Retail giant American Eagle Outfitters recently announced that its customers will soon be able to pick up CBD products in its brick and mortar locations, as well as on their online store. A range of skin care products enhanced with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabis derivative, will be supplied by Green Growth Brands — an Ohio-based company that’s recently made waves in the world of cannabis beauty.
Green Growth Brands is one of the more well-regarded CBD brands in America, and they’re also one of the fastest-growing: As reported by CNBC, the company is in the midst of a massive expansion of around 70 stores across malls around America. With these new locations, their total number of stores will hit 280 by the end of 2019.
American Eagle Outfitters will stock the brand’s CBD skin care products in 500 of their 800 stores, beginning in October. Some states still ban CBD products, so the retailer will need to remain within the confines of the law of each state in which they have a location, which explains the (somewhat) limited rollout.
The Green Growth Brands products featured in these stores will be made exclusively for American Eagle Outfitters, though neither company has given a full breakdown of the product list. Peter Horvath, CEO of Green Growth Brands, described it in a recent statement as “a really special line of products,” — but they’re not giving away anything more than that just yet.
As ambitious as the move may be, American Eagle Outfitters is far from the first retail brand to add CBD products to their shelves. Luxury institutions Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue have already made similar moves, with the latter creating an entire “CBD Beauty Corner” run by Joel Warren of The Salon Project. The Chillery has brought high-end CBD skin care to European markets, and cosmetics company Sephora recently began selling both exclusive and fan-favorite CBD products to their millions of loyal customers.
But perhaps most relevant to American Eagle Outfitters is the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch, their biggest retail rival, have also beaten them to the punch with their own range of CBD beauty products which they began to roll out in May of this year. Interestingly, they too are selling products supplied by Green Growth Brands. Other retailers targeting American Eagle Outfitter’s core demographic of trendy young consumers, such as Urban Outfitters, have also jumped on the CBD bandwagon already.
As a result, the CBD beauty market is now densely saturated — but there could be trouble on the horizon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally taking CBD seriously, with a recent public hearing which sought to establish whether or not brands were being transparent enough with their customers about the CBD they use in products, and if enough information was available to consumers regarding dosage recommendations and possible long term side effects of using the oil.
“As more cannabis products come to the market (whether lawfully or otherwise), the FDA’s role is becoming more practically relevant to many affected stakeholders,” according to a recent report from the administration.
“The FDA’s top priority is always our mission of protecting and promoting public health,” it added. “The Agency is committed to science-based decision making when it comes to CBD, while also taking steps to consider if there are appropriate regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of CBD.”
But this challenge presents an opportunity for American Eagle Outfitters to set themselves apart. By sharing honest, concise product information with their customers and emphasising scientific knowledge of CBD and responsible dosage guidelines over confusing marketing lingo and sensationalist claims, they could establish themselves as an ethical player in the CBD beauty game and earn the trust of customers, many of whom are growing suspicious of CBD brands.
It’s too early to tell if this will be the case, but if American Eagle Outfitters wants to stand out from the crowd, it’s a good place to start.