At KindPeoples, our staff and our customers alike are huge fans of Wyld Gummies. We named the Pear CBG Wyld Gummies one of our best THC gummies of 2023, and just because the year came to an end, you should know we aren’t done talking about those and all our other favorite flavors of Wyld gummies. To keep the celebration rolling, we caught up for a Q&A with Rene Kaza, one of the Co-Founders of Wyld, the THC gummies brand that has captured hearts across the nation, especially right here at KindPeoples Santa Cruz.
Q: Do you want to start by just introducing yourself?
A: My name is Rene Kaza. I’m one of the Co-founders of Wyld Edibles, which started out in Oregon in 2015 and the beginning of 2016.
Q: Can you tell me how Wyld gummies originated?
A: We started Wyld with three college friends—myself, Aaron Morris, who’s the CEO, and then Chris Joseph, our CMO. Out of college I was a forest firefighter, it was a terrible economy, and I was just trying to figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, Chris and Aaron launched a liquor company called Wild Roots Vodka. The concept was 3 pounds of berries in every bottle of vodka, and it was the first colored vodka on the market. If you Google Wild Roots Vodka, you’ll see it has very similar botanical fruit branding as Wyld.
So, Aaron cut his teeth in business doing that operation with Chris and decided when the cannabis scene opened up in Oregon that he wanted to start his own company. Chris let him use some of the IP from Wild Roots and started up Wyld. They’re very much sister companies, but in the beginning stages of our business, we weren’t really affiliating them just because of the stigma around cannabis and not wanting to kind of create any consternation for the vodka brand.
Q: When you first started making Wyld gummies, what was your vision compared to where you’ve positioned yourselves today?
A: We were trying to destigmatize edibles, right? I mean, everybody’s had the bad edible experience in the past. They’ve eaten a brownie and it’s gotten them way too high, so it was really big for us to focus on making a meticulously crafted, dosed edible that also tasted really good.
My first-time having edibles, I had sprayed on distillate on a Swedish fish in Colorado and it was just a really terrible experience, to the point where you’re thinking, why not just eat a regular piece of candy and then get a pre roll or something if it’s not going to taste good.
You know, Oregon is a very agricultural state, so we got a lot of the fruits that we’re using in our products right in our own backyard. It made sense for us to have that farm-to-table vibe using real fruit ingredients in our products to create what you now know and love as Wyld.
But when we first started, it was a Reddit recipe that Aaron had found that we were using to make the gummies and they were truly nothing like the Wyld gummies you taste today. We were starching the gummies. We were hand piping them, putting them into the molds, producing them into the packaging, then driving them over 3 hours to Portland to sell the products, and just trying to build the business. We were going through countless renditions trying to create the quality edibles that we now produce.
Q: Can you tell me about the production of Wyld and how you source and select ingredients?
A: For the products itself, we take meticulous, painstaking care when producing these gummies and manufacturing them. We use pharmaceutical grade mixers to ensure the homogeneity and consistency of the product. Real fruit, for that flavor profile. Our product development team has continued re-tweaking things over the years to make sure that the textures are on point, the flavor profiles are there, that you’re not getting that after taste.
When you go into new states, there’s new variables to think about, like the altitude changing, so you have to change some of the components of the way that you’re producing the product to get that same consistency. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re continuing to see success nationwide. The replicability of the product itself across states is very, very similar to the point where I don’t think you’d be able to tell the difference if you bought our Wyld gummies in a different state.
I think that, for us, is the number one thing, because ultimately with edibles, people want consistency. They want to know what they’re going to get from that experience, right? Those are some of the things I think differentiate us and have helped us succeed to this point.
Q: What has allowed Wyld gummies to grow into the top THC gummies brand in the nation?
A: To be honest, it starts with our people. You can’t have a great product, a great company, without the people backing it. Over the course of the years, we’ve grown our team with some fabulous individuals that have helped us get to where we’re at today. Their know how, their ability, their veracity just to consume information and knowledge, and not be afraid to fail forward, and continue growing from those mistakes is one of the reasons where we’re at.
Q: What’s so interesting about the Wyld gummies phenomenon is that you have built such success with quite limited flavor rotations compared to many other brands in the THC gummies space. How do you determine when and what new products to launch?
A: There’s no specific process. We go through a lot of R&D with different flavor profiles and play around with stuff in our lab with the team and get a lot of folks on the team to try different flavors. Often times, we kind of know when we’ve got a great product on our hands because you can see the excitement internally with the staff like, this tastes really good, or the effects really good, and we know we should follow up on those products and make the product happen.
So sometimes it can be starting with a cannabinoid that we want to utilize. Sometimes it can be the flavor profile. Sometimes we’re trying to marry those up and make it make sense. Those are some of the things that go into our thought process when producing new products.
Q: Out of all the different flavors and cannabinoid ratios of Wyld gummies, do you have a personal favorite?
A: I definitely enjoy and can get behind all of our products. If you don’t like what you’re producing, it’s going to be very hard to sell it, and then get the retailers and the customers at large to want to get behind it as well. But the Pear 1:1 CBG is my personal favorite. I just don’t think there’s many pear-flavored products on the market, and if there are, I don’t think they are as true to the fruit as ours is. I really enjoy the uniqueness of that flavor profile as well as the effect. It’s very euphoric. I just think it’s all around a great product, the texture, the flavor. Yeah, that’s for sure number one for me.
Q: Can you tell me more about the CBG infusion in the Pear Wyld gummies?
A: We call the Pear Wyld gummies a bubble bath for your brain. You get this euphoric, light feeling from it, a very anti-anxiety feeling. Sometimes you can use cannabis and it can create anxiety if you eat too much of an edible or something. Some of those anti-anxiety effects that are associated with CBG are why I enjoy that product. Typically, I’m using cannabis to take the edge off at the end of the day, or enjoy a hike, or hanging out with friends on the weekend. That’s the type of experience that I’m generally looking for.
But you know, if I need some sleep, we’ve got the 2 to 1 CBN Elderberry Wyld gummies. There’s a lot of different products depending on what you’re looking for, and that’s what I love about what we do. Regardless of the experience that you need or desire, we’ve got something for you.
If you want to read the rest of our interview with Rene Kaza, co-founder of Wyld gummies, Highway Cannabis, our sister-store, has the rest of the story.
Shop all the delicious flavors of Wyld gummies at KindPeoples Soquel and KindPeoples Ocean. If you’re in Southern California, be sure to check out our sister-store, Highway Cannabis in Marina Del Rey.