Brett Heyman Founder of Edie Parker

Brett Heyman | In episode 105 of Light Culture Podcast, Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits talks with Brett Heyman, ‘the Coco Chanel of Cannabis,’ designer of high-fashion handbags and cannabis accessories

If you have a picture in mind of what a typical stoner looks like, Brett Heyman is here to prove you wrong. Married with children, she is the founder of the irreverent handbag company, Edie Parker, and its cannabis and smoking accessories brand Flower by Edie Parker. A red carpet regular who has her home featured in Architectural Digest, she’s a veteran of the fashion world who has worked for Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana. While the rest of the fashion world sits on the sidelines of cannabis, Brett has made it her crusade, from both a personal as well as a social advocacy point of view. Dubbed the Coco Chanel of luxury cannabis by Forbes, she continues to literally make a statement by incorporating words like “Weed” and “Dope” into the design of her irreverent bags worn by the likes of Kacey Musgraves and other cannabis lovers attracted to her brand ethos: “For a good time, call Edie Parker.” We talk about New York as the epicenter of cannabis culture, the likes of Gucci and Chanel getting on the cannabis bandwagon, children and weed, and lighting up at the CFDA Awards.

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Q&A

David Hershkovitis (00:00):

If you have a picture in mind of what a typical stoner looks like, Brett Heyman is here to prove you wrong. Married, a mother, she is the founder of the irreverent handbag company, Edie Parker, and the cannabis and smoking accessories brand, Flower by Edie Parker. A red carpet regular who has her home featured in Architectural Digest, she’s worked for fashion brands like Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana. While the rest of the fashion world sits on the sidelines of cannabis, Brett has made it her crusade, from both a personal as well as a social advocacy point of view. Dubbed the Coco Chanel of luxury cannabis by Forbes, the Brentwood, California native continues to literally make a statement by incorporating words like weed and dope into the design of her bags. For a good time, call Edie Parker, is her brand ethos. So that’s what I did. I called Edie Parker, and she agreed … or, or Brett Heyman, as it were, and she agreed to be on my show. So welcome, Brett Heyman.

Brett Heyman (01:11):

Thank you, David. That was the best introduction. Could you send me a copy of that?

David Hershkovitis (01:13):

(Laughs)

Brett Heyman (01:13):

I feel like you hit-

David Hershkovitis (01:13):

Sure.

Brett Heyman (01:15):

… everything I ever want to say.

David Hershkovitis (01:18):

(Laughs) I’d be happy to. Uh, so you say that your, uh, collection is, uh, owed to finally bringing fun, a cheeky sense of humor, and a much needed sartorial mindset to a new generation of cannabis smokers. So you’re, seem to be the representative of all of that yourself. So are you your ultimate customer?

Brett Heyman (01:39):

I mean, I think that’s how everything starts, right? It’s why I started Edie Parker originally, um, you know, 10 plus years ago, because I had collected these vintage handbags my whole life. I had always been thrifting in high school, um, and I couldn’t find them. So that’s how it starts. And then obviously, eventually the, the collection evolves to a little bit more than just my tunnel vision. Um, but yeah, with cannabis, like, my husband is the one that sort of reintroduced me to it, um, when we got married. You know, our first date, we, we went back … We had lunch at Peter Luger’s our first date, and then we went back to his apartment and we, we smoked cannabis and watched Almost Famous, and then, you know, never split after that. So he sort of got me back into it. And then when legalization was, like, you know, such a thing in California and Colorado, when we would go to dispensaries, it just, nothing spoke to me at, like a brand level, and certainly not at an accessory level.

Brett Heyman (02:32):

And as I got more into this world, I thought, like, wow, I’d love to … Like, I’m going to my friend’s house for a dinner party. I don’t wanna bring a bottle of wine. And, like, I know she loves cannabis, but, like, there’s nothing I’d want to bring her. There’s nothing to buy for around the same price as a bottle of wine that would be fun. Um, so that’s kind of how it started, filling a need that I identified and saw, and certainly the girls in my office, who for you know, by and large, all of them smoked cannabis. Um, so yeah. So it started as something very personal that we wanted to fill, and then it has grown since.

David Hershkovitis (02:58):

But you grew up yourself in California, right, when, when it was legalized first, was in the 90s? Were you, is that when you started smoking, or how did that evolve?

Brett Heyman (03:09):

I started … So I graduated high school in 1998, came back east for college and sort of never went back. And honestly, like, I smoked weed in, in high school, but really not well. I mean, I just sort of always, I was a bit pf a heathen, right? So like, I was young, and I was trying to be rebellious, so, like, I drank too much if I drank. I smoked too much if I smoked.

David Hershkovitis (03:27):

(Laughs)

Brett Heyman (03:27):

I didn’t have a great relationship with cannabis. I think, you know, I’m, like so into legalization because I really like, like, knowing the doses, knowing how much I should smoke. What is the THC percentage? Like, I never knew any of that. Someone would hand me an apple or a can, and I would smoke, and I would be kind of a disaster. So I certainly, I, I like cannabis much more as an adult than I did as a teenager.

David Hershkovitis (03:49):

You mentioned your husband, and I know from my research that he is also an investor in the cannabis space as well. So that seems to be working out for both of you [crosstalk 00:03:59]-

Brett Heyman (03:59):

I mean, I don’t know.

David Hershkovitis (04:00):

… cannabis world.

Brett Heyman (04:01):

Have you seen the, have you seen the cannabis markets lately?

David Hershkovitis (04:03):

(Laughs)

Brett Heyman (04:04):

I don’t know how much it’s working out. Um, but you know, like, for him, it’s just something that he really loves. And so, he started dabbling in it professionally in 2015 and, and now devotes all his time to it. And he, you know, is constantly visiting groves and, and just has seen the coolest things happen. So he, he, he’s really into it and, and just is, you know, biding his time. I think we all fell like obviously, this is a matter of time when this is federally gonna be legal, but who knows when.

David Hershkovitis (04:30):

Right, ’cause, uh, you know, there’s all kinds of things that could happen between now and then, and just getting anything done in the Congress seems to be, you know, insurmountable at this point. So, uh … But whe- when you started your business coming out of, uh, the vintage bags that you were collecting, then you started, you wanted to go out and start your own handbag line. But you’ve talked about the learning curve. I mean, you did have experience, right? You had … about fashion. You were in the PR side of the business, I understand, at Gucci and, uh, and elsewhere. So you had some idea of what you were getting into. But what didn’t you understand at the time?

Brett Heyman (05:11):

I certainly knew my market. That’s true. Like, I was covering accessories for years. I knew a lot of buyers. I knew a lot of, um, stylists and all the people who helped me build that business originally. But what I didn’t know, I just didn’t have any idea existed. Like, I didn’t know product development and production were such crucial roles, and I didn’t have them in the beginning of my business for years. And things like logistics, like, I just wasn’t aware of them. And so, I thought I was really good at, like, sort of design and, and marketing and PR. And I am good at all those things, but really bad at everything else, and didn’t even know to ask. And so, with cannabis, it was sort of like the same learning, where I knew I had to ask everything. I did not think I was an expert on anything cannabis.

Brett Heyman (05:55):

Um, and, you know, we went at it on our own in California, and that’s so difficult, I mean, so, so challenging. California to begin with is so complicated. And, and sort of all these more, like, heritage markets are so complicated. Um, but now, as we focus more east of the Mississippi, we’ve partnered with Ascend Wellness Holdings because they’re good at all the things we’re not good at. Right? Like, we focus on design and marketing and packaging quality, but they have access to really good flower. They have access to really good dispensaries. They own really good dispensaries. So I think in any business, it’s just, like, you know, finding a complement to the things that you’re not good at is the only way you’ll be successful.

David Hershkovitis (06:35):

But it’s interesting that you say that because other people have also commented, you not, you may not be surprised, you know, about all the regulation issues and everything around, something that’s constantly moving as well. It’s changing. It’s whimsical. Um, you know, but yet people keep getting into it. You know what I mean? Even though there’re so many … And people think it’s for the money and so on, but there’s probably lots of easier ways to make money, uh, at this point right now.

Brett Heyman (07:03):

Oh my God. First of all, I think it’s really hard to make money in cannabis. There’s this great line about the fashion business, where you need a big fortune to make a little one in fashion. And I think cannabis is similar. I mean, look, I think … And this is, again, the benefits of having a partner. The regulations from state to state are so insane, and it would be so capital intensive to try to do anything on your own. Like, little ridiculous things that we find out every day, and we’re consulting with legal all the time and compliance people. But, you know, packaging regulations in terms of just colors from state to state being so different. Obviously, the language on every state has to be different, in every state. Rules that are, like, so out … like, I never would have considered. But we just found out in Massachusetts … And I don’t even know if this is true. We’re confirming it. But you can’t sell accessories and flower from the same brand in a single dispensary. Why? No idea.

Brett Heyman (07:50):

Um, so just, you know, I, I think that people get into it A, because it seems fun. People legitimately love cannabis and it makes people’s lives better, so I support all of that. But I think it’s just, it’s one of those things that … It’s honestly the biggest job creator in this country. It created $3 billion of tax revenue last year, so I understand the appeal. But I think it’s … We’ve got a long way to go until people are easily making money.

David Hershkovitis (08:14):

(Laughs) So would you do it differently if you, you know, were starting out again now and knowing what you know? Would you still wanna do it?

Brett Heyman (08:21):

Totally, totally.

David Hershkovitis (08:23):

(Laughs)

Brett Heyman (08:23):

I mean, look, it’s not easy to sell a, a $1000 handbag either. I mean, I, [phone ring] … Sorry, this is my kid. Hold on. Let me just tell her I can’t call.

David Hershkovitis (08:29):

Sure.

Brett Heyman (08:33):

Sorry, sorry. Um, yeah, I think that …

David Hershkovitis (08:38):

So you’re saying it’s not, it’s not easy to sell a $1000 handbag either.

Brett Heyman (08:43):

Nothing is easy. If things were easy, then everybody would do them. Obviously, like, you know, the things that are most challenging are, are the most worthwhile if you can be successful. But you know, I think we have a lot of, um, advantages, and I think we have some first mover advantages. But I also think you don’t always get credit for being early. And, and I hope that we can just hang on.

David Hershkovitis (09:01):

Well, what I’m finding is that the people who are, are doing it are, have, like, an attachment to the product that’s a little bit beyond a business in the sense, you know, someone may wind up making paper clips, you know, the best paper clips or buttons, God knows. You know, there’s lots of products that people can make and sell, but the ones who wind up in cannabis either have a history with the, with cannabis that has brought them closer to the, to the product, or … Yeah, I don’t even know if, if … You know, product doesn’t seem to quite sum it up because it has this aura and all this legacy and all this history and all this connections to some, to the earth and wellness and plants and, you know, all these things that are very important today.

Brett Heyman (09:49):

Yeah. And I think that … Look, I think-

David Hershkovitis (09:51):

Is that you? I, I mean, what I’m saying, is, is that would be a good description of you and, and why you’re still involved?

Brett Heyman (09:59):

No. I just, I think … Look, I’m involved in cannabis. I don’t grow plants in my backyard. Like, I am, I’m, I’m into cannabis because, as I said, I think cannabis makes everybody’s life better. Right? And I think as a woman, I think women have been so neglected in this business, both, like, at a leadership perspective and, like, when people talk to consumers. So for me, it’s like, you know, how do we talk to women in this business in a meaningful, legitimate way. Um, I think when you talk about women coming to cannabis to deal with, like, menstrual cramps. I talk constantly about sex and cannabis, how much better cannabis makes sex. And, like, being married as many years as I’m married and three kids later, like, we need help like that.

David Hershkovitis (10:37):

(Laughs)

Brett Heyman (10:37):

Um, so that’s what I’m attracted to. Obviously I think there are people who are, like, you know, esoteric strain people and, and real botanists. That is not me. We never pretend to be that way. Like, I, I’m not like that at all. Um, and I think that this business will not look the way it looks in five years, obviously. I think, like, a lot of these, like, little brands will consolidate, and I think there will be more people, and, and as more states

Brett Heyman (11:00):

… legalize it, like are growing and selling smaller, you know, amounts out of their house, whatever it is. So I think, you know, i- I- we just don’t know what it looks like. But I certainly … We’re very honest about our participation in it.

David Hershkovitis (11:12):

But you’re targeting women in, in other words. Is that what you’re saying as far as your customer goes?

Brett Heyman (11:17):

We are targeting women. What we’re finding … We were in Boston two weeks ago. I was in Chicago this past weekend. The team was in Southern Illinois. We are finding that a lot more men are actually trying us than we thought. They’re sort of, like, attracted to the packaging. They’re attracted to all of our brand messaging. They’re, you know, it’s a- it’s an attractive price point for the- for the SKUs that we’re selling in those markets. So we’re surprised about how many men are, are discovering us-

David Hershkovitis (11:44):

Are you talking about-

Brett Heyman (11:44):

But yeah-

David Hershkovitis (11:45):

… the- excuse me. Are you talking about when you- which product are you talking about then? The design products or the cannabis products?

Brett Heyman (11:50):

So I mean the actual … So in, uh, Massachusetts and Illinois, we’re only in market with what we call our best bud pre-roll pack. So it’s a two pack of, uh, of half gram joints. And, you know, they’re $20. And they’re in, like, beautiful fun packaging and they’re a great quality flower. And, like, you know, won’t get you too high. So we’re just sup- you know, we’re- we- while we targeted women in that our idea is to be the safe, comfortable, you know, um, branded female cannabis brand, we are surprised that as many men are, are enjoying us as, as they are.

David Hershkovitis (12:23):

So what did you do research with regard to women and, and, and that- is that an approach that you’re into? Or is it more, like, just gut instinct to-

Brett Heyman (12:31):

again

David Hershkovitis (12:31):

… to try to find out what do women really want, you know? Freud’s famous question.

Brett Heyman (12:35):

Right, exactly. Impossible.

David Hershkovitis (12:36):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (12:37):

Um, no. I think, as we touched on earlier, I think it starts … I wish I could say that, like, we have, like, a whole R&D team and we are, like, you know, so well researched. We’re not. I think it starts, again, as I said, we’re 10 women in our office. And so it’s like what do we want? What do we feel is missing? What are we missing from this experience? When we go to a dispensary, what’s missing? When we’re looking for, for, um, for, you know, whether it’s an edible, a joint, a tincture, what are we missing? And so that’s sort of how it starts. And we have a lot of friends. And so we just do research in that way.

David Hershkovitis (13:08):

So would you, you know, carry it to the next level? Because I was having this conversation with, uh, someone else who’s in the, in the, in the business about, uh, la- the Cannabis Lounge and there’s lounges here in New York. Uh, you may or may not have been to. I, I have. And, you know, for the most part, they’re male. You know, they’re mostly guys sitting in couches. And, you know, so he- we were talking about well how are you gonna open this lounge? What’s- what do you think is a good idea? And I said, well, I think you should have women running it. Because that’ll change the vibe. And, of course, other women will feel safer and more comfortable going there knowing, if there’s a woman, that’s part of it.

David Hershkovitis (13:48):

So are you looking ahead as well for potentially creating spaces that are run by women, you know, to inviting women in to enjoy, whether it’s a lounge in New York or whether it’s a lounge in California or anywhere like that?

Brett Heyman (14:04):

Right. I mean, I think we’re really excited about New York. I think, you know, being New York based, and I think New York is already … You know, I’m a New Yorker. So I think it’s the center of fashion and culture and, and hospitality, all these experiences. So I think there’s no reason to think that it’s not gonna be the center of cannabis and, and be incredible.

Brett Heyman (14:24):

I think, like, in an ideal world, would we love to have a cannabis lounge, would we love to have a dispensary? Absolutely. That’s exactly what you’re saying. Like feel safe, inviting, feminine. All those things. But because I just think we’re so far from that and we don’t even know. Like we keep checking, like, what are the rules gonna be? How do we even apply for any of these things? It’s not something that’s like really … It’s not something that’s really top of mind. But we’re certainly aware of it. And I think whether it’s us or somebody else, I think that will absolutely be the future in cannabis.

David Hershkovitis (14:54):

With women run spaces, you mean? Like, uh, like the segre- not segregation but, like, more spaces designed more for the women in mind as opposed to other, you know, regular, what they’re doing now. Because you go in, you know, these places are very sterile. And in many cases they’re almost required to be that way, like you said. In California there are certain things you can’t do. Uh, like the company I work with, [Burb 00:15:19], they’re based in Canada, in Vancouver, where, uh, similar- what you were saying earlier, ’cause they have a clothing line as well. And they weren’t allowed to sell it in the same space as the dispensary. Now I think things are easing up around that. But it’s a li- ’cause they’re- they don’t wanna promote the, the, the bran- or the cannabis as a lifestyle thing. There’s this whole issue around making it attractive or glamorous. You know, it has to be kind of like boring (laughing). You know, like, okay, you can sell it if you keep it really boring.

Brett Heyman (15:52):

Terrible. Just- yeah.

David Hershkovitis (15:54):

So, uh, you know, fashion is … You know, one of the reasons I really wanted to talk with you, you know, you’re kinda perfect in some respects for me because you do come from the fashion world. And I’ve always, you know, wanted to talk to somebody in the fashion world ’cause there aren’t that many who have actually, you know, s- seen this opportunity and taken advantage of it. Or- and I’m sure there’s plenty of people who smoke, right?

David Hershkovitis (16:17):

So, you know, you’ve talked about fashion. You’ve said, um, I’ll quote here, uh, about fashion can be frivolous but when you look throughout history, it’s a marker of a moment in time. Uh, it’s really important in helping remove the shame from all those years of prohibition. Fashion is at its best when we’re acknowledging something happening culturally and I am really proud to be part of it and this movement.

David Hershkovitis (16:47):

So what is it with the fashion world? Do you feel like they will … You worked at Gucci, for example. If you were sitting there now, would you be advising them to not necessarily make products, you know, which is maybe a little early for that. But I, I see that coming. But would you say, yeah, let’s- let’s, uh, sponsor an event with cannabis, let’s say.

Brett Heyman (17:11):

Totally. Absolutely.

David Hershkovitis (17:12):

Yes?

Brett Heyman (17:13):

Yeah, of course. I mean, I think, like, fashion … First of all, I love that quote. Thank you. [inaudible 00:17:19]-

David Hershkovitis (17:18):

Now you don’t remember what you said.

Brett Heyman (17:22):

I know! Of course. I say stuff like that all the time.

David Hershkovitis (17:24):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (17:24):

But you say it nicer.

David Hershkovitis (17:25):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (17:25):

Well, I really mean that. I mean, I think fashion, like, you know, I, I always joke whenever I give an interview that, you know, when it was just about handbags that life is serious, your accessories don’t have to be. Um, and I feel like there is that frivolity where it’s like we get it. We’re making an a- you know, an acrylic handbag with a saying on it. But it is, you know, as I said, at its best, you look back and it reflects these moments in culture that are really, really significant. And I think that whatever is happening in cannabis is really, really significant.

Brett Heyman (17:53):

And, you know, I think fashion’s like- it’s a little slow to embrace sort of what’s happening in culture in terms of, you know, models of color and designers of color and sort of spotlighting whatever’s, like, reflecting- you know, whatever’s happened in America at least in the past three years. Um, and I think you can’t talk about sort of criminal justice reform and, and sort of equal opportunities without talking about cannabis and, and how … It’s like cannabis prohibition has just, you know, been so harmful to these communities of color.

Brett Heyman (18:22):

So, yeah. I think in the way that Gucci, like, brilliantly started working with Dapper Dan, like, you know, working in cannabis or, or sponsoring something or, or, you know, just being involved in the cannabis which is like, like, you know, taking a stand to say, hey, this is a plant. This is something that has helped with health and wellness for forever and does all these good things. And, like, you know, just also is super fun. Um, I think that would be really powerful if somebody who was like a big corporation did that.

David Hershkovitis (18:51):

So is there anyone doing that to my- to your knowledge? I mean, I have not seen it.

Brett Heyman (18:56):

No. I think it’s really complicated. I think most of these companies are, are owned by Europeans, obviously, where cannabis is, is less, um, happening. And I think that having a federally illegal business that you can’t bank … I mean, the fact that, like, Safe’s not even happening now would be really challenging for a, you know, a big company to, to get behind in a- in a meaningful way. I think that obviously when that changes, then obviously the floodgates will open. But we’re just not there.

David Hershkovitis (19:21):

Right. Because I could see, you know … Back in the day I remember when people started to bootleg the logos of Gucci or Channel and, you know, use them on t-shirts and, you know, bef- then they caught up and then eventually they … Like Dapper Dan. So then they hired these people to actually do colabs with them.

Brett Heyman (19:39):

Yeah.

David Hershkovitis (19:40):

Uh, like today. But also with regard to the cannabis, I could see people starting to put out a brand, you know, with the Gucci logo on it that will just be out there. And, and try to stop them, you know? So do you feel that that- one day there will be something like that? Or, you know, beverages and all those products as well?

Brett Heyman (20:01):

I do. I mean, look. I think everybody th- not everybody. But I certainly think and I hope that, like, cannabis will eventually be a brand game. There will be brands. There will be the Levis of cannabis, the Gucci of cannabis, the Gray Goose of cannabis-

David Hershkovitis (20:14):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (20:14):

… the [crosstalk 00:20:14]. Right? I mean, there will be brands that people recognize and trust and, and, and mean a certain something about you. And I think that, like, brands like Gucci will get involved in cannabis. When it is federally legal, it will be a totally different animal. That’s what I mean about- like it- we’re not gonna recognize it. I think it’s gonna look so different. Um, and like everything, it will be a commodity that, like, you know, people will complain about and lament about the, you know, times when it wasn’t like this. But it, it’s gonna- it’s gonna happen.

Brett Heyman (20:41):

And yeah. I think of course there will be bootleg Gucci and Channel cannabis brands. And, you know, I just hope that those people don’t get sued because you do not wanna go up against those brands.

David Hershkovitis (20:50):

Yeah. Right. No, you don’t. Uh, so at the same time as you’re a very playful and, you know, hip woman involved in this cannabis space, you also kind of epitomized the luxury lifestyle for a lot of people, certainly in the media. Like I mentioned, your- your house is fabulous. And ha- where are you residing now in, in New York or-

Brett Heyman (21:13):

I live in New York, yeah.

David Hershkovitis (21:14):

… Connecticut. And your house in Connecticut that I saw pictures of?

Brett Heyman (21:19):

Yup.

David Hershkovitis (21:19):

And all that?

Brett Heyman (21:19):

Yup.

David Hershkovitis (21:20):

So, yeah. So it’s different world than maybe a lot of people who are just experiencing cannabis in the way they always did, with their friends or in small groups and not really, you know, going out on those runway situations where they get photographed by Patrick McMullan and, and people like that. So what impact has going public with cannabis affected your personal brand? Did that- did you feel any weirdness from, from those society folks that when you started being identified with cannabis in this public way?

Brett Heyman (21:53):

Um, no. Certainly … And I knew the potential implications and just decided early that I wouldn’t care,

Brett Heyman (22:00):

… you know? Um, no, I think the only thing that was slightly negative, I mean, certainly, some people have like been really nasty on the Instagram and like, you know, stopped following us or said like they hate weed and we used to be so cute and blah, blah, blah. But that’s to be expected. Um, I think there is definitely some confusion when we launched. It was like, “Hey, you make these really expensive handbags and now you’re selling pot.” Like, there, there was a lot of explaining, sort of. Um, and then when we kinda talked about it and when we talk about cannabis being a lifestyle and, and like be just another like sort of accessory for us and, and these, you know, these really considered branded moments, then people would think like, “Oh, that’s really cool.”

Brett Heyman (22:36):

Um, and I think what we liked is that I think our participation and like having a store on Madison Avenue when we launched Flower by Edie Parker was like really, I think, impactful in this conversation of destigmatization, normalization. You have these really sort of like fancy old ladies who had been shopping in Edie Parker for all the years we were there and they would come in and be like, “Oh,” you know, like, “I used to smoke cannabis.” And they would feel… There was a safety. Like, we’ve been a brand for all these years that makes high-quality products that they trusted and so there wasn’t a fear around cannabis and they were buying the accessories and then f- like slowly but surely, and what happened to us recently, which was really exciting, was like people, grownups, would start buying for their adult children. Um, they would buy accessories and they would buy it as gifts and I think like, you know, these are little, these are small personal victories for me but I think that’s all part of what has to happen in order to get to the next phase.

David Hershkovitis (23:27):

Yeah, ’cause I feel like you’re a pioneer in, in that respect because, you know, people like you have not really taken a leadership position in this cannabis industry a- as far as I know. I mean, there’s a lot of, o- obviously, there’s a lot of important people who ha- are involved in, you know, lending their way to, to try to get the stigmatization, I think is a big th- thing and education and… ‘Cause people are still… In fact, someone I had on my show was suggesting that there was gonna be a pushback from, uh, the right wing or, you know, Christian conservatives, perhaps. Wh- however you wanna brand them. But with regard to the communism that we’re f- we’re like this is what the communists want us to, to make weed legal ’cause then everybody will be weak and then they can come ov- in and take over. So, you know, that’s what I’m saying. Things are still out there.

Brett Heyman (24:23):

So silly. I mean, some people theorize, because obviously like we’ve s- stalled in the Congress in progress because I think, obviously on the left we wanna make sure that we, you know, hi- we tackle criminal and social justice reform in these bills and I think that some people speculate that if there’s a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate, they’re just gonna care about creating the tax revenues and it’s not gonna get held up as much ’cause they’re not gonna be bothered by the social justice piece and they’ll probably push it through. So we’ll see. (laughs)

David Hershkovitis (24:53):

Yeah, I mean, there is a somewhat of agreement on, on both sides. It’s not a one-sided issue right now. Uh-

Brett Heyman (24:58):

I mean, I joke all the time that cannabis legalization, l- legalization has more bipartisan support than Biden does. I mean, it like-

David Hershkovitis (25:04):

It does. (laughs)

Brett Heyman (25:05):

I think like everybody’s into it.

David Hershkovitis (25:06):

Yeah, and Biden isn’t, though. That’s the, that’s the problem.

Brett Heyman (25:09):

‘Cause he’s a little older. (laughs)

David Hershkovitis (25:11):

Yeah. Well, yeah, ’cause he still remembers all those horror stories. So Uh, so h- so you’re still able to feel comfortable walking the c- red carpet and, and the society world? When you go to those events or parties, do you take out a joint or is it much more common for other people to do that in your presence whether it’s in private homes or more public settings?

Brett Heyman (25:34):

I mean, I appreciate that you think I’m hipper than I am.

David Hershkovitis (25:37):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (25:37):

I’m not walking a lot of red carpets, but thank you. No, but like as an example, I mean I was at the CFDA Awards a couple weeks ago which I guess was pretty hip, but I did not walk the carpet. It, there was a long line. It didn’t seem worth it.

David Hershkovitis (25:47):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (25:47):

Um, but I was sitting at a table with some very sort of fancy, influential fashion and, and culture people and I, mostly for shock value, (laughs) took out a bunch of joints and lit ’em up and started passing ’em around my table. Um, and you know, some people, (laughs) one very famous stylist literally looked at me and he goes, “Calm down, weed girl.”

David Hershkovitis (26:06):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (26:06):

Um, but he meant it all in good fun and I think people… honestly, like, I think people are always excited. I just think cannabis is like… I, I, I like to say all the time, it just makes people feel better, you know? And s- and so I think people thought it was kinda cheeky and funny and they were psyched to have some and, and, you know, and I, I got a, get a kick outta being a little rascally like that. (laughs)

David Hershkovitis (26:26):

Yeah, well bravo. I’m glad you did that. That’s, that’s great to hear.

Brett Heyman (26:28):

Thanks.

David Hershkovitis (26:29):

And especially, you know, with the strains, I mean, you said you weren’t necessarily that’s your specialty but there, that is a craft area and I know you’ve worked with Kana Flow, or Flow Kana, uh, which is one of those, uh, organizations that represents the, the, th- legacy growers in Humboldt County where everything is grown in a, organically, and with small farms. Are you still, uh, working with them?

Brett Heyman (26:55):

We’re not. Um, we are not really focused that much in California anymore, just because it’s so complicated. Um, we have a few… Like we look at California a little bit, you know, I think in retail terms so California’s like a prestige boutique door to me right now. Like a couple people that we work with, we do indoor flower now, um, and we just, we like to have a presence there because we have customers there, um, but I think we just, we have to, we’re, we’re focused east of the Mississippi and I think we, we’d try to come back and tackle California again but maybe with a different partner.

David Hershkovitis (27:27):

But doesn’t your husband come home and say like, “I, I’ve, I’ve tried this amazing stuff, you should really try it. It’s like this whatever from wherever.” (laughs)

Brett Heyman (27:36):

Yeah, I mean sure. He’s constantly bringing-

David Hershkovitis (27:39):

Oh good.

Brett Heyman (27:39):

… stuff home but it’s, it’s not easy. I mean it’s a really, it’s a complicated, complicated business. So he, uh, particularly when he were, we were working with LA Canna, I mean he had farms that were his absolute favorite but, you know, people have their brands that they like to work with and these sort of l- ol- old-time established relationships and, and, you know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a funny business up there. (laughs)

David Hershkovitis (27:59):

Well like you said, you, you know, me- people may not know even though it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s understood, but you can’t really ship cannabis from California to New York to sell or, you know, you can’t move the product across state lines legally because it’s not national. That’s what we s- that’s what we were talking about earlier. So that creates a problem, obviously. If you wanna sell California cannabis in New York, it’s, it’s gonna be a problem.

Brett Heyman (28:28):

Yep.

David Hershkovitis (28:29):

You have to get it illegally, basically, the way-

Brett Heyman (28:31):

Yeah.

David Hershkovitis (28:32):

… the good old-fashioned way. Um, uh, so h- how important are c- uh, celebrities in the cannabis space? I know you used, uh, you know, for you with the, with the bags, the handbags, celebrities wore it often. It had a, a, a very, um, you know, fun bag that people would notice on the runway so you would get a lot of attention because of that. So how does that… Are you able to utilize that in the cannabis space as well?

Brett Heyman (29:00):

Yeah, I mean I think some of the advantages that we’ve had in this space are these sort of well-established relationships with celebrities and taste makers, et cetera. So I think that, I think it’s a, a nuanced answer. I think that celebrities are important because I think they’re really important for destigmatization, right? I think anytime a celebrity publicly comes out as a smoker, um, like a Justin Bieber, like a, you know… I’m trying to think. Like a Kacey Musgraves, a Chelsea Handler. I think that’s really important in moving this cause forward. Do I think it’s beneficial when celebrities front cannabis brands? No, I don’t think anybody really cares.

Brett Heyman (29:38):

Um, but I think for us like it’s happened really organically because we’ve had these relationships so people that we’ve already been making bags for or selling bags to will text us or DM us and be like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe you guys make flower. That’s amazing, I would love to try it.” And so you have people, again, like a Kacey Musgraves, who are real smokers and they love the product and they love the accessories and so I think they’re inclined to naturally promote it and that’s been helpful. It’s certainly not the same because not everybody is willing to be public about their cannabis use, uh, but I think that it’s just, again, it’s important to the conversation to be like, “Look at all these really high-functioning, successful people who smoke,” and they’re not the typical, you know, as you said, which, you know, it’s like a such a ridiculous stereotype, but this stoner stereotype where like you’re gonna get high and like, you know, sit on a couch all day. It’s just, couldn’t be further from the truth.

David Hershkovitis (30:28):

No, it, uh, we know that. Uh, s- design is an interesting subject as well around this and I know you have a lot of your products are really design products that are sold somewhat in the cannabis direction, right? So I always, I’ve been thinking about that as well, of what the future m- might (laughs) look like in the sense of design. Because if you, you know, let’s say New York and everybody goes legal, everybody’s gonna be smoking much more casually than they did before. At the same time, there’s this whole psychedelic revolution going on and as we can, you know, think back to the ’60s and the, the whole psychedelic era and all the design products that came out f- around that, whether it was tie-dye, or, uh, uh, you know, there’s the clothes and people putting stuff on their clothes, just sort of changing the perception of what they wanted to look like, feeling freer about that.

David Hershkovitis (31:25):

So, you know, I’m imagining what is a design store gonna look like, you know, where it’s not just cannabis oriented so it’s not another ashtray but it could be a lamp. It could be, you know, a curtain. It could be just a, a graphic design. So do you imagine that that’s also something that, uh, it’s gonna be coming down the road? Just stores that are designed with the idea of, of the cannabis or psychedelic smo- uh, user in mind but it’s not necessarily products, you know, lighters and things like that?

Brett Heyman (31:56):

Do you mean like an experiential space? Like-

David Hershkovitis (31:58):

Not a… Well, it could be experiential but I just mean like furniture, you know-

Brett Heyman (32:02):

Yeah.

David Hershkovitis (32:02):

… things that are not, not typically like, you know, created for the stoner-

Brett Heyman (32:06):

Yeah.

David Hershkovitis (32:06):

… but it’s, has the design… Remember how things used to like sort of l- l- get all curvy with, with the-

Brett Heyman (32:12):

Sure. Yeah.

David Hershkovitis (32:13):

… you know, when they do the psychedelic g- graphics-

Brett Heyman (32:16):

Totally.

David Hershkovitis (32:16):

… or when they do some crazy TV or movie where-

Brett Heyman (32:19):

Totally.

David Hershkovitis (32:19):

… they’re showing what psychedelics look like, the light show and, you know, (laughs) it’s all-

Brett Heyman (32:23):

Scooby-Doo. All of Scooby-Doo.

David Hershkovitis (32:24):

(laughs)

Brett Heyman (32:24):

Yeah. I mean, I think that that’s kinda where we try to live now. I mean, there’s obviously some products that are like specific cannabis products but I think the intersection that we like to play in when we talk about this like fashion meets flower, it’s taking something like a fruit pipe, right? So we take, we make our beautiful fruit pipes and we make them sort of juicy enough and oversized so that even if you’re not a smoker, here’s an object that you could really like happily receive as a present, gift it as a present, display in your home even if you’re not even aware of the bowl or ever gonna use the bowl. Um, just having items like, you know, we make, um,

Brett Heyman (33:00):

An acrylic multicolor s- uh, stash box, where everything is, is designed and for our cannabis products to fit in there, you know, like our little pre-roll tin and a lighter and et cetera, but you could use it for anything. You could use it for pencils, you can use it for clips. So, I think sort of the hybrid of, here’s smoking objects but they’re beautiful, considered, well-made design objects is gonna be more and more. And I think there will be, you know, again, not to talk about my own brand, but our whole brand Ethos is like, take a category that people historically like hide in the back of a drawer and what does that look like if you’re making it so that it can be totally displayed and like, you’d be really proud of.

Brett Heyman (33:37):

So, you know, a $700 hand blown glass bong that we made in partnership with a friend of mine who’s an artist, I don’t even smoke outta mine ever. It’s used as like a beautiful-

David Hershkovitis (33:47):

(laughs).

Brett Heyman (33:48):

… bo- a centerpiece in my house. Um, so I think that will happen more and more just these like really considerate items that are multiuse and meant to be displayed and, and, and, you know, showed off.

David Hershkovitis (33:58):

Yeah. I mentioned you’re a mom. You have three children, and the issue of cannabis in the home is, comes up quite a bit even with, you know, my friends and people who have children constantly struggling with this, the how to handle that habit that they have, or I don’t know habit, but it’s the right word, but, you know, they’re, um, you know, used to smoking, but now we can’t smoke at home. Let’s say, they don’t have an out… a g- a yard. What do you do? And how do you handle this whole question? Do you tell them that you smoke? Do you not tell ’em? And things are a little easier now. Uh, one of my guest, Frenchy Cannoli, who was this master of hash making, uh, was telling me how, when he had his, uh, daughter in California going to school, that he couldn’t smoke around her because in those days they would question the children about what was going on in the home. And if they said that their parents were smoking weed, they could be removed from the home.

Brett Heyman (35:00):

Wow.

David Hershkovitis (35:00):

They could actually lose their children. So the, hi- his daughter didn’t know until she was in college,

Brett Heyman (35:04):

Right. Yeah. Weirdly, I mean, my eldest is, um, 12, but even when I gave birth, my, um, OB-GYN was saying she would ask questions, pre-birth, you know, to talk about like, do you drink alcohol? Do you smoke cannabis? And I remember answering yes to, I s- I smoke alcohol. I mean, I drink alcohol, obviously not when I was pregnant, but she was like, “You know that’s… I don’t know what the point was of assessing this at some point, but yes, I smoke alcohol. And when she said, “Do you smoke cannabis?” I said, “Yes”. And she said, “I’m actually… I’m gonna leave that blank. I’m not gonna say yes, because if you say yes, when you give birth, the Child Service is gonna come and question you.”

David Hershkovitis (35:36):

Oh.

Brett Heyman (35:36):

And this was only like… And my youngest is five. So it’s like, you know, it’s even, it’s still a crazy thing. Um, look, I, I recognize that we’re sort of privileged to be in this business at this time, um, because there’s no fear for us and we drink alcohol and we’ve always drunk alcohol in front of our children. So we talk about cannabis in the exact same way, which is to say that like, there is a legal age, there is like, you know, a certain amount that is responsible. And here are the things that we will do when we drink alcohol or smoke cannabis. And here are the things we won’t. And we talk about, you know, obviously the, the war on drugs and the war on these communities of color. We, we sort of try to make them aware of everything that’s happening but, you know, we live in New York city. We’ve got New York city kids, The whole city smells like weed, you know-

David Hershkovitis (36:18):

(laughs).

Brett Heyman (36:19):

… we’re, we’re not ashamed of this at all. So, we talked to them about it, like people.

David Hershkovitis (36:23):

And the age of your customer, your average customer, is that a factor as well? Do- Are they young, many of them or is it the more, uh, you know, um-

Brett Heyman (36:34):

Totally runs the gamut. We have a lot of younger people buying accessories and we have a lot, much like surprisingly older people, as I said, buying things for themselves, for their kids. A lot of these, you know, my favorite expression are, those boomerangs. The people that used to smoke cannabis when they were boo- you know, younger and then sort of put it away and now they’re rediscovering it again. So, we really run the gamut with, uh, with age. We always have, honestly.

David Hershkovitis (36:54):

Yeah. So what’s that about? ‘Cause they all figure, you know, peo- so many people say, “Oh yeah, it makes me paranoid.” Blah, blah, blah. That was ’cause of what had happened sometime, y- y- you know, when they were in college and then they stopped, but now they feel more comfortable and ready to do it or just less hysterical.

Brett Heyman (37:13):

Yeah. Well I think like again, I think legalization, like you have this beautiful s- s- dispensary space. Wherever people are shopping, you’ve got the budtenders telling you all about, you know, what kind of high you’re gonna get here. What’s gonna make you not paranoid. What’s gonna make you… Just sort of explaining different strains and brands that they like. I think it’s just a much, a less intimidating experience and it feels much safer. And, and like, you know, even my own father who never would’ve smoked when I was growing up, I mean he like, so anti-drugs, so afraid of any drugs. Now, he like, you know, goes to California, he goes through a dispensary, it helps him sleep.

David Hershkovitis (37:46):

(laughs).

Brett Heyman (37:46):

It’s, it’s great. It’s so helpful.

David Hershkovitis (37:48):

But s- but the health and wellness side of it, you’re not really, um, involved with, to… And from, and from the business perspective, u- u- um, right? Because, uh, it’s just not interesting to you.

Brett Heyman (38:02):

It’s not that it’s not interesting to me. Obviously like I, I very much think it’s great and I am not a great sleeper so I like it for that, and I, I didn’t know I was anxious until I started going to therapy about five years ago [crosstalk 00:38:13]-

David Hershkovitis (38:13):

(laughs).

Brett Heyman (38:14):

… super anxious. And uh, and it’s helpful. It’s just that I don’t like to have the same conversation that everybody else is having. So I think a lot of the brands on the market or a lot of the brands that, you know, maybe women were involved and talked a lot about health and wellness and they talked about things that like people were already talking about. So for me, well, I love cannabis also ’cause I think it’s fun. And I think like unlike alcohol which like desensitizes you, it makes you feel everything really nicely. And so again, like if I’m gonna have sex, I think having a little cannabis is great for that. So, I just wanna show a different side of it, you know? And I, as I said to you before, like we make pith… Not pith, it’s the wrong word, but we make irreverent accessories. And so I think this like, for a good time Ethos, that we’ve always had in our accessories really translates to what, how we use cannabis and love cannabis.

Brett Heyman (38:56):

So I’m not discounting the health and wellness. I think that’s great. But I think it’s not the only thing. I think like a recreational user who just likes to get high is great.

David Hershkovitis (39:04):

But with regard to women though, that’s where the market is supposedly directed, right? ‘Cause they talk about, as a way to get women into cannabis is through health and wellness and CBD.

Brett Heyman (39:16):

Yeah. I think that’s true. I think that’s true. I think like a lot of the growth and a lot of the research supports that and talks about again, menstrual cramps being like a, a big thing, but, you know, I, I think like, w- w- I think it’s still really early and it’s just the beginning and I think, you know, more women are, are gonna be like me just the way they are. You know, there’s for sure gonna be moms that people like to talk about. Like I think like having a little bit of cannabis as a mom, you know, to just like take a little bit of an edge off or like have fun with your girlfriends is, is that’s calming, that’s [crosstalk 00:39:42]-

David Hershkovitis (39:41):

Cali, Cali sober.

Brett Heyman (39:43):

Exactly. Although I am New York drunk.

David Hershkovitis (39:45):

(laughs) All right. New York drunk. Well thank you very much, uh, f- Brett for being on my show today. It was really fun-

Brett Heyman (39:54):

This was so fun, David. You’re really, you’re great. I really appreciate, uh-

David Hershkovitis (39:57):

I had a good time.

Brett Heyman (39:57):

… the time. So, yeah. Awesome.

David Hershkovitis (40:01):

Thank you.

Brett Heyman (40:01):

Um, thank you so much.

David Hershkovitis (40:03):

Thanks Brett. That was awesome.

 

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