With cannabidiol (CBD) growing in popularity with consumers on a global scale, it’s natural to worry that the industry is going down the wrong track, from local retailers with holistic missions to sprawling conglomerates of lifeless dime – dozen of products .
James Thompson and his e-commerce company Calm Peak CBD fall into the former category and embody the image of David versus Goliath. Thompson, born in Seoul, Korea, described himself as an army brat who “traveled everywhere”. He eventually ended up in the United States and attended college in California on an arts and dance scholarship.
“I’m really creative. I like to make up names and logos. I am marketing. I just love doing it, ”said Thompson. He entered the private sector as a budding entrepreneur after college and hit the ground running with a company called Smoothie Joes in Birmingham, Alabama.
While founding Smoothie Joes, Thompson learned what it takes to run a successful business. “I had a line wrapped around the building. I couldn’t believe it, ”he said. Eventually, however, Thompson would be unlucky with the dissolution of his marriage and business, resulting in a lifestyle he aptly described as “the candle burning at both ends.”
After his divorce and fears that he would lose his daughter along with his business, Thompson fell into a depression. Thompson began experimenting with drugs and drinking heavily because he “wanted to die inside,” the entrepreneur told MACE.
“I used drugs and I didn’t care,” he said. Everything changed for the entrepreneur one morning after suffering a near-fatal mini-heart attack that resulted in a hospital stay and a flurry of negative forecasts. It turned out that the episode was the result of five blood clots found in Thompson’s heart, kidney, and elsewhere in his body.
“It was crazy. You [doctors] couldn’t understand how this young guy had five blood clots. ”Thompson said it had gotten so bad that his family expected him to die some day, which luckily never happened. As a result of his hospital stay, he was prescribed up to 11 drugs for various conditions, including high blood pressure.
“After about five years nothing seemed to work. I was always tired, lethargic and had a number of side effects, ”he explained. The side effects became so overwhelming that Thompson experienced suicidal moments. At that moment, he decided to make a change, which resulted in an appointment with a holistic doctor who prescribed him CBD. He started taking the products, exercising frequently, and noticed a significant drop in body weight.
After a period of taking CBD and exercising frequently, Thompson returned to his original doctor for standard tests and stumbled upon an incredible surprise – the test results were positive, much to his doctor’s shock. “I have never seen her [numbers] so, ”said the doctor to Thompson.
Thompson’s life-changing experience with CBD would take him on yet another entrepreneurial journey, this time starting a CBD business that would eventually become Calm Peak. “I caught lightning bolts in a bottle that is unlikely to happen again,” Thompson said, referring to the popular Smoothie Joes.
During this formative period, Thompson noticed that many entrepreneurs were dropping claims in the CBD industry, an opportunity he did not want to miss. “If I didn’t take part now, I would be behind everyone else. I went back to my work mode like I did with the smoothies. Did research [CBD]. I wanted to create a brand. “
After many growth difficulties, Thompson finally found a private label producer based in Colorado with 100% THC-free products that would become the backbone of Calm Peak. “They selected six of their best products and invested in a website. It took a while.”
When asked how he came up with the name Calm Peak, Thompson said there was just something about it that he couldn’t pinpoint. “I just fell in love with the name Calm Peak, I don’t know what it’s all about. I didn’t want to be like any other CBD company, they all sound the same. “
Fast forward to today and Thompson continues to expand its line of products, from Calm Peak apparel to CBD-infused coffees. “We are considered a health and wellness company,” he said.
“I wanted to help people. I experienced something really traumatic and I wanted to get out. So I wanted to offer an alternative medicine, ”Thompson said, comparing himself to other retailers who wanted to make money fast instead of actually helping consumers.
The hard work has paid off for Thompson: Calm Peak won the “Best Edible” award at the Original CBD Expo Tour in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2021 and the “BEST MINOR CANNABINOID FORMULATION” at the ORIGINAL CBD EXPO MIDWEST in Denver, Colorado.
Calm Peak has also been named as the official sponsor and headliner for the upcoming Original CBD Expo Tour from August 27th to 28th in Orlando, Florida.