Episode 195
May 7, 2024

Brooklyn, Brews, and Botanical Breakthroughs

with Hudson Davis-Ross, Co-Founder and CEO of Plant People

About this episode

Today, Hudson Davis-Ross joins the show to share about Co-Founding a mission-driven company that truly helps people with their health needs. From being diagnosed with ADHD in middle school to undergoing spinal surgery, Hudson has faced his fair share of health challenges. Tune in to learn all about his captivating entrepreneurial journey, from growing up in Brooklyn, New York, to founding his first company, RISE, to ultimately becoming the co-founder of Plant People – whose plant-based products offer natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Along the way, we explore how he navigated major setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and gain insights into his refreshing perspective on building purpose-driven businesses!

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:


[01:54] What it was like growing up in New York, at the epicenter of so many industries, within a household dominated by women.

[06:43] Hudson’s ADHD diagnosis in middle school, the many different interests he pursued, and the benefits and drawbacks of having ADHD when you’re an entrepreneur.

[10:23] His experience working at Gilt Groupe from its early stages as a small startup to having over two thousand employees.

[14:13] Why he decided to leave Gilt Groupe and take on a role at Aloha as part of the founding team, and his top takeaways from the experience.

[18:25] What made Hudson shift to co-founding his first company, RISE Brewing Company, key lessons he learned, and how he met his partners.

[25:32] Fundraising for RISE, and how it led to him starting his branding and business strategy firm, CROSBY.

[27:29] The drastic spinal surgery that Hudson had to get, how it led to the founding of Plant People, and what it was like entering into the CBD and cannabis space.

[30:22] How they stepped up their business, educated consumers, and the innovations they were doing with regards to ingredients and formulations.

[32:42] Their decision to scale up, why they decided not to take on more funding, the dramatic impact that COVID-19 had on their revenue, and how they recovered.

[35:27] Hudson’s insights on partnering with retailers and distributors, advice for aspiring and up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and what’s next for Plant People.


To Find Out More:


Hudson Davis-Ross on Linkedin

Plant People

RISE Brewing Company



Expo West

Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Stairway to CEO

Stairway to CEO on Instagram




“I always hope to, at some point in my life, write a book on having ADHD and being an entrepreneur, because I think there's a lot of pluses and minuses – mostly pluses.” [0:07:19]


“If you have [a] really big vision, and momentum with other investors, people will invest. It really is a hype game. And so I learned a lot around fundraising [at Aloha].” [0:17:12]


“[To be] the Apple of anything – takes decades. You can't just do that [in a] matter of a year or two. But that's what we pitched [to] a lot of the investors. And so I think there was a bit of a disconnect there.” [0:18:43]


“The main reason I started this business, [Plant People] is I had spinal surgery, [I had to] learn how to walk again.” [0:27:31]


“My now co-founder also had a spinal surgery and was exploring plant-based modalities himself. And so we started together.” [0:28:01]


“I had more passion for making an impact in people's lives.” [0:28:12]


“We had so much pushback in the beginning because people didn't understand CBD. They thought it was weed. They thought it was THC, they were like, ‘Will I get high from this?’ That was the biggest education point.” [0:30:59]


“Tap into what customers want [and] are already [buying], [but do] it better.” [0:36:09]


“In general, you just got to hustle. You have to go with momentum, you have to have a lot of boutiques [and] a lot of independents. And when you have that momentum, then you can get the attention of distributors.” [0:36:27]


“The secret sauce is to be an entrepreneur – is to use the resources you don't have, to achieve what you believe in.” [0:37:56]


“You can hire sales managers who have been in sales, and they have rolodexes. And that does help. But I think no one sells better than the founder or the CEO.” [0:39:39]


“One of the things that is key to success is showing your team, or showing your initial hires, that you're all in.” [0:41:06]


“If you're doing it, the team can do it. And if you're passionate about it, the team gets passionate about it, they see the value.” [0:43:09]

Read the transcript

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