Interview: What is D-ODR? The odour-neutralizing spray
I sat with one of the founders and CEOs of D-ODR to discuss his D-ODR journey.
Having had a close relationship with the brains behind D-ODR, I wanted to share his story, and an in-person interview was what I felt was most authentic.
D-ODR's founders have had a long history within this industry in other business ventures, including the highly sought-after Kenex Scales. I realised I had never really probed much into what landed him in this industry. I knew he didn't have much personal relationship with the plant, so I was curious because he managed to execute products to the highest level for people who smoked. For example, with D-ODR, if I didn't know anything about the inventors, I would've assumed smokers created the product. The level of thought behind every step, fragrance and function of the mist is exceptional.
I wanted to know more about how he landed in the industry, his evolution, and his latest business venture, D-ODR.
How did you initially get into this industry?
I got in by accident if I'm being honest.
I moved over here from Spain in 2005. The idea was to bring over the family business and find wholesalers to grow our company, selling cash and carrying the pound store equivalent. That didn't work out, but I found one wholesaler on Middlesex Street who showed me a pocket scale and told me that this was a jewellery scale. He understood that I had excellent contacts in China and asked if I could source them.
That's where it all started.
I got the sample from him, sent it to China and about three weeks later, I quoted him at £4.75 wholesale and just like that, he said done, I'll take 3000. I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew but a great starting point. So then, I supplied him with 3000 because I was making some money on it.
To clarify, are we talking about Kenex scales?
That's right. I am the Founder of Kenex Scales.
With what I made on that one deal, I also decided to bring in an extra 1000 units because this man told me it was a jewellery scale. So, I thought, hey, I have found a new business. I am going to go to all the jewellers and sell them scales. So, I did precisely that. I went to the jewellery quarter, Hatton Garden because I have many connections in the jewellery industry.
Everyone said, "wow, you've got a fantastic price, but we'll take one". Nothing was adding up for me. It didn't make sense; these guys wanted one, and the other guy bought 3000. So, cut a long story short and fast forward a few months; this guy bought 3000, and I think another 3000 after that.
I was visiting Camden, and I saw a shop with my scale in it, a Kenex scale. My condition with the '3000 scale guy' was that I wanted to brand it myself. So, I went into the shop and said, "that is my scale", to which he disagreed. He was adamant it was his, but I just tried to get some information out of him about where I could find more wholesalers like the one he just purchased the scale. He told me I needed to start looking at Cannabis Trade Events, which for me…
It must've blown your mind.
Yeah absolutely! I thought that was an oxymoron, too, right?! Cannabis, Trade and Event. It makes everything illegal, legal, and public. So, it made no sense to me, and I questioned him about it.
He said, "Well, do you smoke?"
And, as you know, I don't smoke; it's been many years since I quit. I only smoked as a teenager.
He said, "if you don't smoke, you don't know."
That made sense to me, but I was like, where are these trade events held? He said the biggest ones are in Spain. So I questioned him again because, as I said before, I grew up in Spain, and this seemed impossible. I have spent 20 years in Spain. And he just said the same thing to me.
"If you don't smoke, you don't know."
I went back home and googled it. We didn't have smartphones back then and discovered that cannabis trade events exist. The next one was in Madrid, where I exhibited. That was the end of 2005, and I sold my entire lot of 1000 scales in one weekend.
Finally, you made your way to this community, where you're now playing an essential part and have done for years. But, equally, if most people were new to an industry, they would go to the trade show as a visitor, but you thought, no, I am going all in.
In all honesty, it felt easy for me. I spoke the language. Madrid is my home town, so I thought, what do I have to lose? It is a business at the end of the day, and if I could do it and it does all add up the way this gentleman told, then great, and it did. That's what landed me here. That's my story.
I love what the guy said: "if you don't smoke, you don't know". It highlights that we are a community and the shows and events are on a need-to-know basis. But they are welcoming and open to people who want to enter our world and are intrigued by it.
It's a bit like everything in life. Most people don't go around advertising everything they do, right? You can enjoy your alcohol as I do, but I don't go around promoting it to people. It's not the way conversations start naturally. It's a need-to-know basis. It's just worked out for me, that's how I entered the industry, and that was with scales. Once there, I started to understand how this community worked, and I began making more products, which led me to the creation of D-ODR.
So, let's focus on D-ODR, the product we are all excited to hear about and use! What made you think I want to home in on this one product specifically for our industry?
I came into this industry as an outsider and, more specifically, a non-smoker, as I told you. Now, I think cannabis is great. However, it just doesn't suit me. Despite this, I believe in freedom of choice and know that cannabis, when grown correctly, actually has health benefits. Sure, this depends on chosen consumption, but the consensus for those who "know" is that it is more beneficial than detrimental.
Let's compare this to alcohol, which I have chosen as my 'wind-down' aid. I can drink to my heart's content all day long. To the point where I am aggressive even, and there is no stigma or persecution for this. Why? Because it is smell free and legal. Cannabis is better than alcohol for human health but is persecuted and stigmatised by the majority due to its smell.
When we speak about persecution, we must consider cannabis prohibition and racially motivated propaganda like the 'Reefer Madness', inequalities and abuse of power still prevalent today. I think the smell is almost a tip-off rather than the primary reason because when someone is drinking heavily, you can smell it on them. It's legal for different reasons, including monetary gain, power and control.
The smell is exactly that, a tip-off. It makes non-smokers complain or report this behaviour, creating a problem for the cannabis smoker. So I wanted to find a way to make smoking more acceptable and reduce the stigma behind it, and I think we can achieve this by eliminating the odour.
Now, if someone wants to enjoy and recreationally have a smoke at home or self-medicate, there's no reason for the neighbours to know about D-ODR.
D-ODR gives that option to maintain privacy and allows you to smoke peacefully without leaving that trail behind.
Yeah, I think people need to mind their business a little, so what does D-ODR do? It helps you to that end. It's almost a way of saying you are a smoker without having to advertise it. The idea was to find a one-stop solution that worked.
Yes, there are loads of other products on the market, like incense sticks. There are different sprays as well. You name it, it has been done, but we just wanted to find something special.
That leads me to my next question: What makes D-ODR stand out from other scent sprays?
Well, there are a few things. First, because of our chosen ingredients and carriers, we have a much longer-lasting aroma. Our carriers are excellent ingredients that enable a powerful yet gradual spread of smells and ensure the neutralising agent is released effectively. We use a premium blend of essential oils.
We are also terpene based. D-ODR being terpene-based means that we are a derivative of the plant world and specifically target cannabis odours. I think that's the biggest USP we have. We can specialise in eliminating this one particular odour. Our terpenes and blends of essential oils can de-odourise canna smells with 99.9% efficiency.
Additionally, our aromas are longer lasting than even the best and most reputable brands in the air freshening industry. Apart from that, what else makes us different? Well, you can use D-ODR on clothes.
Finally, our products are notified in the poison centres of the respective countries that sell D-ODR, which only applies to Europe.
That is music to my ears because I honestly stink after going to coffee shops or social events abroad. All of my clothes need to air out when I get home, so from now on, I will be spraying D-ODR on my clothes.
Honestly, it's fantastic.
We want to be the one-stop shop for cannabis odours or the removal of cannabis odours, and that's why D-ODR was born.
You can spray it in your vehicle, home, or clothes. It's another one of those elements where we can keep our privacy. Privacy is our mission when it comes to the consumer. There are so many youngsters today who have issues explaining cannabis consumption to their parents. The communication breaks down very quickly. I don't think those youngsters are doing anything wrong. That's just a particular lifestyle choice. The problem is they are advertising it when they come back home. So, if they have D-ODR and spray it on their clothes, we stick to our motto that no one needs to know.
Yeah, it is the perfect tool if you don't want people to know, which many people don't or may not feel as comfortable with, especially in the UK. D-ODR creates an option.
It's excellent if you want to conceal the smell in public, but I also think it's perfect for the home. I'm not a fan of the stale smoke smell at all. Honestly, I don't think anyone is, particularly the next day. This conversation makes me think, D-ODR should be compulsory in a uni house starter pack. D-ODR prevents that smell and freshens up the place with gorgeous scents.
You mentioned terpenes earlier. What made you want to focus on terpenes as a base for your scents?
We are an essential oil-based fragrance, and we are also terpene based. Now, these two things are not contradictory or mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they work hand in hand together.
I think it's vital to understand what terpenes are. Terpenes are organic compounds which are responsible for the aromas that you smell. There are about 30,000 different terpenes known to humankind. Now, you could walk in a field of orchids, and you will smell it. That is a result of a mixture of terpenes from the orchard plant and maybe some other surrounding plants that create this unique aroma which signals to your brain and makes you understand that it's an orchid. It's the same for every single plant that gives off a scent.
So, going back to your question of why we are terpene-based, being terpene-based means we are ensuring we use plant-based materials to tackle another plant-based hindrance. So, the best way we can understand this is terpene aroma therapy. I am using particular terpenes from a whole mixture of plants and fighting those terpenes that the cannabis plant produces. So it's terpene against terpene, nature against nature.
So, I know your product doesn't use terpenes from actual plants. There's science and technology behind it. Why did you make that decision, and how does that work?
That's a great question. We are inspired by nature but refined by science. Now, nature gives us all we need but sometimes not enough of it and sometimes, not the best.
What do I mean by this?
Because we are terpene-based and essential oil based, what we've done is we have taken a look at the physical and chemical properties of the plants we take inspiration from to create our blend. Now, going back to nature, if I wanted to take an essential oil directly from a plant, the only way I could do that is to find the best possible harvest. Then, chop it all down, extract the oils from there and then transport them back to a mixing laboratory, and that's how extracting works.
We've heard of cannabis extractions; they work in a very similar fashion. You take a whole bunch of flowers, compress them, and then extract them. Everything in nature is based on what is given by mother earth itself. I believe when you are looking at creating essential oils and using terpenes from those if you are plant-dependent, you can only get the best that plant can offer in the best climate where it can grow.
It would make no sense for us to depend on the weather and other external factors to create perfumes.
So, what is it that we did?
We've understood the chemical and physical properties of the plants we've taken inspiration from and the ones we know that work against these odours we are trying to eliminate. So, we can zoom in on their genetic structure and look at the best parts of their molecular structure. But, then, we want to stop all of these other side properties of this terpene because it doesn't eliminate odours.
So, when we recreate something scientifically, we can guarantee stability and the best possible ingredients. In addition, we can get as much of it as we want for our blend without a massive carbon footprint. So, we are no longer taking a flower from different parts of the world, breaking it down and transporting it to our laboratories. Everything happens in-house.
So, for D-ODR, reliability is and has to be essential.
Also, as a side note, I read this article discussing the major shift in consumerism after the industrial revolution and its negative impact on the environment. Then the reading also talks about natural plants we use for fibres, and they said that instead of using Mother Nature positively, we show a complete lack of respect towards our planet, which almost all of us are guilty of.
As humans, we are generally unsustainable. Although today we are trying to change our ways and become sustainable for our planet's future, the article bodes whether we have created too much damage that can't be slowed down or rectified. I brought that up because I love how you said you are trying to do the opposite of this from the get-go.
You use the word " inspiration " when talking about plants because it's not your direct source. You're not trying to use them just for our benefit but as a starting point for your concept and then recreating what you need.
That's a great point, and like you correctly say, I think all products these days need to be as sustainable as possible because we are now more alert to climate change and the adverse effects humans have on the planet.
We consume way more quickly than we produce.
If we wanted to go down the natural organic route of taking flowers for our products, between all the manufacturers of essential oils globally, you would have no plants. To me, that's pointless, so we create our essential oils and terpenes scientifically, hurt no one and get the same benefit at a fraction of the price.
What you were saying about the reliability aspect is crucial. There's a massive difference between our seed bank suppliers in taking the time to perfect their strains, especially since the customers understand the seed game. With a large sum of our smoking accessories or product like D-ODR, that's not an option. Going through the scientific route makes sense.
Exactly. Had D-ODR decided to use completely natural plants, and we are harvest and climate-dependent, our customers might not get the precise effectivity you need. That could land you in either A) trouble or B) you advertising to the wrong person that you are a cannabis consumer because the product isn't working.
I think people should be allowed to consume cannabis with pride, but the world still stigmatises them. You don't want to be in a situation where your product doesn't work. Stability is everything.
Privacy is key, and we must provide that with every single bottle.
Look, if someone's buying D-ODR, they are purchasing the product because they don't want the lingering smell, so it does need to work because the customer is choosing to buy your product. So there has to be consistency.
I wanted to talk about the business side of D-ODR as well. So, I assume you have a large team because of how refined and well-executed your products are, or I could be completely wrong. So my question is, what is it like working with the D-ODR team and who's the team? Talk to me about working with the scientists to gain more insight into the D-ODR company.
It's a common misconception. D-ODR is mainly just two people. I am the Founder, and the other person is the Co-Founder, who is a partner in the business. He and I make up the entire business in its core structure. We aren't scientists, nor are we chemically trained, so obviously, we need to contract manufacturers.
The research and development are done based on our wish list. This is a bit like building a house. If you had a home extension that you wanted to do, you are going to sit there and say, I want it to be this big with these tiles, and I want my staircase to be like this etc. We wanted an air freshener and a deodoriser specific to the canna industry whilst still having the option of smelling good for anyone. Anyone can buy D-ODR. You don't have to be a cannabis user because it still smells beautiful. So that was our wish list.
We chose to team up with a laboratory, this laboratory is 100 years old, and they do have a team. It's incredible; they've got hundreds of people working, and I consider them an extension of D-ODR.
Can I say our team comprises 100ish people plus two? Yeah… probably.
But there are more people behind the scenes, so we've recently instructed a marketing agency who is helping us in letting the world know what D-ODR is about, helping us reach the audience that we need to reach, and that is cannabis consumers and the general public. They are in the industry, Milk and Amber, they are fantastic. They are doing a phenomenal job in how we should look at marketing in the cannabis space. So, that's pretty much the entire team.
If I dream up an idea, I will reach out to the laboratory, which is what I've done this week. I am flying out on Monday to sit down with the laboratory because there's something in the pipeline. So that's how the process starts, but I like keeping the rest to myself.
That's exciting; it leaves us all wanting more that way. So, you've spoken passionately about terpenes in-depth, and you know what you are talking about, especially since you have a product that works incredibly well.
What is the most interesting aspect you have learnt about terpenes during the scientific research stage?
The truth is that when you go into something without knowing anything, you want to learn everything. For me, we pivoted towards the terpene-rich and essential oil-rich route because terpenes are affected by plant health and nourishment. This was the entire reason we used our scientific approach. I was entirely illusive to the fact that the actual terpene itself is affected by plant health.
That was the standout thing I have taken away from terpenes. There are others, but maybe another day over coffee.
So, today was the first time I read about and even heard of the word carrier. I am not the most knowledgeable on fragrances; I just use the smell I'm most attracted to, like most people. So what is a carrier, and why are they so necessary for fragrance sprays?
The carrier is my talk for the molecules responsible for transporting perfumes and our terpenes. Now, D-ODR contains essential oils and parfums. Traditionally many air freshener companies will use very cheap ethanols and alcohols. It is probably one of the best options to come out with something reasonably economic. You must use some dissolvent to carry your product.
When it comes to our D-ODR fine mist sprays, we even have alcohol content. But the alcohols and ethanols we use are very new and very rare. And by this, I mean we have found a mixture that lingers in the air for longer. We use our carriers for travel, dispersion and duration. That gives D-ODR something over the edge compared to everyone else. I want to try and explain this in an analogy.
Let's say you want to buy a car and go from A to B. You could buy any vehicle on the face of this earth. You could buy a petrol engine or a diesel engine. Now, if you wanted your journey to be longer, you would probably look at a diesel engine over a petrol engine. Now there's a price difference over there. You've decided on the car based on what you want the outcome to be.
You could also get from A to B in a broken-down Cleo, or you can go for a Lambo. We wanted to last as long as a diesel engine, be embodied in a petrol Lambo-bodied car and deliver results like formula one teams do day in and day out. The carrier is key to doing that. That's travel dispersion and duration. That's what makes us different as well.
I love that analogy because you are talking to a 24-year-old who still cannot drive. But I understood, so that's a good thing. Don't bring that up to my Dad and boss; I am still working on the driving.
So, you have Strawberry Sensation or Clean and Crisp, my favourite. You also have Aromatic Apple and finally Lasting Lavender. I know it's like asking who your favourite child is. I think every parent low-key knows, but which fragrance is your favourite if you had to choose?
That's a cheeky question.
I know. I thought I'd amp it up a bit.
You know what? I will give you the political answer and the answer you are probably after as well. The truth is each aroma does something different for me. I use Apple when I want to fragrance a room subtly.
Clean and Crisp, which are in my top two, I use to eliminate odours quickly. I love cooking and doing my Indian curries; I will also make fish. That kitchen can smell. So clean and crisp for me does the trick every day.
I use lavender before I go to bed, and that's because it calms me down. I spray it downstairs in the living room, and the smell travels upstairs to my bedroom, giving me that peaceful ora. The Strawberry sensation makes me happy.
It's that fruity, juicy smell, isn't it?
Yeah, and it's extraordinary for me. It's just a mood changer, I will spray it, and I suddenly feel like I'm in summer. I suddenly feel like my mood is lighter. I feel better about things. So I like all of them. They're all my favourites for the task at hand.
That's how a parent would have answered my question. I like this kid because they're funny, I like this one because they're smart …
True! I have to look at them for what they are each designed to do. Now it's not true that lasting lavender was designed to help me sleep or feel better. It's a by-product of what we have created.
Still, though, answering what you wanted to know, my favourite is probably Strawberry Sensation.
I could tell by how you spoke about the fragrance, and your eyes lit up. So now we are all even more excited about D-ODR; what do you see for D-ODR in the future? Don't reveal what you want to keep private, of course.
So, I would say watch this space, but a slight hint we are looking at re-diffusers and ultra-sonic diffusers. Two or three products will probably come out sooner, which we can't discuss right now, but the idea is to become a household name in the deodorising market. That's the idea.
Amazing, if we are talking about what I have seen, then everyone is in for an absolute treat. I have a few quick questions to wrap up. I want to end on your slogan because I think it's a super-intelligent message and a sweet spot to end our interview. So, first, what is the most important lesson you have learnt on this D-ODR journey so far?
Wow, too many lessons. It's an evolving journey. I think one of the key takeaways is to choose the right companies who will join you on the venture. That is key. It comes from a vendor point of view and a distribution point of you. I think for the first time in business, I showed transparency and vulnerability to the people I was working with, which manifested in a way that helped me immensely and made this reality. The biggest lesson was being myself and choosing the correct people to work alongside.
I love that you said the word vulnerability because I recently went to this live podcast by Dr Chatterjee called Feel Better, Live More with an incredible guess called Elizabeth Day, who wrote a book called How to Fail. Anyway, they highlighted the beauty in vulnerability, and I feel like in business, sometimes people remove that side giving a more formal approach and unhuman, unemotional persona. Whereas this industry, in my opinion, is often charged with emotion, lifelong friendships, relationships, and loyalty. For the most part, we are one big dysfunctional family.
So the fact that you showed that vulnerable side is huge because trust is huge. It's everything. When people open up and expose that vulnerable side, I feel you can trust that little more.
That makes complete sense and is what I was trying to hit on. The key is transparency, which leaves you exposed. So if you have been transparent, you are now vulnerable, and you've been honest. I think it's beautiful to do that. From now on, that will be one of my core values as a person and an entrepreneur.
I agree on a personal level but also as a consumer of products. I feel like today's age wants to see the people behind the brands more and more. It humanises the brand more. It lets me know what I am buying into regarding ethics, the environmental responsibility which is the future for all of us.
D-ODR has become your pride and joy, and rightly so. I know what your journey has been getting to this point. So, what is your proudest moment so far?
So, I think one has to stop and think about this, and I haven't had the time to stop and think about this. Having said that, I think these are the reasons I feel proud of what I have done; one of the reasons, and I believe this is key, is the feedback we keep on receiving on the product's effectiveness, the duration and the aroma notes. Everyone seems to like it. It doesn't matter what industry. When you are creating an aroma, an aroma is very subjective.
It's like the arts.
Exactly, you can like it or hate it. I am sure someone dislikes one of our aromas or all four, but since we have embarked on this journey to date, not one person has said, "my god, man, that smells terrible". So I am really happy, that makes me proud. The effectiveness of what we do shows we are delivering our promise.
For a side note, for people reading, I want you all to stop in your days and reflect on what you've done that makes you feel proud. Especially as an entrepreneur, there's a massive difference between ego and pride and taking in what you have achieved. Because sometimes, I feel like entrepreneurs are constantly chasing the next best thing and then you aren't satisfied with what you have gained within that chase. So I want everyone to stop and think of what they are proud of because I think that can drive the force further.
Yeah, and I think you're right. That is something we all need to do. This is something we, or let's say my generation needs to learn from yours. We must stop and reflect and introspect more in every aspect of our lives. Business is one of them. I don't think there is any such thing as a destination, be it a product or inner peace, but you need to introspect. Then, do your checks and balances and think, okay, time to move forward. Thank you for that. That's great advice.
Well, now we need your advice. I wanted to end on a more general note for entrepreneurs. So I wanted to know if you could give a piece of advice for someone starting a business or struggling with their company.
So firstly, let me point out that I don't think I am qualified to advise. I can only go based on what I have experienced. So, I have come across many people, even a generation below me, who call me and say I am planning on starting a business and never know when they will start. They say I will do it after the summer. I will do it after Christmas. I will do it when I finish this project I have in my current job.
The only thing I would say is if you want to do it, do it now, just do it.
If you leave it til tomorrow, it's never going to happen. So jump in and do it. If you fail, then you start again. That's what I would say. I would also say, be honest, be honest to yourself and be willing to learn. Finally, for those struggling with your business, seek a mentor, someone you can talk to openly and who can guide you. It could be a one-to-one relationship, a podcast, someone you admire or even a book. Any of those things will help an entrepreneur, or just a human alone, whatever journey or path you are on.
What's that saying? Knowledge is power. I feel that applies here. Also, funny, you said that about just doing it because I interviewed this woman who started a fashion business in Rwanda and asked her a similar question.
She said the generation I am from tends not to throw themselves into things. We are more prone to overthinking for many reasons. So she said if you don't do it now, you will never do it, and I think your advice will apply to plenty of people.
So finally, back to D-ODR… what does your slogan mean because we are all so curious in the Puresativa office?
So this is our speak of keeping your things wrapped up. It means no one needs to know. Each no entry sign signifies a no; in the middle, you have 1needs2know. So we are trying to connect with your emoji generation, right?
At D-ODR, we believe no one needs to know how you live your life or how you medicate and that gives us our core value, privacy. It's what makes us make products for you.