Health Care & Insurance  March 7, 2022

It might be goo, but it’s good goo

LYONS — A company that prides itself on its roots in the organic, natural world, its commitment to philanthropy and the B Corp sector, and to family operations expects all that to continue even though the company has just been acquired by an international company.

Sierra Sage Herbs LLC, makers of Green Goo, Good Goo and Southern Butter, was purchased just last month for $21 million by Australian cannabis and hemp company Creso Pharma Limited (ASX: CPH, OTC: COPHF, FRA: 1X8). The purchase, as announced Feb. 7, gives Creso entry to the U.S. market and gives Sierra Sage the resources to take its product line worldwide.

“We’re in it for the long term,” said Sierra CEO Jodi Scott. Scott, along with her sister Jen Scott and mother Kathy Scott founded the company in 2008 and moved it to Lyons in 2013, where it plans to stay. Jodi Scott continues at the helm and now sits on the Creso board as well. 

“Oftentimes entrepreneurs get to this stage, and they feel threatened to preserve [what they’ve built], she said. “I’ve been researching this for years, long before it was time to exit. You don’t want to wait until you consider the end, and then determine what the exit will look like,” she advised others who might find themselves in a similar situation. “Get to know the players in the industry. Hopefully you’ll have an opportunity to partner with like-minded people, because you’re not rushed into it,” she said. “Our DNA has not been compromised.”

“We’ll take all three of our brands and do all the things that we had hoped and dreamed but haven’t been able to do,” she said. “Big companies can’t be nimble with product development. Creso gives us big business tools but we bring small business agility. It’s a perfect recipe for accelerated growth.”

Sierra Sage is a classic built-from-scratch company that found the right formula to produce wholesome products that attracted the attention of major retailers around the country. It all started when Jen Scott was studying in California to be an herbalist. She and her husband moved to Idaho where she experimented with combining herbs with natural plant oils to create salves to sell at farmers markets.

Jodi, who lived in Texas and worked in health care, and Kathy, a web designer and video content creator in Colorado Springs, would join Jen to help with production and sales.

Their products, marketed as natural first-aid creams and salves, worked and started getting attention. In 2012, they received their first order from a health food store. In 2015, their products were included in gift bags at the Oscars, and they attended their first Outdoor Retailer trade show, an event now held in Denver.

“When Sierra Sage became more than a hobby, we decided we needed to be in the same place,” Jodi said. They immediately settled on Lyons, a Colorado town that had become the home of Jodi’s boyfriend and later husband. 

“We met at a campsite in Summit County,” she related. When her boyfriend moved to Lyons, she visited there and fell in love with the community. “Our heart has always been here; we wanted to raise our children here. We wanted to contribute to the business community, and we loved the entrepreneurial spirit that we found here,” she said.

So in 2013, the company established its headquarters in Lyons, just as the flood of 2013 was coming through.

“We started a small warehouse, then four warehouses, found an office and storefront. Then COVID happened and we recognized that we needed to be more strategic with our footprint.”

The CEO said that the company contracts out manufacturing and one of the manufacturers stepped up to help with fulfillment. 

The company has five or six contract manufacturers, but its lipid infusion is performed only at one, in Utah. 

Jodi said that while multiple methods can be used to draw out the medicinal qualities of herbs, Sierra Sage is partial to the use of natural, fatty oils from plants to draw out medicinal components. “It’s one of the oldest extracting tools or methods,” she said.

“All oils have a different heating element to them. We’ve identified a specific blend that will yield the highest amount of medicinal value of the plant,” she said. “The blend is important from an infusion standpoint and an absorption standpoint,” so that the salves can be easily absorbed through the skin. The oils are GMO and gluten free.

The company’s proprietary methods and combinations of herbs and oils produce salves “each with a unique blend designed for symptom relief.”

The products can be found at health food and supplement stores but also are widely distributed at Walmart, Target, Kroger, Albertsons, Safeway, Walgreens, Meyer and more. About 80% of sales are in stores and the remainder from the company’s online store.

“We were intentional in positioning ourselves not as a natural alternative. We are your best OTC [over the counter] solution on the market. Many of our consumers may not be natural consumers but they have poison ivy and are looking for a solution. And then, by the way, we’re plant based and natural. Customers who didn’t intend [to seek natural products] come over to the natural side.”

Jodi said that philanthropy is a cornerstone of the company, and not just contributions to a charity or two. The company regularly selects organizations around the world to receive cash and product donations. 

“Our mission is to spread goodness — goodness on your body and throughout the world,” she said.

“It took my team a half a second to align with organizations with our sanitizer when COVID hit. Because it was an integral part of who we are, I didn’t have to spend months to pitch a concept; the team was already there.”

While at one time the company grew its own herbs used in its salves, now it sources those products from all over the world. Hemp will be processed in the U.S., but many other herbs come from Egypt, India, Africa and South America.

“Part of our vision is that we want to have more sustainable herbs. We want to avoid herbs that might be environmentally threatened. My sister is always staying on the front line of herbal properties; she’s exploring functional mushrooms right now for deodorants.”

With about 20 employees plus the founders of the company in Lyons, the company expects to continue its growth.

Jodi said sales in 2020 were about $8 million. That dropped to $5.7 million during the COVID-impacted 2021 and she expects sales this year to reach $10 million. “We’ve proven with our retailers that we can expand with them; we’re worthy of the shelf space.”

LYONS — A company that prides itself on its roots in the organic, natural world, its commitment to philanthropy and the B Corp sector, and to family operations expects all that to continue even though the company has just been acquired by an international company.

Sierra Sage Herbs LLC, makers of Green Goo, Good Goo and Southern Butter, was purchased just last month for $21 million by Australian cannabis and hemp company Creso Pharma Limited (ASX: CPH, OTC: COPHF, FRA: 1X8). The purchase, as announced Feb. 7, gives Creso entry to the U.S. market and gives Sierra Sage the resources…

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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