Redefining Luxury in Hemp - My Journey with Cerena

Facing the untamed market landscape head-on, Cerena developed one of the first certified organic supply chains and introduced pioneering products that elevated the customer experience. This case study is a personal recount of overcoming significant challenges, from regulatory hurdles to operational complexities, and highlights the skills and insights gained along the way.
A dropper full of Cerena's organic CBD oil.
Cerena sublingual dropper
Image by Tatiana at Olear Studio


In July 2018, I embarked on a journey that would redefine my career and set a new standard in the hemp industry. Cerena, a luxury hemp company, was born out of a desire to offer something exceptional: certified organic full-spectrum CBD tinctures and beauty products directly to consumers. From the get-go, Cerena was more than a business; it was a mission to change perceptions and elevate the quality within the hemp space.


The hemp industry, especially pre-2018 Farm Bill, was akin to the Wild West. The market was flooded with low-quality products, often produced under questionable conditions. Moreover, navigating the legal and financial hurdles presented by the industry's regulatory gray areas was a monumental task, particularly when it came to securing reliable credit card processing for our online sales.

Brief List of Strategies Implemented

  • Building a Trusted Supply Chain: We set out to establish one of the industry's first trusted, certified organic supply chains. This journey took us to a family-run farm in Fort Collins, Colorado, where we sourced our hemp, and then to Boulder for our innovative vapor extraction process. This method was pivotal in preserving the integrity and potency of our CBD oil, setting our products apart from the competition.
  • Ensuring Quality at Every Stage: Every aspect of Cerena's product development was meticulously planned and executed, from the certified organic bottling and packaging in Lebanon, Kentucky, to our commitment to luxury branding and sustainable practices, including our use of custom FSC-certified packaging.
  • Innovative Product Offerings: Understanding the uniqueness of our product formulas and the importance of customer experience, we introduced a sample flight. This allowed customers to explore our offerings in a meaningful way, integrating beautifully designed single-dose vials that not only spoke to our luxury branding but also encouraged initial trials leading to full-bottle purchases.


  • Establishing a Luxury Brand: Cerena quickly became synonymous with luxury within the hemp industry. Our dedication to quality, from sourcing to packaging, resonated with customers looking for premium CBD products. The sample flight became a hallmark of our brand, exemplifying innovation in product development and customer engagement.
  • Navigating Financial Hurdles: Despite the challenges posed by the industry's uncertain legal landscape, we persevered through periods without credit card processing, demonstrating resilience and adaptability. Our efforts paved the way for future companies navigating similar challenges.
  • Skill Development and Industry Impact: The experience of building Cerena from the ground up was transformative. I gained invaluable skills in sourcing, product development, customer experience, marketing, and operations. These skills are not only transferable but have also contributed significantly to my professional growth and the broader industry's evolution towards quality and transparency.


My journey with Cerena was a testament to the power of vision, dedication, and innovation in an emerging industry. By prioritizing quality, sustainability, and customer experience, we were able to distinguish Cerena as a leader in the luxury hemp market, setting new standards and paving the way for future brands. The legacy of Cerena, marked by pioneering efforts and operational excellence, continues to inspire and shape the industry landscape.

Cerena's organic CBD oil in glass vials.
Image by Tatiana at Olear Studio
Cerena's Alivio sublingual CBD and CBG.
Image by Matthew Kanbergs
Cerena's Alinea fragrance roll-on with a beautiful pink flower.
Image by Matthew Kanbergs
Cerena's Alivio and Remedio salve kit.
Image by Tatiana at Olear Studio
Tatiana holding Cerena's flight of sublingual CBD.
Image by Tatiana at Olear Studio
"We began as a bare bones startup and with design and direction from, we were able to quickly up-level our business. Chris's knowledge runs deep but he's able to simplify the complex world of e-commerce and create manageable tasks to move forward. We highly recommend working with him."
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Matthew & Natalie Kanbergs


The Bloom Method trainer Brooke Cates stretching before a filmed prenatal and postpartum workout session.
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TU•ET•AL's Archangel Bar of Soap.
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Saponifying TU·ET·AL's Digital Presence

TU•ET•AL’s online presence was revamped through a targeted Shopify redesign and a strategic Klaviyo email marketing setup. We kept the scope of work focused on enhancing the user experience and aligning digital touchpoints with the brand's ethos of sustainability and artisanal quality. The result was a significant uplift in customer engagement, conversion rates, and brand loyalty.

"Chris joined The Bloom Method team to help with our email strategy and after a few months we offered him the role of COO. From design, marketing, customer experience, to financial acumen Chris strengthened our foundation and improved our business."
The Bloom Method - On-demand Pre and Postnatal Fitness Program

Brooke Cates


Chris was an absolute dream to work with. He totally got me and my brand and created a website that was aesthetically pleasing and functional. He had ideas that I hadn't even thought of and implemented them seamlessly. I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking to build or improve their website.
Folk Refillery & Supply - Kingston, New York's premium zero-waste grocery store.

Leah Watkins


"Chris's ability to walk the line of a CEO, client and human being is admirable to say the least. Chris always expressed sincere gratitude to whomever he employed which makes working for him that much more enjoyable. If you have the opportunity to work with Chris, I highly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity."
Ren Costantini (SEO Marketer)

Ren Costantini

SEO Marketing Expert

The beauty of collaborating with Chris is that he approaches all work, regardless of scope and budget, with the same amount of thoughtfulness, passion, and expertise. Chris was able to bring a level of knowledge & hands-on skill that helped us (and our client) dramatically enhance a major portion of their marketing operation.
Specialized Logo

Joseph Clinton

Creative Director


Website Design

Website Design

Website Design

Responsive Website Design & Development: Crafting stunning, user-friendly Shopify, Webflow, and Squarespace websites optimized for all devices. From concept to launch, ensure your site embodies your brand and speaks directly to your audience's needs.

User Experience (UX) Optimization: Enhancing site navigation, load times, and content layout to improve the overall user experience, encouraging longer visits and higher conversion rates.


Customer Acquisition

Customer Acquisition

Customer Acquisition

Organic SEO & Content Marketing: Crafting and implementing SEO strategies that enhance your visibility on search engines paired with blog content that establishes authority and engages your target audience.

Paid Customer Acquisition: I offer strategic planning, engaging ad creatives, compelling copy, effective landing pages, and broad conversion and retention strategies to attract, convert, and retain customers efficiently.


Email & SMS Marketing

Email & SMS Marketing

Email & SMS Marketing

Tailored Email & SMS Marketing: Develop and execute email and SMS marketing strategies with various CRM software particularly Klaviyo that engage, retain, and convert your audience, from newsletter content to targeted messages.

Automation & Segmentation: Setting up complex automation flows and segmenting your audience allows us to send targeted, personalized messages at scale. This approach drives relevance, customer actions, and significantly boosts your profits by enhancing engagement and conversions.


General Consultancy

General Consultancy

General Consultancy

Business Strategy & Growth Planning: Offering strategic advice to identify growth opportunities, optimize operations, and scale your business effectively.

Market Analysis & Competitive Research: Conducting thorough market research and competitive analysis to inform strategic decisions and identify unique positioning opportunities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're mapping out the first steps of your brand journey or looking to implement detailed marketing strategies, I'm here to help.

How do I start working with you?

The process kicks off with a discovery call to understand your needs. If we're a good fit, I'll send a proposal with a detailed scope of work included, followed by package selection and contract signing.

Then, after you complete a brand questionnaire and grant channel access, we'll have a kickoff call to confirm tasks before I dive into the project.

How do you tailor strategies to fit different brands?

Each strategy is built from the ground up based on your brand’s unique goals, audience, and market position. The brand questionnaire and initial conversations are crucial for crafting a personalized approach that aligns with your specific needs.

Can you handle both design and marketing for my brand?

Absolutely! I offer comprehensive services that cover both design and marketing, ensuring a cohesive and integrated approach that amplifies your brand’s presence and engagement across all channels. If I ever need outside help on something, you'll know about it.

How do you measure the success of your projects?

Success metrics are defined early in the collaboration, tailored to your specific goals—whether that’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or enhancing customer engagement. I use a mix of analytics and qualitative feedback to gauge project success.

What’s your policy on revisions and feedback?

Your satisfaction is paramount. I welcome feedback at any stage of the project and include revision cycles within the scope to ensure the final deliverables perfectly align with your vision.

What kind of support can I expect during a project?

You'll receive regular updates and direct communication throughout our collaboration. I’m committed to transparency and am always available for questions or adjustments as needed to ensure the project aligns perfectly with your needs.

How long does a typical project with you last?

Project timelines vary based on scope and complexity but are clearly outlined in the proposal phase. Whether it’s a quick turnaround or a long-term engagement, timelines are set to meet your goals without compromising quality.

What sets you apart from other freelancers and agencies?

My edge comes from firsthand experience as an e-commerce brand owner and COO, blending creative design with strategic marketing from an insider’s perspective. This unique blend allows me to navigate both the big-picture and minute details of brand building and operational scaling.

I offer solutions that deeply resonate with brands, ensuring your potential is fully unlocked and exceeded, not just met.

What happens if we need to pivot our strategy mid-project?

Flexibility is key in marketing and design. If a pivot is necessary, we’ll assess the new direction together and adjust our approach accordingly, ensuring the project remains aligned with your objectives and market dynamics.

What if I'm worried my budget is too small to work with you?

I understand that budget concerns are a real part of embarking on any new project, especially for entrepreneurs passionate about bringing their dreams to life. My primary goal is to help you achieve those dreams. That's why I encourage you to take advantage of the discovery call. It’s not just about numbers; it's a chance for us to connect, discuss your business, and explore how I can help you. Based on our conversation, I can tailor a proposal with a scope of work (SOW) that aligns with your needs and budget.

Send Me a Message, I Promise I Don't Bite

We'll schedule a discovery call and discuss your situation. At the very least you'll gain valuable insights and actionable advice.

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