If I can be honest with all y’all, the cannabis industry has a bit of a branding problem. For as far back as I can remember, weed culture in the media has been portrayed as lazy stoners a la Cheech and Chong who are ripping bong hits and wearing awful tie dye t-shirts. How did this become our representation and can we all agree that these images are super unrealistic and well, a bit damaging?
But with legalisation around the corner, the waves are beginning to turn the tides on weed culture, rupturing the old stereotypes in its wake. By normalizing the conversation on cannabis, it’s becoming a lot cooler to blaze up with pals without worry and chat with others without stigma about how cannabis can help you in your day-to-day life.
Cannabis consumers like me and you are pretty savvy. We know that we want products with better design, we want sleek branding and inoffensive packaging and we want something that fits into our own personal aesthetic or brand. These items could even influence our own design and fashion choices, depending on what they are. Personally, I think that Canada’s own Tokyo Smoke and their Toronto boutique (located at 668 Queen West) is branding #GOALS. Each item they offer is sleek and beautiful, using a palette of black, red and white. Log on to their website and you’ll be hit with beautiful imagery and witty puns alluding to the cannabis experience. And wouldn’t you know it, the design-forward nature of the brand is all thanks in large part to Berkeley Poole, their creative director.
Poole, the former art director of Barney’s New York, knew there was an appetite for good design in the cannabis market space and when an opportunity became available at Tokyo Smoke, she took the chance. Poole loved New York City – the stimulating, frenzied society – and was given the chance to learn so much about creation and experimentation while at Barney’s, the fashion institution with so much history and prestige. She shared that commonly they would let her cast diversely including transgender models in the forefront.
Being with a cannabis brand like Tokyo Smoke, they have given her free reign to implement those common themes and ideologies that Barney’s once had. She acknowledges that it’s a huge shift in the cannabis space to make, but “I want to incorporate more diversity of people and experiences into the fabric of the Tokyo Smoke brand. And it’s an exciting time because the landscape of the cannabis market is changing. Businesses and their customers aren’t hiding in the shadows, veiled in smoke.
“I find a lot of inspiration in talking to people and hearing about their experiences with cannabis – how they consume, the environment they’re in when they do, how they set the vibe, what they do when they’re stoned,” Poole shares showing respect for the plant and their customer who have long been patients. By starting these conversations, Tokyo Smoke is telling their customer: ‘we want to know what you want you want’ and really understand that smoking is about a mood and vibe. I’ll be honest: I’ve bought two of their rose-gold pocket grinders, just because it spoke to me.
Poole wants to keep creating items that fit into people’s lives and integrate it into the contemporary culture and because of that, we’re so excited to see what Tokyo Smoke has instore for us in 2018 when they showcase their legitimacy and cache to those who many still consider cannabis a questionable industry.
For more information on Tokyo Smoke and to find a location near you, please visit TokyoSmoke.com
(Story by Contributing Editor, Ama Scriver)