George Kruis and Dominic Day have enjoyed successful professional rugby careers and both play or have played for English Premiership club, Saracens. As athletes, they have experienced the highs and lows of leading a healthy and active lifestyle and took the decision to come together to share what they have learnt during their combined 24 years’ experience. Injuries and lengthy recoveries have provided them with a profound respect for their bodies and limits. With 12 operations between them, they looked to more natural and sustainable ways to manage their health and founded fourfivecbd. They have since worked closely with the finest CBD suppliers to create products specifically aimed at supporting active people.
Creating your own products and running your own business are far from the rugby pitch. Did you find the prospect daunting, what have been the greatest challenges and what have you most enjoyed?
Any new challenge is slightly daunting which in turn makes it exciting. Just like in rugby, there are highs and lows in business too. Most of our challenges have come from the CBD industry being unregulated but there is currently much-more regulation being put in place with the move to CBD becoming a Novel Food in March 2021, a move we very much support. The highs have been plentiful and they include hearing great customer feedback, building a team environment in the workplace and working in a fast moving industry. The vision for fourfivecbd was to create safe and trusted products that could benefit the public the way we have found CBD to help the both of us.
CBD is seen, by some, as controversial. What would you say to those who don’t understand the difference between CBD and cannabis and what are the benefits of taking CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it does not get you as high as the other compound THC is known for. We think the stigma attached to CBD in the past 18 months has noticeably decreased as the level of education has increased. When we were first started exhibiting at events and interacting with the public about CBD and it’s benefits, there was a lot of concern around it’s relation to cannabis, especially for healthy and active people. We feel that with the help of well-known trusted brands, athletes and retail chains, all promoting CBD as a wellness product, the education around CBD is being enhanced and accepted. CBD is classed as a food supplement and by law we are unable to make any medical claims but there is a lot of support and anecdotal evidence online about CBD and it’s benefits. With the relaxation of laws on cannabis throughout the world there is more and more positive research becoming available which is hugely exciting.
What are the best ways to identify a quality CBD product, are there any products consumers should be avoiding, and how do your CBD products stand out from others on the market?
Anyone that is interested in purchasing CBD for the first time should always check if a brand has lab reports available on their website and check if the lab reports reflect the information provided on the product. There are a lot of reputable brands in the industry but a lot of cowboys too, so it’s important to do your research before buying any CBD product. fourfivecbd is one of the few brands that has a focused niche on the sports and active market, as that’s what we know and love. With the both of us being professional athletes, we hope it gives a lot of comfort to consumers when taking our products as we understand the importance of what we put into our body. We have worked really hard to continuously release premium and innovative products for our customers to enjoy and benefit from.
Your product range includes oils, sprays, capsules and rubs. How do the products vary in terms of application and what’s the best way for a customer to select the right product for them?
The feedback on our oils and capsules have been very similar in terms of what benefits have been felt when taking the products. If you are looking for a quicker release, then we would recommend our oil and if you are looking for the a slower, longer-lasting release then we suggest our capsules. Our topicals are split into three different products, which is our CBD balm, muscle rub and joint gel. Our balm is used more for skin irritations and rashes. The muscle rub, which is heavily infused with menthol, is used on targeted muscle areas to give a cooling sensation. Our newly launched joint gel is infused with capsicum and arnica to give a warming sensation when applied.
You highlight the physical toll being an athlete takes on the body, and of course mental health feeds into this. Do you think there is enough support in sport to help athletes manage this and what do you think could be improved?
George: I personally think there are some great people and groups to reach out to in regards to support. As always there is always more that can be done however in the last few years there has been much more of a focus on player welfare through bodies like the RPA (rugby players association) but also through the clubs mindsets in terms of the benefit of looking after the player not only on the field but off field. As long as there continues to be a trend of increased awareness around areas like player welfare on and off the field I think rugby will be in a good place in the long term. I think with the current situation we are in with a reduction in budgets across the board, player welfare has to be protected.
As professional athletes, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced during your sporting career and what advice would you give to someone considering going professional?
Dom: There are two things for me. First is coping with injuries, especially towards the end of my career when my body was a bit worn. I definitely found it mentally challenging coming to terms with the fact that I wasn't the player I knew i once was, but that is part and parcel of pro sport. I still thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my career. The second challenge for me was making decisions around contracts and clubs, I always wanted to travel but was also scared of the uncertainty of changing clubs and having to start again. I have to say the best decisions I have made in my career have been the ones I was most scared to make and its allowed me to live and play all over the world.
George: I have found my biggest challenges have been around dealing with injuries. I have picked up a fair few in my career. The effort that goes into getting back fit is huge as as a professional athlete your job is very much bases around playing! To miss out on training with the team whilst you are doing rehab can be very frustrating over long periods or back to back injuries. I have dealt with these periods by making sure I have things outside of rugby so that rugby is not my only focus. Running a company is definitely a distraction from the lows that go with injury and keeps my mind active which is a huge positive.
Given you have successfully launched a business away from your core discipline, what advice would you give to those looking to make a career change?
George: I would say that there will undoubtedly be cross overs that will serve you well in the area you were currently in and the future one. I would look at what made your previous business run well and the characteristics of what was successful and then try and relate and push that into the new career move. In rugby the three main traits we wanted to bring into the office space was to work extremely hard, have a fun time and be a trusted team member. With these three traits we think as long as we are open to learning we should, as a company, get where we want to go.
Dom: I have always been of the mindset that I would rather look back when I am old knowing that I tried something whether it was successful or not than never trying and forever wondering what could have been. Having said that, when I do try something I make sure I do it properly and that usually takes weeks sometimes months of research and learning. Once you're happy and ready to take the plunge then give it your all. We called in every favour and used every contact we had to ensure that we were always putting our best foot forward. Business has definitely taught me that there is no shame in asking for help and people more often than not are willing to offer that helping hand.
To learn more about George and Dominic, and their work with CBD, visit them at www.fourfivecbd.co.uk and use INESSA20 at checkout to receive 20% off their product range.
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