Meet the Women Making Your Chill-Out Sesh Super Pretty
Sometime between Cheech and Chong, Dazed and Confused, The Big Lebowski, and every Seth Rogen movie ever, marijuana as the domain of chill bros has gone up in smoke. There’s Bad Gal RiRi, Abbi and Ilana, and--somehow both surprisingly and not--Martha Stewart, who claims to know how to roll a perfect joint. According to recent studies by the Cannabis Consumer Coalition, more women are smoking than ever before, and it’s in large part due to destigmatization, more control over how and what we’re consuming, and of course, the legalization of recreational use, most recently in California, Nevada and Massachusetts. It’s an industry that’s expected to grow to $20.2 billion in sales by 2021, and to date, twenty-six states plus Washington D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana in some form.
All of which is to say it’s an industry primed to be shaped by a wide range of visionaries, ranging from inevitable corporate takeovers to more niche players. Follow the latter in the direction of an increasingly pot-positive female demographic and you might find yourself coming across Luren Jenison and Lydia Okrent, co-founders of Sweetflag, a.k.a. the prettiest smoking-accessories online shop you’ve ever seen. Founded in March of last year, the two friends met in the Philly arts scene--Luren a recent graduate from RISD and Lydia pursuing dance. But after Lydia moved to New York for her career a few years back, the friends had a hard time without each other--so much so, in fact, that they decided to start up a little business venture to bridge the gap; “We were looking for ways to be in each other's lives more like we had been before when we lived in the same city,” Luren explained.
The carefully curated site, divided into a “before,” “during,” and “after” section, showcases artfully crafted products such as incense burners, heavenly smelling mists, tiny storage dishes, an elegant pipe named after Gandalf that manages to be simultaneously elegant and pleasantly nerdy, air purifying cubes, eye masks for sleeping, and even earrings made out of fresh olive leaves. Their impulse was to create a space with a more “feminine touch” within an industry where phallic bongs are the industry standard. “We were looking to do sort of a Creatures of Comfort version of smoking accessories,” as Luren put it, and clearly, they’ve tapped into something.
It should be noted, however, that Sweetflag is explicitly not a company that sells accessories for drugs; rather, they’re an “online retailer for inspiring and restorative home goods, accessories, and smoking accoutrements,” and they “elevate everyday rituals and enhance your state of mind by celebrating time for contemplation, wonder, and whimsy,” as their website states. The carefully worded language is in large part a reaction to that other thing that happened on November 8: Along with the much-celebrated passage of recreational use in those three states, Donald Trump won the presidency, and in the months since, he’s appointed a famously anti-marijuana attorney general to head up the justice department (cue the marijuana industry collectively quoting The Dude: “This aggression will not stand, man.”) And so Sweetflag customers are thus warned: “Do not buy these products for illegal purposes. Do not ask us about illegal activities.”
You heard the ladies. Don’t ask; just play your tiny saxophone pipe and mind your own business.