House of Wise founder Amanda Goetz on using the affiliate model to grow her CBD brand
As a single mom of three, I am extremely familiar with difficult days–trust me.
Four years ago, I was living in NYC, was the marketing VP at a major wedding brand, had three kids under five, and was in the middle of a divorce. I was stressed out, to say the very least.
Eventually, it got so bad I realized I needed to try a new approach. I dove into my research, and the hemp plant and its myriad benefits began to rise to the top of my searches.
Having been raised in the Midwest (in a conservative home no less), I’d never been exposed to or interested in cannabis. It was a whole new world to me. I had so many questions, like:
- Could it really help relieve the intense anxiety I was experiencing?
- Were there other ways it could improve the quality of my life?
As a marathoner, a former group fitness instructor, and a health-obsessed individual in general, I’ve always paid attention to what I put in my body, so unregulated or low-quality CBD products were a big no for me.
After some experimentation, however, I found adding high-quality CBD products into my daily routine improved pretty much everything about my life, making it possible to navigate the highs and lows of my days as the most present and focused version of myself.
I wanted other women to regain control of their lives in the same way I had with mine, so I founded House of Wise, a community-oriented CBD company to help women improve all facets of their day-to-day lives across important areas like sleep, sex, stress, and finances.
Why did I choose the affiliate model for House of Wise?
Despite it being 2021, public opinion of cannabis is still riddled with stigma and misinformation.
Unfortunately, that stigma is not relegated to conversation; it’s also present in places like Facebook and Google, making it nearly impossible to advertise cannabis products on them. Because traditional paid advertising and growth marketing levers were not an option for House of Wise, I had to get creative.
The affiliate model caught my attention for two main reasons:
- It brought an aspect of community to House of Wise, something I had always envisioned as a core part of the company.
- It was a way to build trust and confidence in our products. The cannabis market can be confusing, and I knew it would be important for women to hear about our products from people who had used them and achieved the desired results in the form of more sleep, better sex, and less stress.
Now, affiliate marketing is usually associated with MLMs (multi-level marketing businesses), which are often based on recruitment, and known for promising money most affiliates never see–not what I was going for, obviously.
So I built a different kind of affiliate model: one designed to empower women to make money on their own terms, without unrealistic requirements or false promises.
The affiliate model: new and improved
At House of Wise, everyone makes money. There are no recruiting requirements (see also: no need to bug all your Facebook friends with a sales pitch), no upfront costs to join, no tiered commissions, and no sales quotas to meet.
If you sell one product, amazing! If you sell fifty, fantastic! You’ll get paid for as few or as many items as you sell. And if you want to use your own affiliate link to get cash back on your own purchases, you can. We keep it simple, fair, and straightforward.
Before I launched the affiliate program I talked to many women about what they wanted and what was missing from the various commission-based companies they’d worked with. The answers I got I used to create House of Wise’s affiliate program.
Treating women like the influencers they are when it comes to the products they love is integral to the brand. Regardless of how many friends they tell about their favorite CBD product and whether it be our stress gummies, sex drops, or sleep drops, each recommendation is valuable...and we treat it as such.
In this way, I’m working to give women the tools they need to build wealth and independence while simultaneously helping them feel better in their daily lives. A win-win, right?
Building care and community
Currently, we have over three hundred Wise Women (what we call our affiliate partners) at House of Wise. We even have a few Wise Men.
Every seller gets access to marketing classes where they get to learn from me (and my fifteen-plus years in marketing) about leveraging social media, building a brand, and creating content that converts into sales.
As part of the House of Wise community, it’s been particularly exciting for me to forge a safe place for women to talk about anything and everything. It’s grown into an empowering space on Slack where women can chat, network, access support, and help each other navigate the ins and outs of their lives.
We also do #wisewednesday hangouts every week, during which we come together and talk about all sorts of topics. The other day we did a "What the F is bitcoin?" session, which was well received and so fun.
My tips & tricks for those interested in founding their own brands
Founding a brand begins with figuring out what works for you. Being stoked about your company and your product means there will be others who are stoked about it too; you just have to find your people.
I knew I had an incredible product that could change lives for the better, but figuring out how to spread the word about it was challenging. It turned out not going the traditional route in advertising has worked to our advantage, as our affiliate community has become the backbone of the company.
Bottom line: when considering marketing strategies, it’s vital to make sure what you choose makes sense for your product, your demographic, and your long-term brand goals.
Three suggestions for how to build a vibrant brand of your own:
1. Don’t underestimate the power of community
Community is a powerful thing. By using the affiliate model at House of Wise, we haven’t spent a single dollar on traditional advertising yet.
2. Be intentional with your brand partnerships and affiliations
Make sure you select them with care and with realistic objectives in mind. Each partnership should be made for a specific purpose, lining up with your company’s values and overall goals.
3. Do your research
Find out what you want. Find out what people want. Create a business others can trust because you trust it.
At the end of a long day, it’s easy (and tempting) to reach for alcohol, but that is far from the only option.
I’m passionate about teaching women how to use cannabis to access the full spectrum of their lives because of how integral cannabis has been to enhancing my life. I want them to be comfortable using it and talking about it freely and conversationally, within the community cheering them on at every step, and outside of it.
Through community, we at House of Wise will continue to focus on helping as many women as we can regain control of their lives through deeper sleep, less stress, better sex, and financial independence.
I can’t wait to see where we are in a year.