What makes you a startup stoner?
I've been running a community based coffeehouse for the past 8 years which was socially successful but financially struggling. I thought community had to be forged on the ground, with hard work and sacrifice. Then peeps in my community closed down a new local dispensary and I was like, wtf? Why am I going thru all this struggle for peeps who don't get it that cannabis is medicine? What am I doing? I gave my head a hard freakin' shake and decided to turn my life in a totally new direction, one that I believed in heart and soul. In doing so I had to give up the idea that my local was my community and am now reaching out and finding my community exists all over the world -- its the folks who know and understand the value of cannabis as a medicine. With this realization, I shut down my coffeehouse and have started up a new canna-positive biz and I am loving it!
In my pre-coffeehouse days I was a graphic designer and for me there is no better high than killing a bong and tucking into some awesome design work. However, I never thought this dream occupation could be my job until it hit me .... don't just do cannabis and design, design ABOUT cannabis! Eureka! It was the turning point, the moment I knew that I was going to leave the restaurant industry and set off into uncharted territory. The ideas started coming fast and furious -- I wanted to help project a new more positive image of cannabis, not just the doped up drop out 60s image or guns 'n babes rapper image. I could see that conservative legislators were playing on the old dirty or criminal image of cannabis to scare folks into ditching dispensaries and buying the drug war propaganda. This needed to change cuz on the ground it had already changed. Moms were using it, autistic kids were benefiting from it, seniors were fighting pain with it, yet the old image of babes, guns and dope was all you could find. I started designing t-shirts cuz thats where people put their money behind the messages they believe in. Its like a billboard that people carry around through public space and its there, on the ground, that I wanted to see this change happen. As of today I have several designs created and have opened a Facebook shop, SunFrog shop, and Instagram account. I am learning new design techniques for clothing and will soon branch out into "all over" shirt design. I am also paying particular attention to supporting women and older people, exactly the folks that the old image cuts out. The learning curve on social media is madness, but day by day I am learning more and getting my designs out there. My biz is brand new and its scary having no income but what might trickle in as people discover my designs, but I feel that if I have the training, skills and commitment to do this, it will succeed. My aim is to smash social stereotypes and that isnt easy, it might be an uphill battle, but its one I believe in and feel is necessary if we are to take cannabis from the prisons to the parks.
I am on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Canna-Collection. I am on SunFrog at www.sunfrog.com/NewVibe/Canna-Collection for shirts, hoodies, leggings and hats. I am just setting up on Cafe Press across a variety of products from mugs to mousepads and you can see an example at http://www.cafepress.com/mf/111170578/nyc-is-dope-blk_mugs?productId=139714302 . My big promotion at the moment is Dare to Cure with Cannabis which is a reversal of the D.A.R.E campaign's unfair targeting of marijuana as a gateway drug and you can see an example here https://www.sunfrog.com/141333566-1090394097.html?36182&collectionCrossSell=158863 .