When Lana Van Brunt and Hayley Dineen founded their cannabis accessory brand, Sackville & Co., in 2018, there was a gap in the market.
At the time, cannabis companies fell into two camps: They were targeted at college-age men – think “Rick and Morty” branding with lots of tie-dye and pot leaves, or disciples of Goop, designed with a California wellness style in mind. No one was combining cannabis with a design-forward, high-fashion aesthetic yet. Sackville’s newest apparel collection debuting this week makes them part of a new wave of fashion-forward cannabis brands like Papers + Ink, Houseplant and Flower by Edie Parker.
Dineen, who studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins and worked at streetwear brands OVO and Yeezy, said she wanted Sackville to appeal to fashion-forward men and women.
“We have tried to treat cannabis as not something that’s in the shadows or only in dispensaries,” Van Brunt said. “It has to be something stylish, that you can be proud of displaying on your mantle. We knew that design and fashion would be the gateway.”
While Sackville sells cannabis accessories like rolling papers, grinders and pipes, apparel is a major part of the business. Twenty-five percent of its revenue comes from a relatively small selection of apparel, however, Van Brunt and Dineen hope to grow that section of the business. On Thursday, Sackville launches its largest collection of apparel yet in the form of hoodies, T-shirts, sweatshirts and more, under the banner Greetings from New York. The collection will be sold on Sackville’s online store; prices range from $45 to $125.
The merging of cannabis and fashion isn’t just happening at Sackville. Smoking brand Zig-Zag has transformed itself into a fashion and lifestyle brand through apparel drops. Edie Parker has opened Flower by Edie Parker, a subbrand focusing on cannabis accessories like pipes and grinders.
Papers + Ink, a company that makes printed and patterned rolling papers, has also started embracing fashion and beauty. Its most recent collab, released in late August, was with Scratch Nails, allowing customers to match their nails to their rolling papers.
Carolyn Chu, founder of Papers + Ink, said she’s been approached by larger fashion brands, too, especially since cannabis was legalized in New York last year.
“A lot of the companies I talk with want to explore this world but don’t quite know how to do it yet,” said Chu, who has worked at Rodarte and Odilon. “The buyers I talk to will get it immediately and are very excited, but then they have to get the higher-ups to sign off and they can be more conservative. Once it becomes federally legal, I think we’ll see a major shift, and all big fashion brands will get into it.”
But cannabis brands face a unique challenge. The patchwork nature of cannabis’ legality in the U.S. means these brands are often restricted in how they can advertise. Cannabis is illegal federally and illegal for recreational use in 31 states.
“There’s a lot of challenges around marketing,” Van Brunt said. “We basically can’t post anything on TikTok without it getting taken down. Even on Instagram, we’re very limited in what we can say. We’ve done some advertising with podcasts but we’ve been restricted there, too. We actually had one podcast lose other advertisers when they found out we’d be advertising there, too. It’s a huge headache for us.”
Chu echoed the sentiment, saying she had been shadowbanned from Instagram more times than she can count. But with the increased legalization of cannabis in the U.S. comes new enthusiasts and organic traffic. The influx of new smokers has been good for Sackville, which grew by 200% in 2021 and 185% thus far in 2022.
“We made our website very welcoming and inclusive of people who are curious,” Dineen said. “It won’t freak you out. If you’ve never smoked before, we have blogs and tutorials with lots of guidance. It opens the door for people to feel more comfortable.”