Founded in 2012 by Brandon Beatty, Bluebird’s vision, @bluebirdhemp has always been driven by the deepest respect for the hemp plant and the plethora of benefits it can provide to our global communities.
They quickly became known as the company who cares and does things right. With an overarching focus on quality, they’ve grown into one of the largest hemp extract manufacturers and retailers in the world. After passing their current Good Manufacturing audit with a score of 99%, Bluebird is well positioned to continue their exponential growth in this increasingly competitive market.
We caught up with Kevin Liebrock, Chief Operations Officer of Bluebird. Learn more about Kevin and Bluebird below:
Ganjly: What is your background and what made you decide to pursue a career in cannabis?
Kevin Liebrock: I’ve always been passionate about healthy food and the science behind dietary supplements. This led me to a career at Whole Foods, where I spent the better part of a decade in purchasing and leadership positions. Working in retail is tough, and the long hours and repetitive work started to wear on me. Fortunately, a few of my close friends were working at Bluebird and offered to bring me on to help out making hemp extract supplements in the lab. It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I haven’t looked back. I feel so much better about the work I’m doing, and knowing that we are making a product that helps so many people makes it a joy to come to work every day.
Ganjly: How many employees does Bluebird have and what kind of traits do you look for when hiring new members?
Kevin Liebrock: We are currently at 35 employees and have nearly doubled our staff in the past year to keep up with growth. One of the biggest things we look for are caring and compassionate people who are nimble and able to forge a clear path to success in a brand new industry and start-up environment.
Ganjly: What is the most challenging experience you have had in the cannabis industry so far?
Kevin Liebrock: Scaling the company quickly while preserving the core values that make us unique is always a challenge. Also, the constant changes in legal and regulatory stances towards our products can be a bit troubling at times. Fortunately, through our work with industry groups like the US Hemp Roundtable, we feel like we are on the right path towards eliminating any legal or regulatory concerns about the widely misunderstood hemp plant.
Ganjly: What is your proudest moment since you started down this path of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis space?
Kevin Liebrock: Moving into our new production facility and passing our FDA cGMP audit with a 99% score was a huge moment for all of us. We’ve always strived to set the standard for quality control in this industry, and being verified compliant with the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices was monumental for Bluebird and the hemp supplement industry.
Ganjly: Do you have plans for new products, services or events and would you be willing to drop any hints about what we can expect from Bluebird in the future?
Kevin Liebrock: With so many opportunities in the hemp industry, oftentimes our biggest challenge is deciding what not to do. That said, we are really excited to continue our growth in the natural retail channel and we have a few great products in the works that will help make Bluebird a staple in every natural retail store in the country. We also are quite active in sending company representatives to science conferences, political lobbying organizations, and grassroots activists.
Ganjly: What is your advice for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs who are considering joining the cannabis industry? What are the positives and negatives they should expect?
Kevin Liebrock: One of the common criticisms of the cannabis industry, in general, is that there are a lot of disorganized people with big ideas and not much focus. Pick something unique, be professional, and never compromise on quality. Also, remember that we are all in this together as stewards of a new industry, and we need to do things right. That means strong business ethics, giving back, over-the-top quality control and compliance, and treating our stakeholders well to ensure that we don’t give the industry a bad reputation. There are a lot of people looking to make a quick buck who are willing to cut corners, learn how to spot the bad players, avoid them, and set the bar higher!
Thanks Kevin for taking the time to be interviewed. To know more about Kevin and the company, go to Bluebird.