President of EcoGen BioSciences Garrett Bain is also the chief commercial officer at Kadenwood.
As an entrepreneur in the hemp and CBD industry, Garrett Bain continues to blaze new trails. Part of his experience is leading sales and marketing for GenCanna, taking the company “from the early stages to one of the largest players in the global market.”
Garrett Bain has also helped the company GenCanna grow its revenue more than $100 million in three years.
As a hemp entrepreneur, Garrett Bain focuses on “integrating mainstream business practices into the hemp-derived CBD space helped to validate the industry and foster growth across multiple channels.”
Garrett Bain also used to work as a vice president of sales in “consumer goods distribution. As VP, he served the “global leaders of big box retail and ecommerce.”
His style can be described as “execution-oriented, ‘lead from the front’ style.’” Garrett Bain attributes this style to his “time serving as a Special Operations Team Leader with the 75th Ranger Regiment.”
After college, Garrett Bain joined the Army, and was deployed to Afghanistan. Upon his return to the US, he moved on to the private sector.
As a military veteran, Garrett Bain applies his experience in pursuing his objectives with a “relentless commitment to his team and achieving success.”
My time in the military has helped me maintain perspective through very challenging times in my career. Garrett Bain, EcoGen BioSciences
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Garrett Bain: After college, I joined the Army and served in Special Operations with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Upon returning home from Afghanistan, I transitioned out of the Army and into technology in the private sector.
I spent 10 years in consumer goods distribution before moving into a consulting role in which I was introduced to the hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) industry.
The wellness and agricultural aspects of the business were very inspiring.
In 2017, I joined a vertically-integrated industry pioneer and led sales and marketing through the ups and downs of the evolving market.
I joined a fantastic team at Kadenwood last year and we completed the acquisition of EcoGen in August 2020.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Garrett Bain: Transitioning from the military to corporate America was a significant challenge. Metrics for success are measured differently and I needed to adapt my approach to better align with the goals of my organization.
My time in the military has helped me maintain perspective through very challenging times in my career.
This experience taught me a lot about integrity, mental fortitude and teamwork. Never give up on yourself!
Sometimes we move too fast and need to be more deliberate in our actions.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Garrett Bain: When I first got into the sales side, I accidentally emailed a very large retailer the cost worksheet for a holiday deal that we were quoting them.
Email recall never works so I replied to my own email with a “please delete!”, hoping that my relationship with the buyer would save me.
I will never know if she reviewed our costing model, but they took the deal and we had a very successful year.
Sometimes we move too fast and need to be more deliberate in our actions. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Employees will always follow leadership’s example. Set the standard through your actions.
- Create a mechanism for learning from your customers and the market. Your definition of great isn’t always shared.
- Develop trust and empower those around you. You can’t personally drag an organization from good to great.
- Be righteous and have integrity in all aspects of your business. It’s contagious!
- Deliver the vision, unite with the mission, establish the culture, and defend your cash.
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Garrett Bain: EcoGen BioSciences’ mission in the hemp industry is inherently purpose driven.
We believe hemp is a viable agricultural commodity with many purposes that creates value and jobs, and we must be stewards of our environment and our local communities.
We believe hemp-derived cannabinoids positively impact the health of people and our pets, so we are driven to provide global access to cannabinoids so everyone can benefit.
Hemp is inherently a purpose-driven business for us.
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Garrett Bain
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Garrett Bain: Sell a truly great product. You can’t deflect away from that with salesmanship or craft forever.
Find a team, a product that resonates with you and you believe in, and then use your best skill sets to tell an engaging story around it.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Garrett Bain: Consistency, reliability, honesty.
Sometimes machines break at manufacturing facilities, bottles have bad seals, but consistent forward communication to adaptively level-set expectations with your customers and supply chain partners is important in building great working relationships.
Deliver on promises, and don’t ever deviate from your quality standards and core brand promises.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!