By María Roig-Gironella

Uncovering CBD with Vybes founder Jonathan Eppers

Corporate | 2 min read


CBD is making its way across industries and press headlines. In case you are not familiar with the term (it seems the US craze hasn't made it to Europe just yet), CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound found in the cannabis plant. It has a soothing effect on the brain without the high. CBD has quickly become a hot ingredient in the US, driving innovation in cosmetics, food + beverages, retail et al.

Why it matters: the booming of the CBD market (cheat sheet below) is one of the most refreshing things to happen to branding in recent years. With a lineup of young players eager to consolidate their position, a lot of them are finding value in brand. We chatted about it with Jonathan Eppers, CEO & Founder of LA-Based Vybes. Read the highlights below.


There’s a reason for it to be a beverage.

When Jonathan tried CBD for the first time, it was mostly consumed as drops. He created Vybes because he recognized the unique potential between this very special ingredient and the beverage industry. Firstly, people consume beverages on a daily basis. Furthermore, as much as there’s a growing trend towards functional and good-for-you beverages, the offering consists mostly of kombucha and energy drinks. By offering CBD as an RTD beverage, he could leverage existing demand while facilitating adoption for a somewhat stigmatized ingredient.

Mom and Pops > DTC?

For Eppers, a DTC model was never an option. Besides the cost of shipping a glass bottle, he understood a simple truth: consumers buy a ready to drink beverage when they are feeling thirsty. Hence, he needed to make Vybes accessible IRL. Beverages is a saturated category with well-established players, so introducing an $8 option could be a challenge. His approach: getting Vybes on the shelf of small retailers (think mom & pops, cafes, coffee shops and natural food stores) by giving them a free case. As sales took off, he was able to build his own case to sell in larger retailers.

The power in a price

An $8 beverage may seem overpriced, however, it gave Vybes two key advantages: consumers perceived the beverage as natural and good for them, and retailers were attracted by the high margins.

CBD + Los Angeles + Lifestyle

Vybes ditches traditional beverage and CBD codes to create a visual universe of its own. The team reached this result by exploring the intersection of three design principles:

1. Appealing for all creators

Eppers wanted to create a lifestyle brand around creators and makers. His ethos is simple and effective: “I wanted Vybes to almost look like a fashion accessory in the hands of the consumer, so someone who is a maker, a creator, a trend setter… wants to be seen with Vybes because of the way the packaging looks.”

2. Imprinted with refreshed CBD cues

Instead of following the traditional greeny, leafy aesthetics, Eppers had the vision to truly bring the essence of CBD to life. His team went for a minimal, understated brand that conveys the calming effects this ingredient has on your brain.

3. Rooted in California

Eppers wanted to root the brand in California because of its association with health and wellness. Los Angeles is also home to Vybes, so it was a natural part of the brand story. This origin imprint is especially visible in the choice of colors. Labels take inspiration from the subdued washed out pastels of southern California. In the words of Eppers himself, “The Burning Mandarin orange has a very 6 o’clock glow to it, kind of when like the sun is setting in the summer and you have this kind of beautiful golden glow in the sky… And the Strawberry Lavender red came from a house in the Venice canals that’s painted almost that color.”

Nice work. The result is a beautifully crafted family of glass bottles that instantly transports the user to a relaxed sunset on the Westside. Ocean breeze and all.

What’s next for Vybes and CBD?

According to Eppers, there’s a key trend affecting CPGs: health and wellness. Today there’s a lot of options for consumers on the shelf, but not a lot of them address their health needs- especially when it comes to stress and anxiety. CBD does, and it also checks the boxes of science and advocacy. Therefore, demand is expected to grow. This shift will be supported by retailers— as larger players are seeing the opportunity in adding CBD products to their offerings, they are working on getting FDA authorizations to sell them.

Internationally, CBD is still an unknown ingredient in markets such as Europe, but experts have an eye on what’s going on in the US. When the legal framework settles down, it’s a safe bet that a lot of them will try to bring consolidated brands into the market.



Business Wire —
CB Insights — Cannabis for Everything
BevNet —

Images courtesy of Vybes

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