entire plant or any part of it is currently unlawful whether there is any THC in it or not and whether it is marketed in tea or any other way. I would not go near the US with any such product but I do know some very successful seed sellers who seem to have made it very difficult to prosecute them by not having a storefront, using the net and having all employees in different locations. My advice is to beware of the US Federal Government because it thinks it is above all laws that apply to others.” (4)
Other new developments we are following are the emergence of a new federal political party called the Marijuana Party which will field candidates in the next election, fueled by their success in the last Quebec provincial election when they won 10,000 votes as the Bloc Pot. It is highly unlikely any candidates will be elected, but the primary objective is to focus attention on prohibition and the opportunity to get Hempty(TM) in the spotlight may be possible during the election campaign.
The bottom line is that the legal and political challenges to the law clearly show that people are ready to think for themselves, and for Ye Natural Shoppe, this means that all this insurrection can be translated into sales.
A large amount of research is going into this initiative because of the amount of risk involved. It has not escaped our notice that if hemp were regulated like any other farm crop there would be no risk whatsoever. When hemp is regulated under Agriculture Canada and not Health Canada and when the bureau of drug surveillance is not involved, it will be a marker of progress toward the government adapting a reality-based view of hemp, which in turn will ease the amount of stress on the lives of those involved.
Another important consideration is this product must be launched with virtually no capital because Hempty(TM) is intended to generate revenue for a cash-starved non-profit so all forms of marketing and advertising will rely heavily on ingenuity rather than financing.
The avenues being explored for traditional marketing are focusing on education, awareness and grass-roots involvement mainly having to do with Hempty(TM) and its health benefits. The analysis on Hempty(TM) shows it contains a similar phenolic profile to green tea plus elemental nutrients like magnesium and iron. (5) The knowledge people acquire about the benefits of Hempty(TM) and its forbidden status, will ensure a stronger supporter / customer base.
The vehicles being explored are through the medical marijuana movement via the UCC and their website, or it can be presented on its own as YNS to the upscale, back to nature or nuts and berries crowd, or it can be advertised as Hempty(TM). Developing an advertising/ marketing strategy around one product with three possible distribution vehicles presents a unique set of circumstances and this versatility can create many opportunities because of the interchangeability to shift the focus from the virtual store ( Ye Natural Shoppe) to the tea (Hempty(TM)) or to the UCC; whichever will offer maximum exposure for potential sales.
The essential element is Ye Natural Shoppe will be able to use any traditional method of advertising when its base expands to include other products such as the honey and herbs (leaving out all mention of Hempty(TM)) , whereas the others must be more subtle and use alternative media forms to promote sales because of the legal problems.
A good example of keeping the focus on education and awareness by tapping into the grass-roots market is sending information packages on the Hempty(TM) Campaign to groups like the Canadian Auto Workers and writing articles for their publications.
An excerpt from some of their promotional material about their hemp initiative shows what could be a strong customer base once they learn about hemp tea:
Many are surprised that a labour organization like the CAW would p;ursue such an issue, and have asked Whats in it for the CAW?”. Our response is simple. The CAW is part of a broader social movement committed to job security not just for our members, but for all Canadians, now and in the future. The move to reintroduce hemp into Canada can only serve to make that a reality. There is the strong belief that the preservation of the family farm is key to the survival of Canada as a sovereign Nation. The cultivation of hemp as a cash crop would help many family farms to remain solvent, not to mention the many spinoff jobs this new Hemp Industrial Revolution” would create.
We have been presented with the opportunity to be a catalyst in bringing about progressive change in Canada. We grasp the magnitude of what hemp can mean to the economy in terms of employment, but of equal significance, what it can mean to our environment. (6)
And organizations that support Hempty(TM) would in turn help promote it:
The main tool in getting our message out has been our own publication, The Global Guardian.” It has been even more successful than we had anticipated, spurring responses not only from individuals and organizations in our immediate area, but from all over Canada, the U.S. and as far away as Australia!
Networking is an important element of our campaign. We have worked very closely with Joe Strobel of Tillsonburg and Claude Pinsonneault of Chatham, the only individuals who have been granted the legal right to grow hemp in Ontario. The have provided us with a wealth of knowledge and an immeasurable amount of support. Another source of support has been the Canadian Labour Congress, which has also become an active participant and will be sending ouzr information packages & Media Kits to their affiliates.
In addition to these efforts, hemp information kits were sent to every Member of Parliament across the entire country. We have received numerous responses in favour of our efforts, and continue to garner more support in the government ranks. On the local government level, we appeared before the Essex County Council and received unanimous support for our proposal to have hemp legalized. We plan on approaching other councils for similar support.
Media coverage of our campaign has been very favourable. Our Environment Council has had excellent coverage on television, radio and in newspapers. The Windsor Star officially endorsed our campaign on January 30, 1996 in an article entitled The debate over hemp.” The last line summed up just what we have been asking in our campaign legalize hemp . . . What are we waiuting for?” (6)
Other organizations such as the Council for Canadians could be potential customers based upon some of their material and will be approached with Hempty(TM) Campaign information packages as well:
As a result, the Council, as part of a broader citizens’ movement, has been rethinking common bases for action in the new global economy. Relying upon political parties alone to represent our interests appears less likely to succeed in light of growing corporate power. That doesn’t mean we should abandon the traditional political system. But we need to redefine our focus by creating a new understanding of active citizenship and democratic action from the ground up. (7)
Some of our customers will be passionate believers in the cause and through word-of-mouth to their family, friends and neighbours, will form a good part of our customer support base.
Media interest in medical marijuana is still peaked right now so press releases/articles written about the UCC will mention Hempty(TM) as a fund-raiser in targeted newspapers and other media. Hempty(TM) has been featured in a mini-documentary on A Channel (Calgary Independent) entitled High Hopes that explored the legal/medical issues surrounding Grant Krieger and the Universal Compassion Centre.
We are also considering selling Hempty(TM) from tables rented in flea markets, farmers markets, or any event that could be tied in. Many people, including the police as we have discovered, are unaware of the grey legal area of Hempty(TM) and assume that because hemp is legal and tea seems pretty innocuous, that it is nothing more than an entrepeunerial exercise.
Outside of grass-roots involvement, getting the average person to make their first purchase of Hempty(TM) is very important because a high percentage of repeat business is assured. An important incentive will be that for $2.00 extra, YNS will ship a re-usable hemp tea bag with each order. There are several manufacturers of this item, and we are inquiring about obtaining a wholesale price for a bulk purchase. Because Hempty(TM) is a loose leaf tea, it is more difficult to prepare than tea sold in tea bags. The easier it is for our customers to prepare it, the more it will be consumed, so helping people acquire simple, convenient steeping methods is to our advantage.
The introduction of incentives for purchasing such as discount coupons and samples are marketing strategies for future implementation if sales need a boost.
Another strategy involved in the first phase of traditional marketing will be to attempt to have Hempty(TM) stocked by health food stores. We will approach store owners and conduct business hypothetically to measure the initial response. This allows everyone to view the opportunity without immediately having to take any legal considerations into account. So, instead of approaching store owners and asking them to stock Hempty(TM) which involves a certain element of risk which would translate into mainly negative responses, UCC representatives will bring in a sample bag to show them, a thermos full of hot tea, and a pamphlet about their organization and a survey form asking something to the effect:
[ We are conducting a survey to measure the response to a new product we would like to introduce.
Do you think you would be willing to stock Hempty(TM), which is a hemp leaf tea, on consignment or buy wholesale, based on our introduction to the Hempty(TM) Campaign and seeing the product for yourself and tasting it if a sample is available?
Would you be interested in seeing the complete product analysis of this tea along with legal and trade opinions ?]
The reps could then explain / and or show what up-to-the date information they have on the status of the product ranging from same benefits as green tea to legal speculations.
This survey could be expanded into a longer printed version that could be emailed, faxed or mailed to health food stores around whatever territory the proprietors choose, from the global market (too much risk, especially USA) , national market (much less risk), right down to the local market , depending on resources and bravery.
Ye Natural Shoppe will create a substantial internet presence because the internet strategy is going to be the main focus of the marketing campaign for several reasons;
1) legally it would be more advantageous to the overall business
2) the ease in which Hempty(TM) can be marketed from a virtual store
3) the reduced operating cost which is the major consideration
4) many resources can go directly to marketing rather than education because informed
customers are all over the internet
5) the element of risk for store owners is not present.
Many conventional methods of marketing and advertising are unavailable to Hempty(TM) and the UCC, but the internet is much more of a level playing field+ so it is very important to get traffic to the site and generate sales. Having a site that is easy to find, easy to use and easy to buy from is extremely important so the website was built with simplicity in mind. All the pages are small in size , tastefully laid out with little graphics so they can be accessed by all.
Also, Hempty(TM) has the unique distinction of being a one-of-a-kind product, so it is the only actual hemp tea that shows in search engines. We are in the process of re-directing traffic from the URL in the search engines to a new site that will be set up because the domain name Hempty(TM).com has generously been donated to this venture. Once it is all set-up, the potential to reach a large audience and point traffic specifically to the site is a great advantage. Getting instant top search engine placement is a marketing dream come true and will be utilized fully.
Metacrawler – 24 results – only 2 that are actual hemp tea (all are Ye Natural Shoppe through affiliation)
Sherlock – 130 results – only 6 that are actual hemp tea sites (all are Ye Natural Shoppe through affiliation)
The website will mainly be used to generate income by eventually incorporating a well-stocked virtual store and by rallying the social cause, because other products, services and information can be found on supporting sites. Consumers who are already buying herbs and organic foodstuffs, free thinkers, environmentalists, hemp enthusiasts, cannabis smokers, etc.,will be targeted by linking to global sites of common interest. Applicable information pertaining to Hempty(TM) will be posted on tea discussion boards, forums, or hemp, environmental or any other social /activism discussion going on which will draw customers.
Hempty(TM) is a product that can be advertised all year round without worrying about seasonal adjustments too much. Tea drinking is habitual and is usually a daily or regular indulgence on the part of tea consumers, so maintaining a year round high profile is important. Intuition dictates sales will increase during winter months, so a slight increase will be anticipated then.
The main advertising tool at this time is word-of-mouth and a spot on a TV documentary. Word-of-mouth will always be a significant factor in getting the word out about Hempty(TM). To date, no real advertising is in place and Hempty(TM) is being distributed through the UCC and stores that have connections to Hempty(TM) Futures, the producers of Hempty(TM). Advertising in a traditional sense is not possible due to the legal status of the product, so many ftraditional vehicles must be overlooked in favour of alternative avenues to advertise.
Another choice medium will be the media. There is news in this product and that must be exploited. This means thousands of dollars of free advertising and public awareness without the business practice being suppressed. That strategy, whether intentional or not, has proven effective for the compassion clubs who could never get away with marketing their products through billboards, magazine ads, radio spots, etc., but a half hour documentary on the Nature of Things which featured the Vancouver Compassion Club has resulted in 1,100 members and the club was declared in Parliament as a model for this country.
The publication, Cannabis Culture, will be approached because of a prior commitment to donate space to Hempty(TM) and once some capital is raised, specific publications (militant, alternative) will be targeted for traditional business card size ads. The non-profit status of the UCC will help get the best rates and breaks available for pricing . The fringes of mainstream magazines and newspapers will be approached once some ground has been broken and the waters tested for tolerance and sound legal advice has been considered.
Advertising Hempty(TM) / Ye Natural Shoppe/UCC over the internet will be relatively easy because the same barriers which apply to mainstream advertising do not apply in the virtual world. There are many sites that would be happy to accept paid advertising and the opportunities to advertise free are boundless.
Time will be devoted to getting listed in as many search engines as possible and attaching as many meta tag descriptions and keywords to the webpages as possible.
Most advertising on the internet will be done through joining and / or posting on various discussion boards, usenet and email lists of special interest groups such as tea , hemp, activism, environment, and natural foods. Ye Natural Shoppe will be linked to as many sites as possible, so a good deal of time will go into creating hotlinks and being placed in directories and listings. We will limit our listings to Canadian directories for now, because where we will export is still unclear.
Much of the information will be recycled from research being compiled for the business / sales-marketing plans. It can be formatted to fit into various topics without looking like canned responses and added to the website.
Starting an internet campaign to allow Hempty(TM) to be sold totally above board could be initiated and eventually filter down to mainstream media. Drawing attention to the plight of Hempty(TM) will be a persistent advertising strategy if sales are slower than anticipated.
As this fund-raiser develops, the natural course to follow would be to either attempt to buy all the rights to Hempty(TM) and market and advertise directly that way, or design an identifiable logo for YNS and get it known.
Because the transaction is not being conducted on-line, we do not have to worry about assuring we are linked to a secure server which would be necessary if we were processing payments. It would be unethical to allow payments to be taken without security features enabled, but it is not possible at this time to establish a merchant account with a financial institution and it is questionable whether it will ever be an option.
It will be important to try and eventually establish a merchant account in order to reap the full benefit of internet marketing and once the UCC is better established and has T-shirts, stress balls and other novelty fund-raising items in place, or if Ye Natural Shoppe can become a merchant when other products are offered, the Societies financial institution could be approached to discuss opening a merchant account so we can accept credit card payments from the web site and elsewhere.
The ability to take credit card payments will most likely be set up through a third party such InternetSecure, an established Canadian e-commerce solution provider or a similar company unless better resources are in place, then accepting payments through email using PGP encryption could also be a viable option. This can be done by installing PGP software and using it with an email program without the assistance of a third party if the technical know-how is acquired. The advantage is there are no additional third party costs, and the only fees collected would be those charged by the Societies financial institution at the same rate as transactions done manually. Without technical assistance, it would be more worthwhile to rely on a third party and the additional costs per transaction in order to offer credit card payment options.
Presently customers print off the form and mail it in with a cheque or money order in Canadian funds, then the order is processed or declined depending on shipping address and payment is returned if the destination address is in the USA and any other country that is evaluated as a high risk. We will seek advice on a country to country basis as the orders come in and customers are encouraged to confirm their order with us through email so they are informed of the status of their country before sending in an order.
A currency converter is going to be placed on the ordering page to add further ease to the ordering
process and improvements will be made as suggestions and additional insight are included.
What will the future hold for Ye Natural Shoppe? It is too difficult to forecast how far the Hempty(TM) Campaign will go. We are depandent on our suppliers, the guerilla hemp farmers who produce our product, to ensure there is sufficient inventory to launch the Hempty(TM) campaign.
If YNS is going to survive as a revenue-generating virtual store, than diversity of products such as those included in the long range plan and an aggressive marketing campaign would be the best scenerio in case Hempty(TM) is jeopordized. But for now, the world is going to become aware of Hempty(TM).
May 20, 2000
By Debra Harper
Ye Natural Shoppe
PO Box 5092 Station A
(2) Gord Gilmour – The Resource News, Tue, 20 Apr 1999
(3) A Maritime Industrial Hemp Product Marketing Study September, 1998
prepared for: Marketing and Food Industry Development Branch
Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing
and Marketing and Business Development Branch
New Brunswick Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
prepared by: Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists Limited
and Dr. Jim White of InfoResults Ltd.
(4) John W. Conroy,Q.C. , Conroy and Company, Barrister and Solicitors
2459 Pauline Street, Abbotsford, BC., Canada V2S 3S1
Tel:(604) 852-5110 firstname.lastname@example.org www.johnconroy.com
(5) certified analysis – Analytical Anonymous
(6) Canadian Auto Workers – http://www.westhemp.com/old/establish.html
(7) Council for Canadians – http://www.canadians.org/campaigns/campaigns-genfood.html