What a year. Has it really only been a year? In one year, did our Seattle born-and-bred brand go from hometown hero to North America’s most recognized female cannabis brand? Yes. Is our team tired? Yes. Does the fresh flower help? Yes.
Because if I hadn’t lived it, I wouldn’t believe it.
Because if I don’t get it down on paper as it happens, I’ll regret it.
Because if I don’t get the details right today, I’m certain the important points and players will be left out tomorrow.
Let’s take a look at the not-so-small happenings for Van der Pop in 2017. Our second year.
Only fitting that Van der Pop got hitched in February. Acquired by Toronto-based Tokyo Smoke, we also set up shop in our first Seattle space to host SESSION. With black-and-white graphics wheat pasted on all surfaces, the brand’s signature design elements came to life and set the stage for SESSION at home and on the road.
March is my birthday month. And this fish asked White Rabbit High Tea (featured in NYT this month) to create an afternoon that – I’m happy to report – photographed more civilized than it played out.
To appropriately celebrate Spring Fever, in April Hot Box: Women’s Sexual Health in the Age of Legal Cannabis debuts. The Alchemist’s Kitchen in Manhattan hosted an evening of lively discussion on menstruation, menopause and sexual pleasure. Included in the audience were writers and journalists who published kind words - seen on Narrative.ly and Salon.
The next week was April 20th, aka 4/20. Van der Pop celebrated Cannabis Christmas at MedMen West Hollywood, one of California’s top dispensaries, where Poppins was revealed!
Designed over many late nights (and on my mind during daylight hours), this – the second incarnation of our signature stash bag – marks a professional high for me as a designer. Getting it right included visiting the 3rd-generation, family-operated leather goods manufacturer in Rome while on family vacation. (Grazie, la mia famiglia!)
May Flower. Finalized an agreement with Canada-based WeedMD to distribute Van der Pop-branded cannabis to patients across Canada. Check.
May Issue. Playboy publishes a few of my thoughts on weed and sex. Check. Plus.
Rewind to April. Hot Box debut in NYC. Audience members also included an NYU reproductive health professional. Let me repeat. An NYU reproductive health professional came to hear me – not a health professional! But a woman who has talked to a lot of women. About cannabis and sex. And cannabis for sex. And cannabis to relieve inflammation related to period pain or endometriosis. It goes on and on. And as a believer in passing down hard-earned or little-known wisdom, I knew information, education and simply sharing the stories of women was in Van der Pop’s immediate future.
So in June we shifted gears. Less time developing product to smoke, store and share cannabis and more time cultivating content to help women make informed decisions on all things related to cannabis. Content that we work tirelessly to get right. As right as our products. As compelling to read as our products are to use. With the same attention to detail synonymous with Van der Pop’s signature goods.
In July we launched SELF, our self-care line of hemp-seed oil products for beauty, body and brain. Remember this. It’ll be important later.
Summer SESSION could only happen in August. And only be a true happening if it were to take place in L.A. So we did that. With lots of our favorite partners in the industry including Canna Curious Club, etc…. Hot Box makes its West Coast debut complete with a slide show! (Wouldn’t you like to see that?) Five days of lots of hustle, lots of heart and lots of herb. In that order.
When it is learned that September 21st is International Day of Peace, well, it is decided this is the day VdP Voice drops. Make no mistake, Van der Pop is on a mission to help women find peace. A moment of peace. Peace of mind. The permission to peace out. It all counts.
How does Van der Pop end 2017 as strong as we started it? Enter November.
Van der Pop successfully launched in Canada. Van der Pop hosted Women & Weed in Toronto.
Van der Pop ships two medicinal strains crafted in partnership with WeedMD to patients throughout Canada. Van der Pop published the findings of a groundbreaking survey of over 1,500 cannabis consuming and/or curious women in North America.
Survey says: The top four reasons women consume cannabis are for stress relief, relaxation, pain management and to reduce anxiety. Months before we fully understood the significant role cannabis played in the wellness practices of female cannabis consumers, Van der Pop launched SELF.
Over the year and the year before, countless women have confided in us that they [voice lowers to a whisper] “cannot roll a joint.” Neither can I. Nor will I ever. Nor will you. Maybe we don’t have time to learn, and we definitely don’t have time to smoke a half-ass joint. Ladies, Van der Pop gives you Pop Sticks, our Signature pre-roll cones. Easy to pack. Smooth, slow burn. Showstoppers. And the chart topper for this year.
Mic dropped. Now the ball can. At least for one night.
Thanks for inviting us in with an open mind, inspiring us with your honesty, and including Van der Pop as part of your session.