Everyone has a different story and path to discovering CBD. Pain relief is one of the most popular reasons for considering a CBD product purchase.
On this episode, Scott is joined by Valerie Baldini, who is the founder of VictoryLeaf, a small business working to provide customers with quality CBD products. Valerie’s story is a powerful one, and she began her journey after she witnessed how cannabinoids provided her grandmother pain relief as she battled cancer.
Listen along as Valerie shares her inspiring journey of wellness and entrepreneurship.
Insights From The Episode
- What happened when Valerie’s grandmother started using CBD for pain relief while battling cancer.
- Why Valerie ultimately decided to start VictoryLeaf.
- What CBD products VictoryLeaf customers tend to enjoy most, and what they say about them.
- Why transparency and quality are two things Valerie considers critical to CBD businesses.
- The keys to Valerie’s success with customers.
- Plus we chat about the future of CBD!
Resources & Links From The Episode
- Alternative Medicine, Pain Relief – MedlinePlus.
- American Cancer Society
- Anxiety – MedlinePlus.
- Occupational Therapy – Wikipedia.
Connect With The Guests
- VictoryLeaf (website)
- VictoryLeaf on Facebook
- VictoryLeaf on Instagram
- VictoryLeaf on Twitter
- VictoryLeaf on YouTube
Scott: Hey, everybody, Scott here, and welcome to the sixth episode of “The CBD Guide Podcast.” We’ve got an awesome show on deck for today, where we’re going to be talking about CBD products. We’re going to be talking about health and wellness and all these kinds of things. And helping us to do just that is my guest, who is Valerie Baldini. And Valerie is the founder of Victory Leaf, which is a company that offers a wide array of CBD products. Valerie’s goal with Victory Leaf is actually to provide a way for someone to purchase all of the best CBD products in the industry conveniently in one place and obviously have those products be really effective. Valerie is also an occupational therapist, so she’s helped patients develop, recover, improve, and maintain the skills needed for daily living and returning to work. So, obviously, a lot of health and wellness in her background, which is awesome. Valerie, welcome to the show.
Valerie: Hi, Scott. Thank you for having me. And I’m pretty excited to be here.
Scott: Absolutely. And, you know, I think to kind of kick it off, I always like to ask sort of how you discovered CBD and realized the potential benefits of CBD. I think it’s one of those things in the whole industry where there are so many great stories about how people discover it and realize, “Hey, this is something that can really help.” So, I’m curious sort of your story there.
Valerie: Sure. Sure. Absolutely. Before I dive into the story, I just wanted to let you know, you know, before coming onto your page, I went and I listened to all your podcasts. And I just want to tell you that I feel like you have a really great thing going on because I feel like you’re helping the industry, you’re helping little guys like myself, you know, clear up any misconceptions for potential CBD skeptics out there and users. And you mentioned something in one of your paragraphs that really stood out. And I just wanted to touch on that real quick.
Valerie: You said that you wanted to provide, and I underlined honest, accurate information about quality CBD products. You know, and I took out the word honest, accurate, and quality, and I felt like those were the three main thing that I also want to touch upon. So, you know, we have something in common. I really liked how you summed that up.
Scott: Absolutely. I appreciate that. I mean, I think as I’ve kind of gone through this journey into the world of CBD, I feel like there’s a lot of misconceptions and, you know, unfortunately, there are some people out there. I think the majority, everybody’s trying to do it the right way and have good products and all of this, but then there are some things that are like, “Oh, these people aren’t doing it the right way. They are promising things that aren’t accurate. You know, maybe their products aren’t as high quality as they claim and things like that. The potency isn’t there or whatever,” right?
Valerie: Right. Of course. Yeah. I’ve been down that path.
Valerie: So, I don’t know if you know, I’m an occupational therapist for the past 15 years. I’ve worked with patients that have hand injuries, burns, strokes, a ton of orthopedic conditions. And, you know, before I even knew what CBD was, I realized patients were talking about these products and they’re saying, you know, “Do you know what this is? And do you know what it did?” And I didn’t at the time. And you know, I found that I was hearing a lot of positive stories about, you know, how it helps decrease swelling or assisted with their pain control and greatly helps with recovery time.
So, I did a little bit of research into it and I kept that in the back of my mind. You know, I feel like every good business, you know, needs to start with a great story. And you know, again, speaking from the heart, I mean, I believe in not only Victory Leaf but in CBD because I’ve had a very heartfelt experience with it. Few years back, my grandmother, who’s more like a mother to me, we’ve lived together most of my life, battled with breast cancer. She was in a long-term care facility and it got progressively worse. And she called me up one day and she said, “Valerie, I don’t want to live anymore.” And I knew there, there was something wrong because she was the most liveliest person that I knew.
And she goes, “I can’t live like this. I’m vomiting every day. My stomach hurts. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep at night. You know, the pain is getting too unbearable.” You know, they had my grandmother on 13 different medications. I knew I had to do something. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that like every day, I still have these voice messages, unfortunately, you know, of her crying, saying, “I can’t do it. I need help.”
So, you know, I put my thoughts together and I reached out to her doctor and I started experimenting with CBD. So, I came up with a formula with a manufacturing company that worked really well with her. And I was putting in edibles because, you know, she couldn’t smoke it. She had a lot difficulty with that. And you know, she did best with something she could eat. So, I started putting it in, you know, brownies, and she would take one in the morning and she would take one at night. And I lie to you not, it was such a difference in this woman’s life. She was sleeping at night. She was eating. You know, listen, it’s not a miracle drug, it’s not a miracle supplement. But it helped dramatically to the point where she wanted to come over and play with my children. And when I think about that, I wanted other people to have that same feeling like I did. You know, when I heard my grandmother telling me that, you know, “I don’t know what I would do without you. You’re my angel.” And from there on, you know, it really got me into the entire, you know, industry.
Scott: That’s incredible. That’s an incredible story. And thank you so much for sharing it. I mean, I think, you know, there’s that term, that aha moment, like what a powerful, powerful moment when you realize that and you kind of find a solution to really help with something that’s so important. And I think that right there is kind of why I’m doing this show. And is that what kind of led you to ultimately starting Victory Leaf and kind of going that way? How did you kind of connect the dots there?
Valerie: Well, you know, it was a couple of years and then, you know, God rest her soul, she passed. You know, she was here in my home and I was just so thankful and blessed that, you know, I could give her a little bit of relief during the last moments of her life. You know, after she had passed and things came too, I said to myself, like, you know, I mean, I’m in the field of occupational therapy because I always loved helping people. I come from a big family. I always, you know, like being a part of somebody’s success or somebody’s rehab. And I said to myself, you know, “If I could help other people,” and again, in an industry that’s growing, especially, you know, from where I’m from, the State of New Jersey, I said to myself, like, “how wonderful could that be?” And, you know, I tell these people and, you know, being as humble as possible, I said, you know, “I didn’t need to start this business. I have a great career. I’m doing well. Thank God I’m blessed. But I just really wanted to do something where I made a difference and I could help those out there.” And I thought that my sincerity and, you know, my heartfelt story could touch others and get people to believe in something that a lot of people are skeptical about and don’t trust as much as I feel they should at the moment. So, I said, “Let me give it a shot and see what I can do to help others just like I helped her.”
Scott: I love it. I love it. Exactly. And, you know, who knows who could be out there and, you know, have one of your products or another quality product. And they could really make a difference in their lives and really, you know, help them out. There are so many things going out there. You know, we talk about things like anxiety. We talk about things like pain management. These are huge things that CBD products can help address. And I’m curious, what do you find has really made a lot of an impact?
Valerie: So, a couple of them. I’m noticing right now, and I don’t know about you, but it’s been more of a stressful year or two and [inaudible 00:09:18].
Scott: Yeah. To say the least. Yes.
Valerie: You know, I almost rescheduled this podcast because we lost my mother-in-law three days ago to COVID, God rest her soul.
Scott: Oh, I’m so sorry. Yeah.
Valerie: Thank you. Thank you very much. And she was a great woman and, you know, even her story of her knee, she was constantly in pain. She was too sick to get any type of surgery. And you know, I had just opened this business and, you know, I have text messages from her saying that, “Oh, my God, my knee feels amazing.” She’s like, “Look, I’m walking on it.” You know, she lived with us. And even to help her during, you know, these last couple of years that she’s been living with me feel better and be able to go out and do things for herself. You know, I’ve experimented as well on my husband, he had a horrible migraine and he loves to take four Advils. And I always tell him how bad that stuff is for your kidneys.
So, I said, “You know what? Let’s try it.” And he would take two gummies and his migraine was gone in like an hour. And I’m not saying it works for everyone. You know, like I said, it’s not the miracle. But I’ve had many, many great stories. So, I noticed that more of our sleep products have been, you know, selling quicker. A lot of people are having difficulty not only sleeping, but staying asleep. And I feel like, you know, our products really help not only falling asleep, but actually staying asleep for, you know, the rest of the night.
And the other thing too is anxiety. I feel like a lot of, you know, the morning soft gels with curcumin as an anti-inflammatory, but having that a part of your daily routine has helped many of my customers, you know, say, “Listen, it takes the edge off. It helps me start my day. It gives me enough energy to help me start my day, but at the same time, takes my anxiety, you know, down a bit.” And when I hear that feedback, it makes me want to work even harder, you know? And then, of course, you have your second, which is like your topical, a lot of sports injuries and jujitsu players and all that kind of stuff, you know, also do well, but I feel like the sleep products have been our biggest seller right now.
Scott: I mean, and I’m sure there’s been all sorts of studies and articles written on it, but, you know, certainly here in the U.S., we’ve got sleep problems. A lot of people have a trouble getting a good night’s sleep, staying asleep, you know, shutting down the engine, so to speak. So, it makes perfect sense to me that those products would be doing really well for you. Is it mostly just gummies, and so it’s the idea of, okay, take a couple of gummies, you know, 30 minutes before bed and then shut it down, or what is it?
Valerie: So, actually, no. I would say those are the least favorite right now. I really would say that the soft gels are doing the best. I’m finding that my demographic are mostly right now older people who have a real problem with the taste of the oil in your mouth. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken it. It does work for some. Some people do really like it because it’s more instant. But I’m feeling a lot of my clients like taking, you know, the pill and less dealing with that oil taste in their mouth. And then the third would be the gummies, but I’m saying definitely capsules right now are our biggest seller.
Scott: That’s awesome. And yeah, you know, I’ve talked to folks before when there was like, oh, you know, this can get a little hempy for some of the edible products and things like that. So, I could totally get it, especially someone who’s maybe like, “Oh, that’s just…no, I don’t want to get that all over my tongue. I’d rather do something else.”
Valerie: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Scott: So, we’re talking about all the benefits of CBD and these products that your customers are really enjoying and it’s helping them, but the thing is that there are still people that are on the fence or they’re skeptical about the benefits of CBD. Even if they’re hearing, you know, your powerful story, they’re still like, “I don’t know.” What might you say to them to maybe encourage them to just take the plunge, you know, kind of like what you said to your husband with his migraines, right? And it’s like, “Hey, you know, instead of four Advils, try this.”
Valerie: Right. So, again, CBD is not, how do I say, like, a one-stop solution. You know, you need start small and you need to evaluate like what your goals are. It’s not like I’m just going to take this and it’s going to cure all my problems. Like, I think sometimes the expectations, some people think…you know, I say it’s like vitamin D, right? You take vitamin D for your bones. You take one vitamin D, your bones aren’t automatically strong, right? It’s something that becomes [inaudible 00:14:11] day. And I feel like at that three-week mark is when you feel the maximum benefit of CBD.
So, I would tell them to start small. I would tell them, you know, it could be a one-month goal, a three-month goal, and, you know, tell yourself, “This is why I’m taking it. Like, I want to help with just these migraines or just sleep.” Or, you know, “I’m an athlete and I want to use it just to like relieve muscle soreness.” Like, prioritize what your goals are, what do you want from CBD? And then I would say research, research, and more research. Ask other people. Listen to podcasts like yours, Scott. You know, get accurate information. Don’t ask your friend next door who might give you information that is incorrect.
You know, I find a lot of people are buying this, you know, CBD from your local gas station. And, you know, it promises you all these milligrams and it’s actually promising you something that is incorrect, and people take it once and then they get discouraged and they never want to take it again. So, I tell people, “If you’ve ever taken it from an untrusted source, you know, try it again.” And that’s why I wanted to make that one place where you knew you can trust anything on my site. I have vetted them out. I have done my research. I have made sure that these people are 100%, these companies are 100% legit, so much so that I even noticed that some companies had one thing that was greater and this company is missing this type of product. So, I even worked with a manufacturing company and came up with my own four products that had a combination of everything that I liked best in a CBD product.
So, everything on my site is 100% trustable. And I wanted to, like, have that one place that you don’t have to question what’s in it. There’s a COA that’s attached to every single one of my products that tells you exactly what is in it, the amount, the percentage. I want people to feel comfortable.
And the other thing too, is that, you know, I want people to know that this is a real thing and it does help people. And the more you research and the more you ask around, the more comfortable you will feel. You know, it’s not easy to get people to put something, ingest something in their mouth and say, “Oh, here, just take it.” Everybody wants to know what they’re taking. So, I feel like, you know, these types of things are what’s going to help the industry and the people that are skeptical about it.
Scott: Absolutely. I think you really made a lot of really important points there. I want to circle back to one thing you were talking about, you know, people who might just go to the random gas station and get, you know, whatever CBD product happens to be there. The other thing I would say about that is, like, I think there’s a benefit when you go to…you know, I look on the Victory Leaf site, you have some articles about CBD, you’ve written some things, you’re coming on this show and kind of sharing your knowledge directly and things like that. The gas station attendant, like he’s not the kind of person that you can just chat with and be like, “Oh, hey, I have some hip pain. Will this help me with that?” Like, he’s just like, “I don’t know.” I think there’s a value in that as well.
I went to a CBD store, you know, a few weeks ago and I was able to kind of talk with the associate there about what I was looking for. And, you know, she gave me a few different products to kind of try out and see, you know, what might help me the most. I think that’s where the sort of, I guess, conversation and the information is so critical. And then you combine that with what you were talking about as well of making sure that there’s the quality sourcing. There’s the transparency. There’s all of that, I think, that’s where you have the best chance. So, if someone is skeptical, it’s, hey, start with something like that. Because if you’re just picking up whatever product that says CBD on the side, you know, you’re kind of just rolling the dice and you may not get any benefit there, right?
Valerie: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s how you’re going to get repeat customers. If you’re buying something that doesn’t work, are you ever going to try it again? I wouldn’t. So, you get a good quality product and you have a better chance, you know, that it works and that you will buy it again and it will keep continuing to help you. So, I feel like, like you said, you know, talking to someone. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my company is I am always readily available to speak, to talk to. You know, I have a chat forum on my site, but I’ve given people, you know, call it what you wish, but like my cell phone number here. Let me help you. Let me talk to you. Let me answer your questions. And I think, you know, a lot of people have called me on my cell phone and go, “Wow, I can’t believe, you know, I got you on the phone.” And I go, “Any time. Text me. Call me.”
Like, I really want people to feel comfortable. I don’t want to just make a sale. That’s not going to help me. You know, if I can help you, you know, feel better, whether it’s my site or someone else’s, it doesn’t matter, I just want to make sure you’re taking the right stuff and you’re knowing what you’re putting in your mouth. And I want to be there to answer questions and give that insight to people.
Scott: Would you say that that’s been really a key to your success, you know, early on with everything is just kind of that personal touch? And that I almost would say it’s almost like community-oriented and that you’re building…you know, Victory Leaf is not just the store that you go and you buy the thing, you never interact, you never, you know, whatever, it’s just a product. It’s more than that.
Valerie: Oh, yeah. I mean, I don’t know how you feel, but there are so many companies out there that, you know, good luck talking to the founder of the company. You know, I have TikTok and I have Facebook, and you know, at night, I take a couple of hours, you know, as much as I do even use my own products to sleep, you know, I’m up late at night. And, you know, I get back to every single person who sends me a message. Like, I respond to them on TikTok, on Facebook, on Instagram, on my personal phone from my forum online. Like, I want people to know me. I want people to know my vision, to know where I come from, to know my story. I’m not like, “Here, buy this, here’s a sale.” Like, no, I want to educate you. I want to tell you all the great things that this has done for me and my family. So, I feel like that personal touch is how you create trust. And if you create trust in anything, in a relationship, in people, in a job, when you have trust, you know, you are more apt to listen to and trust what they’re telling you. And I feel like, you know, that trust is what people are lacking right now.
Scott: Absolutely. Especially because, you know, in the grand scheme of things, CBD is still so “new,” right? So, these conversations are critical and that trust is so critical.
Valerie: Very critical.
Scott: I’m curious, Valerie, what do you see, you know, CBD, the industry has exploded. There are so many different products out there, so many different companies, all of this. Where do you see CBD as a whole, as an industry, the products, what have you, going in the future? How might, I guess, maybe the landscape change in the months and years to come, do you think?
Valerie: You know, I’m not sure, but I do have a good feeling that it’s going to be in a very positive place as soon as people start to get more educated. I can’t tell you how many times people are like, “Oh, I’m not taking that. That’s going to get you high. And I have kids to watch.” And I’m like, “No, no, no, CBD is not getting you high.” So, I feel like, you know, the sooner that the misconceptions get cleared up for people and people start trusting in it, I feel that the industry will not only get larger, but more trusted, and more people will trust in the product so they will use it more. So, I feel like it’s going to not only spread, but more people will understand what it does exactly and how it may benefit them.
You know, I always say to myself, like, you know, there’s a lot of competition out there and I say, you know, people have asked me over and over again, “What makes you any different than the guy next to you or the girl next to you?” And I say, “Look, as long as I feel that I’m honest, you know, I’m sincere, I’m available for questions, I’m transparent, I do my homework, I have all, you know, lab-tested COAs for all of my products by a third-party lab, and to top it all off, a story that I feel people can relate to, you know?” So, I feel like CBD is going to forever be evolving. As technology advances and this becomes more mainstream, I feel that more and more people will trust it. And I honestly think that’s just the magic word here. There has been new things out in the market, I’m not sure [inaudible 00:23:03] available, but more water-soluble CBD, and a lot of products out there, you know, it’ll say that this much CBD or this many milligrams, but your body only has the ability to absorb, you know, 35%, 40% of it.
I feel now with water-soluble CBD, you know, better bioavailability, you know, you’re talking anywhere between 90% and 97% of absorption in the body. So, I feel like as new products are coming out, I feel like as more as it gets trusted and people start, you know, understanding it better, I feel like it’s going to explode because, you know, who doesn’t want to feel better and have less anxiety and sleep better, and at the same time, not be on 10 to do so? You know, this is something that’s natural. A lot of the products now, you know, even like my immunity gummies, you know, there’s elderberry, there’s vitamin C, zinc. These days people are very big on immunity, right, with everything going around. I feel like it’ll be more of your everyday vitamins and supplements. And listen, I’m not a big fan of medication. It works for some things. Absolutely. But if I can take something that’s natural, I feel a lot better. You know, I’ve been taking it too myself and it’s really helped me greatly. So, I feel like the industry is just going to blow up and I feel like people are going to understand what CBD could really do for you.
Scott: Absolutely. You know, you were talking about common questions you get. Would you say that that’s the biggest misconception about CBD that people are like, “Oh, am I going to get high here?” Is that like the biggest thing you tend to feel as the biggest misconception?
Valerie: So, I would definitely say that’s the biggest, but real close second would be that, “Oh, it lacks science.” And I say to myself [inaudible 00:24:46], “Absolutely, it definitely needs more research.” And I feel like that’s going to be forever evolving, right? But hello, this is how I see it. There are so many positive stories and benefits from people who actually use it, right? And I don’t know about you or if you’ve heard anyone, but we have pretty strict guidelines for obtaining gateways, you know, in order to buy [inaudible 00:25:06]. You know, each product has to have a COA. You know, it has to be third-party lab-tested, tells you exactly what’s in it. To be honest with you, I feel like our product has a lot more information, you know, than half the things I see out there on the market in shelves. Like, [inaudible 00:25:23] feedback. And there’s a lot of research behind it. Of course, it needs more, no doubt about it. And I feel like as more come out, the FDA, you know, no doubt in my mind, I feel like in the near future this will be something that will be supported by the FDA. I do. I do. I feel that inside.
Scott: I agree. I agree. All right. Last question here. Valerie, what’s next for Victory Leaf? Any exciting projects or new products or anything else going on with you that our listeners might find to be interesting?
Valerie: Sure. Sure. Absolutely. So, all of this is pretty exciting. I do have a brand new water-soluble tincture. It is Nanozorb, which means it is broken down into very, very, very small pieces so that your body can easily absorb it. And right now, I’m working with current restaurants that want to place this in their alcoholic beverages. So, that’s pretty exciting, dealing with a couple of different restaurants and restaurant suppliers and coming off with maybe a CBD-infused not only alcoholic drink, but, you know, a type of liquor with it, infused in it. I hope that, you know, not only myself, but other companies see that, you know, it’s not just an edible… I mean, CBD is in everything, food, it’s infused in almost everything. So, working with restaurants, you know, we’re coming up with a beauty line I’m very excited about. So, there’s definitely lots of, you know, great, exciting things in the future for Victory Leaf. And I think in the future for a lot of CBD companies. And, you know, I feel that as time goes on, the better, more trusted companies, you know, will prevail and, you know, it’ll weed out some of the not so trustworthy CBD out there.
Scott: I totally agree and I think that it’s going to be an important thing and it’s going to keep getting better and better. And the cream will rise to the top, as they say. And, Valerie, I think you will be a part of that, absolutely, with the great things you guys are doing at Victory Leaf. Before I let you go, I wanted to thank you for joining us on the show today and really sharing your story and covering some important things and providing some great insights. And if folks are listening and they want to check out some of your latest products, they want to connect with you, where should they go?
Valerie: Victoryleaf.com, my site. We’re also on every social networking. But, you know, I just wanted to tell you, this was great. Like, I’m so, you know, happy that you brought me on here and, you know, I’m honored. I think you’re doing amazing stuff educating people. And, you know, you got a long-term customer here.
Scott: Love it.
Valerie: I’m listening to your podcast and I can’t wait to share your podcast with lots of, you know, Facebook friends and TikTok friends. But yeah, we have some great products and, you know, I’m always available for any questions. And hopefully, you and I will speak again in the future and I’d love to be a part of your podcast again.
Scott: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Valerie. And you have a great rest of your day, okay?
Valerie: Thank you, Scott. You as well. Take care.