Guide digital Apothem


Cleaning up and cutting through in an industry once rife with misinformation | Nov 17 2021

Our client, now friend, Amelia Baerlein co-founded her CBD brand Apothem Labs in 2018 with the aim to create transparency in a category that was then murky at best. We were brought in to help her create a truly democratic and unisex brand that inspired trust in the product and challenged the industry standards of the time. During the course of our work together we were inspired by Amelia’s commitment to knowing Apothem’s raw material and supply chain inside out.

Here she tells us about their journey so far.

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Strategy, positioning, branding and packaging by Made Thought in collaboration with Amelia and her team.

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By Amelia Baerlein

Transparency is everything – it’s no longer a USP, it’s expected as the norm. Our entire business is built on the credibility of relationships with our manufacturers and supply chain partners – this is how we reassure our customers that we care and offer a good service and aftercare.

APOTHEM was born from the need for transparency in the CBD industry. Tony (co-founder) and I were looking at CBD for a family member and couldn’t find a brand prepared to share any information about how their product was produced, where the raw ingredients were sourced, how the CBD was extracted. You name it, back in 2018, it was the wild west and we often didn’t even get a response to an email.

It took us on a hell of a journey and we ended up here, three years later, with a business we are incredibly proud of and robust partnerships that have helped us along the way. All of our formulations are creative, careful, concise and our own. We also chose every element of our packaging and make sure to spend time with the team at our fulfilment centre.

It took us a while to find the right partners when we launched, and we’ve had a few bumps in the road, but we value nurturing these relationships because without the right supply chain we can’t stand up and guarantee the safety and efficacy of our products. It’s important we can openly share our process and practices with customers, especially around the testing of our products. At APOTHEM we have certificates of analysis available on request for every single batch of finished product.

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If we don’t buy directly from some suppliers, we ensure that our partners have all of the right practices and certifications in place so we have the confidence in their values and who they do business with. However, this isn’t to say that there isn’t more to do as we are working with partners, like us, who are continually striving to do business better, with the future in mind. It’s always a collaborative process and it’s great to work alongside each other to help reach each other’s goals.

When it comes to the communication around our products, we have an amazing internal team that live and breathe our formulations, but we do also rely on our partners to help us with some scientific and technical responses if we need additional information around manufacturing
for example.

I am pleased to also say the CBD industry is being shaken up with new regulation as CBD supplements are now classed as a novel food. This is something we are thrilled about because the application is complex and requires a lot of detail around your manufacturing processes and supply chain partners. And without a valid application submission with the FSA, you are no longer allowed to retail your products. It might take a while to enforce regulation but it’s here to stay and will eventually catch-up with less reputable brands that perhaps don’t know where their product even comes from.

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Made Thought’s task was to create a beautifully simple brand designed to stand the test of time. We were inspired by the literal meaning of the word apothem – which is the measurement that runs from the centre to the edge of a shape. It is used to calculate the circumference of the inner part of a polygon. Most importantly, it gives understanding to the shape as a whole.

The universal language of shape theory is central to how we articulate, communicate and present the brand, the range and its intended benefits. Shape theory is a Gestalt theory developed by German psychologists from the 1920s. They hold that the human brain unifies the visual elements it sees to form a whole that carries significantly more meaning.

The entire Apothem brand is built on this theory. Apothem uses different shapes to infer particular qualities about the feeling we are experiencing, the product we offer and its intended benefit. Each shape represents and symbolises a different characteristic.

The central construct of the brand is all about understanding our emotion and feeling and providing benefit. The more clear and articulate we can be when we speak of our offer the more our users have a chance to listen, hear, understand and act. This means we love white space to create calm and focus; our typography uses one typeface and weight to show control and clarity of voice; our type style is structured and disciplined; and messaging is clear but always intensely human. The lack of overt decoration and the notion of stripping things back delivers a timeless and enduring statement of value.

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