Supermodel-turned-entrepreneur and philanthropist Kathy Ireland launched her long-awaited line of CBD infused wellness products. Ireland said she hopes the line of serums, butters, and rubs will offer consumers some much-needed self-care amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our products, while they're beauty products, we really look at them as health care," Ireland told Cheddar. "In the time of COVID, what people are calling beauty, we consider this really to be personal care."
The kathy ireland Health & Wellness CBD Solutions line, announced in May 2020, launched in mid-January as a partnership between Ireland's namesake brand kathy ireland Worldwide and hemp and CBD company Vertical Wellness. The initial launch includes five wellness-focused products and five infused skincare products. The body butters, serums, cleansers, and creams contain anywhere from 20 milligrams of CBD to 500 milligrams of CBD, and items on the website range in price from $29.99 to $69.99.
"We're all indoors a lot. We really want to take care of our skin and take care of ourselves," she said.
Ireland is no stranger to CBD. Level Brands, a marketing company for which Ireland served as chairman emeritus and chief brand strategist, partnered on three different CBD brands with Canadian hemp grower and producer Isodiol, according to Fast Company. One of them was a line of kathy ireland Health & Wellness-branded tinctures and supplements.
"CBD is something that we've been interested in for years," Ireland said. "I was always kind of surprised by the controversy around CBD. Our products don't contain THC...and it's like we give our children grapes but not wine."
Prior to 2018, when the Farm Bill officially removed CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, it was still relatively novel for celebrities to endorse CBD and cannabis products. In 2021, that's no longer the case. Celebrities from actress Nicole Kidman to model Gigi Hadid have endorsed CBD. Others, including lifestyle maven Martha Stewart and athlete Megan Rapinoe, have launched their own brands.
What was once a mark of differentiation in the crowded CBD market has become par for the course, as celebrities scramble to cash in on the hemp-derived CBD market, which Nielsen estimates could generate $6.9 billion by 2025, according to Hemp Industry Daily. But not all celebrity endorsements are created equally, Ireland said, and a savvy consumer can tell the difference.
"Celebrity brands are great, however, that's never been our DNA. That's not what we are. It takes more than an autographed photo to really build a business and bring these great products to market," she said. "I get accused of being a control freak. I prefer to think of it as passionate."
Alongside Ireland's product line, Vertical Wellness launched 10 other CBD and wellness brands in January, betting big on the CBD space at a time when regulation is still in flux for the industry. The USDA issued a final rule governing hemp cultivation at the start of 2021, but a memo from former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, in early January suggested it may still be some time until the agency, which oversees CBD, crafts regulations governing the popular cannabinoid.