An Alert Bay entrepreneur is crowdfunding as part of a plan to grow his business and stimulate employment in the area.
David Faren produces BC Bud Rub, a natural salve with a hemp seed oil base, almond oil, essential oils and beeswax. Some use it for cold sores, sore muscles and inflammation.
Faren’s goal is to upgrade his production facility so that he can become licensed by Health Canada and receive a Natural Product Number.
Faren began an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in mid-July that aims to raise $25,000 by Aug 20. At press time he had reached $100.
Health Canada regulates the licensing and sale of natural health products. All natural health products need to have a product licence, and the sites where the products are made also need to have licences. To acquire a licence, the manufacturer applies to Health Canada and gives information about the medicinal ingredients, source, dose, potency and recommended use of the product.
If Health Canada approves the natural health product, a licence and a Natural Product Number are issued.
Until BC Bud Rub receives a product number, Faren is not legally allowed to make claims about what the product can do. At the moment, Faren relies on customer testimonials instead of stating claims.
One mandatory step towards obtaining a NPN is for Faren to make changes to the facility he produces BC Bud Rub in.
This includes installing additional sinks, buying a hand-cranked labeller, a date and batch stamper, a legal-for-trade scale and stainless tables and metal shelves.
Faren says the upgraded production room is the goal, but he hopes to make improvements to his research and development room which could be used for teaching and facilitating in a number of areas related to herbal medicine compounding and product development.
Faren hopes to employ local people if the business grows, something he feels would be a big benefit for the island community that he says struggles with unemployment and underemployment.
He says that growth could create several positions doing sales, bottling and labelling.
He also is enthusiastic about using products created locally, and feels it would be ideal to source beeswax and the essential oils within the area.
Faren says that because of the name, there can be misconceptions about the legality of the product, but he says that today BC Bud Rub has a legal level of cannabinoids and could not affect mental function, even if a very large quantity of it were applied.
Crowdfunding is a way that individuals, business and organizations can use online platforms to source funding for projects.
There are different platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Onevest that help those looking for funding to connect to many people, especially if their page goes viral. Many crowdfunding ventures offer investors different rewards based on how much money they contribute.