Mae Aims to Do for Cannabis What Dunhill Did for Smoking Accessories
Serial L.A. fashion entrepreneur Armen Gregorian, who helped launch Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent and A.L.C., among other labels, has entered the cannabis space with a new brand called Mind At Ease.
The brand has launched with cannabis oil cartridges and vaporizers and a collection of chic smoking accessories to hold them designed by Joe Doucet, known for his collaborations with TokyoBike, Reebok, Mont Blanc and more, and his innovative COVID-19-era face shield.
The accessories include a rose gold, diamond-engraved Palm cartridge vaporizer worthy of sitting out on a restaurant table; a jewel box-like cylindrical stash and humidor hybrid as decorative objet with separate compartments for flower, pre-rolls and accessories, and a glass bong reminiscent of a minimalist teapot. Prices range from $45 to $395.
“I want to do for cannabis what Dunhill did for cigarettes with the well-designed lighter and cigarette box, that is my business model,” said Gregorian, who planned to retire in 2015 when he sold his A.L.C. shares to private equity group InterLuxe Holdings, but found he quickly became bored.
Around the same time, his daughter, a yoga teacher, encouraged him to try giving up his nightly wine habit for cannabis. It sparked a business idea. “I was a pot head from 1975 to 1979 and all I remember was Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley,” he laughed. “But when she gave me a hit from a pipe, I said, ‘What did they do to this plant?’ It’s dynamite!'”
After doing a lot of research, looking at the success of Beboe’s vaporizer pens, visiting MedMen stores, and walking trade show aisles, he realized the accessory lane was still totally empty. “There was no Mont Blanc-type branding in cannabis, so I figured this is a great opportunity.”
HMAE’s CBD-based consumables are available only in California, but the accessories are being sold online at MAE-la.com and can be shipped worldwide. Gregorian hopes marijuana will become legal at the federal level soon, so he can merge the two sides of his business.
The pandemic has been another setback that’s made it difficult to wholesale the new smoking accessories to luxury retailers and hotel gift shops Gregorian has his sights on. “Unless you touch and feel the objects, you have no idea how good they are,” he said. In the meantime, he’s selling d-to-c: “We launched 10 days ago on Instagram and already that’s translating to sales.”
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