A Homegrown Opportunity Takes On the World

 

Green Compass Global
Founded: 2019
Headquarters: Wilmington, NC
Top Executives: Sterling Cook, CEO, Meredith Cook, President
Products: CBD Oil Products

The sixth-generation farmers on the team at Green Compass Global know that it takes more than sun, rain and soil to grow a healthy harvest. It takes experience, resources and perseverance—but most of all, it takes family.

Cannabidiol. CBD. Hemp extract. All names for the same cannabis-derived product that has inspired what is expected to be a multibillion-dollar industry. But in an exploding market with endless CBD applications, how do you find clean, tested and responsibly sourced products? Just ask a farmer.

The 2018 Farm Bill passed in December of 2018 forever removed hemp from the federal government’s list of controlled substances, opening the near-bursting floodgates of companies ready to sell hemp-related products. But years before the Farm Bill was drafted, farmers across the country had already been working with hemp, including participants in North Carolina’s state-sponsored Hemp Pilot Program launched in 2014. That is where part of Green Compass’ story begins.

Family Owned, Family Inspired 

Following the birth of her first child, Meredith Cook just wanted to feel normal again. “I had postpartum depression pretty bad,” she says. “I wasn’t excited to see the sunlight, and I wasn’t excited to see friends.” Postpartum depression had stolen much of the joy of new motherhood, and Meredith knew she needed something to change. Her brother Brooks had been using CBD oil as part of his workout recovery regimen for years and suggested that Meredith give it a try. She saw benefits almost immediately and began looking for the highest‑quality CBD oil she could find.

“I found that the majority of CBD was from hemp grown in China, even though it’s ultimately manufactured in the U.S.,” she explains. “I realized that not all hemp is created equal.”

Adam and George Wooten, sixth-generation farmers and friends of Meredith’s, were participating in the North Carolina State Hemp Pilot Program, so she decided to go straight to the source.

“Our friends were growing hemp through the program and had a tiny extraction machine,” she recounts. “They’d already tested their plants and found it was some of the cleanest hemp they’d seen, so I asked them to make some for us. This one made me feel completely like myself again. I felt comfortable giving it to my kids and could tell a difference with them.”

Meredith and her husband Sterling Cook saw the potential of CBD and knew that their newfound passion combined with Sterling’s background in agriculture could lead to something big. They partnered with Adam and George Wooten to explore the possibility of growing hemp and manufacturing CBD products, giving birth to a new company—Green Compass Global.

“We were all over it,” says Sterling Cook, now CEO of Green Compass Global. “We didn’t know it was going to be a direct sales business, but we started growing hemp with the help of Adam and George. We did a deep dive into growing organically and the best practices to have the best product out there. As soon as we produced our first batch and gave it to friends and family, they immediately saw benefits. We were originally going to market to physicians and medical professionals, but saw that word-of-mouth was the most effective.”

“Our parents wanted to try it, and then our friends and then parents of friends,” adds Meredith. “It just snowballed, and I thought, ‘We have an opportunity here.’”

CBD With Integrity

As Sterling and Meredith watched their idea gain momentum organically, they knew that the direct sales model would be the best fit for their new business. But they knew they needed help and industry insight. They partnered with a direct sales consultant and made several key hires to round out their executive team, including industry veteran Sarah Nilsen as Director of Sales, Meredith’s brother Brooks Bailey as Vice President and Adam Wooten as Chief Operating Officer.

“We hired people that aligned with our values and set the tone for our culture from the beginning,” explains Meredith, Green Compass’ President. “Each person was a leader or expert in the area we hired them for.” Green Compass officially launched in February 2019, after the team had patiently waited for the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. With a line of products, experienced team in place and the government green light—Green Compass was ready to meet the needs that were so personal to Meredith and her family from the beginning.

What started as a word-of-mouth, homegrown CBD business has evolved into something beyond what Sterling and Meredith could have imagined possible in such a short time. The company now offers a product line that includes full-spectrum CBD oils, CBD isolates, soothing and pain‑relieving creams and patches and a CBD oil for pets. With over 5,000 independent advocates sharing Green Compass in all 50 states, the company has already reached over 20,000 customers.

Prospective advocates can join Green Compass through two kit options—a basic kit for $49 that includes all the business materials they’ll need to create a successful launch, as well as a CORE Start Kit for $299 that adds approximately $600 worth of Green Compass products to the business materials offered in the smaller kit.

“The CORE Start Kit is by far our most popular option as advocates are excited to have product in hand to use personally and share with their friends and family,” explains Nilsen. “We have incentives in place for new advocates to encourage early production and the goal of earning their investment back in the
first 30 days.”

Once a new advocate is on board, he or she has access to training videos, literature and presentations, as well as Facebook groups for Green Compass advocates.

“In this volunteer-based industry, the field needs to feel confident in the brand, connected to the team and appreciated for their efforts, no matter how big or small,” adds Nilsen. “We’ve worked to provide the tools and resources an advocate needs to build a business, as well as a focus on the intangible aspects, making them feel they’ve found their home.”

What’s Growing At Green Compass 

Sterling and Meredith are encouraged by what Green Compass has accomplished since launching early this year, but realize that this initial success is simply sowing seeds for an even larger harvest to come.

“Everyone’s calling Green Compass the rocket ship,” jokes Sterling. “Right now, we’re focused on reinvesting into the company, our advocates and our customers.”

That reinvestment includes a continued focus on the community that Green Compass calls home, through partnerships with local universities to further explore the potential for CBD. One such partnership, with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, is giving Green Compass the research and development capabilities to better understand the broad potential of CBD.

“The whole purpose [of our partnership with UNCW] is to learn more about the plants, possible delivery systems, and uncover new technology that’s yet to come to fruition in the industry,” shares Sterling. “Green Compass is trying to lead the way for farmers and for research here in North Carolina. Our state has been a leader in agriculture for hundreds of years. We’ve got great farmers, great resources and great land.”

Reinvestment also looks like new office space to house their growing operations, a new extraction facility that’s scheduled to be up and running by year’s end, new corporate team hires and organic certification for select products. And that’s all before Green Compass celebrates its first anniversary.

“We created a CBD oil company organically—no pun intended,” says Meredith. “Before we ever took a salary, we wanted everything in line with whom we wanted to be and
what we wanted our company to do. Our customers and advocates feel a sense of family with us and trust that they’ll be taken care of.”

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