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Gunhee started Populum in 2016. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Populum?
After college, I got a corporate job in Austin, TX. I graduated with a business degree, so I was pretty excited to get to work for a Fortune 500 company. I feel like that’s the main thing business school teaches you - how to network, polish up your resume, be professional, ace your interviews - essentially how to excel in the corporate world.
> It was when I stopped “asking for permission”, but rather aggressively pushed the envelope that I started making progress. I set up meetings with local banks, where I could personally sit down and explain how hemp is different than marijuana.
But once I got started, I quickly realized how much I disliked it. I didn’t like the prospect of climbing up the ladder, and I wasn’t happy playing politics or navigating the bureaucratic nightmare. I wanted to quit. I ended up working there for close to 3 years, but I set my mind pretty quickly to find a way out.
That’s around the time I first encountered hemp. While checking out a farmers market in Austin, I tried some hemp protein bars and learned about the nutritional benefits of hemp. After that experience, I just started getting more interested in this plant and realized how many benefits it had, yet how much stigma was behind it due to its association with marijuana.
Having zero association or knowledge about hemp (or cannabis), I decided to create a blog and start writing about hemp. I did my own research to write about various topics about the plant, its history, and the wider industry. At the same time, I also started reaching out to experts and professionals to seek out interviews. I’d drive to hemp conferences that were happening in nearby cities to meet people.
I've since taken down this blog as Populum grew. But I have included some screenshots of all the materials I had:
Interviews I conducted
List of Experts/Contacts I connected and attempted to connect with.
Facts about hemp I built up.
Over several months, I tried out so many different hemp products and eventually became quite knowledgeable about the industry. This experience also helped me realize opportunities and gaps.
Among all the products I tried, I found CBD oil to be the most helpful, yet the most dubious. At the time, when you surfed the web, it was easy to get overwhelmed by exaggerated claims from poorly designed brands that promoted CBD oil as some form of cure-all.
So I recognized that there was an opportunity to create a product and a brand that helped reframe how people view CBD, by offering high-quality, trustworthy hemp products with stellar customer service.