LONDON, United Kingdom — In the US, retailers are vying to be the next Net-a-Porter or Saks Fifth Avenue of the rapidly growing market for beauty and wellness products made with cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD. European consumers have been slower to embrace the substance.
That may be starting to change. This week marks the launch of The Chillery, the first luxury e-commerce site specialising in CBD beauty products.
“In the UK, we realised, CBD wasn’t available readily to the extent it was in the US, so we decided to look for brands in Europe and the US for products and producers out there, making sure the European consumer had a high-quality selection of CBD products,” Co-Founder Floriane von der Forst told BoF.
With eight different brands and 24 SKUs in total, The Chillery has divided its product assortment into five key treatment areas: sleep, stress, pain, beauty and intimacy.
“People who know CBD in the UK will use it for stress or sleep, while discovering skin creams and topical creams for period pain, back pain, after-sports, all these other areas,” said Co-Founder Marisa Schwab. “That’s the lack of awareness elsewhere in Europe.”
That’s the lack of awareness [about CBD] elsewhere in Europe.
One of the most common misconceptions — and differences between the US and UK markets — say the founders, is the question of whether cannabis makes you high. (It does not, since it derives from the hemp plant, which is low on the psychoactive component THC, rather than from the marijuana plant which has high doses of THC). The Chillery’s website includes charts and cheat sheets on everything from dosage and usage to diagrams of hemp and cannabis plants.
Many customers are also unaware of other uses of CBD aside from the oil drops. Proponents say anti-inflammatory properties lend themselves well to topical creams for acne or post-exercise balms. For beauty, the founders have brought onboard Hora’s serums and overnight masks and a face oil from Saucha.
The founders said it’s been difficult at times to find third-party brands that fit with the site’s target audience of luxury consumers, as in Europe many CBD products have been marketed towards men who use recreative marijuana. By contrast, the legalisation of recreational cannabis in California has seen dozens of retailers pop up for regular customers, selling everything from Juul pods to face creams and CBD lattes. But there are fewer places in Europe where the rules are as clear-cut.
“We’re seeing, if you look within Europe, brands moving into skincare, but it’s been slower here because of regulations changing so much in [California],” said Von der Forst. “We’re bringing more and more brands onboard, but Europe is always catching up.”