Grower Stories #61: Aaron Puryear
Our Interview With North Carolina-Based Hemp Industry Innovators Oak City Hemp
When it comes to hemp, there are few brands that do it better than Oak City Hemp. That’s why AskGrowers sat down with Aaron Puryear to ask about the North Carolina-based brand’s present and future in the hemp industry, the origins of their brand, and what sets them apart from their competition. #growerstories
We Love Cannabis and everything about the plant. We are from the CULTURE and represent the CULTURE. The plant inspired me to into the industry.
Tia (AskGrowers) : How did you start the Oak City Hemp brand?
Aaron Puryear : We started as an educational CBD brand and quickly became a premium hemp flower brand. Now we are transitioning into becoming a designer cannabis brand.
Tia : What has been the biggest challenge your brand has faced so far?
Aaron : Where to begin: Banking, merchant processing, state flower bans, DEA, USDA, FDA, you name it we got a story.
Tia : Do you grow everything on your own, or use the help of third-party vendors?
Aaron : We consult for most of the farms we buy from, the others we have trusted relationships with people that are like-minded industry leaders in their craft. We do grow some of our exotic flavors from time to time.
Tia : If you answered ‘yes’ to the previous question, then what chemicals/products do you use in the growing process?
Aaron : We grow everything organically and if we use pesticides they are generally natural essential oil-based.
Tia : Tell us two things that set you apart from other hemp industry brands?
Aaron : We don’t strive to be “vertically integrated.” We strive to build connections and community within the industry to tackle challenges and promote longevity. We also operate as a brand and not as a company that sells a brand.
Tia : What’s your biggest achievement so far?
Aaron : Surviving and managing to exist in the cannabis industry this long.
Tia : What’s your best-selling product? Why do you think that one connects so well with customers?
Aaron : Right now it's Delta 8, mainly vape carts or gummies, but we also have tincture and d8 flower that's really taking off. Anything with d8 in it is selling but historically it's the Hemp flower that sells the best, d8 is just the latest innovation the industry has to offer. Flower connects with our customers because it is authentic to who we are as a brand and what we represent from the CULTURE.
Tia : Can you count OCH as a sustainable company?
Aaron : We strive to be a sustainable company and have visions to be more sustainable as we grow. One thing about sustainability there is always room for improvement.
Tia : Are there any brands you appreciate and follow?
Aaron : Obviously Cookies brand and what Berner and those guys have done is incredible. As for CBD/hemp brands, I'd say you have to follow Charlotte's Web if you're in the industry. Then there is 3Chi, the biggest D8 brand, there are a handful of others and then have several friends in the industry that I root for but that's about it. We mainly focus on ourselves.
Tia : What would be the question to your competitor in the cannabis industry? Why?
Aaron : What do they think they do the best and the worst. I love getting into people's thought processes and really breaking down what they think they are trying to accomplish and what they are actually accomplishing.
Tia : What do you think is the biggest challenge in the cannabis industry so far?
Aaron : As I referred to before just surviving in this industry is the biggest challenge because there are so many obstacles we face and have to overcome. You never know you might wake up tomorrow and one law has changed and business as you know it is all over.
Tia : What do you think the future of cannabis might look like ten years from now?
Aaron : The future of cannabis has changed so much from the last 10 yrs I have no idea, but if I had to guess I'd say you will see a further push into edibles in all forms and begin to see the decline in smokable products.
You can follow Oak City Hemp at:
Thank you so much, Oak City Hemp team, for taking the time to do the interview. To learn more about them, head on over to their website.