In case you weren't aware, subscription boxes are all the rage these days. And as medical marijuana becomes more mainstream, so are smoking accessories.
Elite Daily spoke with Bryan Gerber, CEO of Hemper Box, a marijuana accessories subscription box service, about the joys and difficulties of breaking into the canna-business.
The original idea for Hemper Box was born out of necessity, with Gerber and his buddies ordering raw rolling papers in bulk off of Amazon toward the end of college. Gerber says,
We were going through a pack of papers every three days. We were like, look, there has to be a cheaper, easier way to get this to my door.
Only there weren't tons of ways to get smoking basics for cheap. After doing a bit of research, Gerber found the existing subscription boxes on the market to be padded with unnecessary fillers (t-shirts, snacks, hats and the like). Bewildered by the slim pickings, Gerber says,
I searched the web for a box that just had your essentials -- your lighter, your filter tips, your blunt wraps, papers, cones -- whatever it is, right? And there was literally no box out there that just sent basic essentials every month.
Determined to make the buying experience easier for not only themselves, but for the entire cannabis-loving community, Gerber -- along with his friends and business partners, Ravjot Bhasin (CFO) and Henry Kochhar (COO) -- set off to see what they could do. After graduating from college in May of last year, Gerber moved to New York with his two partners and began packing and shipping their first 35 orders.
From there, business has exploded after jumping from 50 subscriptions in June to 125 in July and 900 in August of last year.
But what really set them apart from other cannabis-oriented boxes was the idea to have celebrity guests curate the items. The company started with popular YouTubers guest curating the boxes, with Kimmy Tan in October being one of its most popular boxes.
It's like, people have been watching you for months. Now they get a chance to smoke like you for a month and live your smoking lifestyle? It's pretty unique, and you get to connect with them on a totally different level.
Obviously, this method has resonated with consumers. Today, Hemper Box has more than 6,000 monthly paying subscribers after being in business for a mere eleven months. With that success, though, comes challenges they couldn't have anticipated. As Gerber explains,
Probably our biggest issue, honestly, is finding suppliers who can actually meet these quantity demands.
Apparently, most manufacturers aren't equipped to churn out 5,000 glass pieces in a few weeks.
The company stays on top of things by having different pricing options to accommodate every stoner's changing needs. They have a bare essentials box that, for 99 cents plus $2 for shipping, will get you a clipper lighter, king-sized rolling papers, perforated filter tips and a fun mystery item. That's just three dollars for the most basic box, something other companies haven't been able to rival.
Elite Daily got to take the Flosstradamus curated box for a spin.
The boxes are like presents you give to yourself. Depending on how high you are, you'll likely forget you went gift shopping for yourself in the first place, making the experience all the more delightful.
Opening the box at the office and showing it to my boss has to signify that we, as a culture, are transitioning out of the lazy, jobless stoner narrative.
Granted, we're not lighting up while jumping on conference calls, but marijuana has definitely lost some of its taboo edge -- and that's a good thing. Gerber says he wants to change the "stupid stoner" stereotype by instead catering to the "functional stoner -- you know, real people." The people he markets to might include "the Wall Street guy that doesn't want to walk down the street to 7-11 to get his papers at night" or someone like himself, "a young professional." Gerber says of the typical cannabis user's experience,
Walking into a head shop is kind of bizarre. It's like, you know, you're getting yelled at for saying the word 'bong'... But I'm changing the stigma. I'm bringing back premium lifestyle culture smoking.
The intrinsic curiosity we have to know the private lifestyles of our idols will serve Hemper Box well. And as the cannabis lifestyle moves out of the private and into the public sphere, we're likely to all be surprised by the multi-faceted uses and cultures revolving around this humble plant.
You can enter the Dancing Astronaut's giveaway for a chance to win a Flosstradamus curated Hemper Box and a three-month subscription by going here. You can also subscribe to receive a Hemper Box any time by checking out their website.