As I sat inside the rain-drenched entrance of one of the largest hemp product companies in America, I couldn’t help but sympathize. After hours of wrestling the company truck out of a hemp field-turned muddy nightmare, Dime Bags founder and CEO Tim Morrissey asked if he could quickly run home to change his clothes. As much as I love the smell of hours of physical labor mixed with the notoriously unpredictable Colorado rain, I happily obliged.
Moments later a profusely apologetic and surprisingly well put together Morrissey led me through the warehouse doors. If it weren’t for the light pattering of the rain on the roof, you wouldn’t have known it was a gloomy day. From the shipping fulfillment to customer service department, everyone was smiling. It wasn’t the type of happiness you could force; it came from a love and appreciation of the company as well as Morrissey’s leadership. This was a work family born from an era of complete prohibition, a family that wasn’t ready to forget the trials and tribulations that led them to where they are today.
Morrissey is a long-time cannabis activist and entrepreneur. Like many great ideas, this company started with the need to solve a problem. After years of personal consumption and activism, he noticed a hole in the market. Before, tokers would carry their glass bongs and pipes in their pockets, and more commonly, their backpacks. Personal smokers had to worry about being harassed by police, and with “probable cause,” searched. In addition to the legal mess of transporting your smoking devices, traditional backpacks simply weren’t cutting it when it came to protection against breakage.
Large retailers and glass aficionados had a different type of problem: safely transporting high-dollar glass pieces to trade shows and head shops across the country. With vaporizers and expensive glass works of art growing in the market, Morrissey set out to answer a previously unsolved problem.
With an extensive background in manufacturing and cannabis activism, Morrissey stepped foot into a difficult yet rewarding industry in 2007. Dime Bags began with a simple principle, to provide consumers with fashionable and functional accessories that represent what they believe in.
“Everyone else already had their thing,” Morrissey said. “The surfers and skaters had their style, the hipsters and punk kids had a distinct look as well, but the cannabis culture was lacking in a style they could call their own and be proud of. It’s a genuine lifestyle choice to let others know you are for the end of prohibition. You should have the creative freedom to wear products specifically tailored to your style and beliefs.”
With a passion for creating sustainable accessories for the cannabis activist, Morrissey created the first 14 sketches and drew up a business plan for Dime Bags. Even with its start in the famously-cannabis friendly city of San Francisco, building the business from scratch was no easy feat.
Morrissey has been turned down by banks, insurance companies and has received continual criticism from both his Colorado neighbors and the public at large. Even though Dime Bags does not touch any illegal aspect of the hemp and cannabis industry, the over cautious and ill-informed nature of big business has kept him on his toes.
Morrissey laughs when he recalls his mother’s reaction to the start of his business and the stark contrast she provides today.
“Before, she didn’t want to tell people what I do; she was afraid of the criticism she may receive,” he said. “Now, her purse of choice is a Dime Bag, and carries business cards that say ‘Dime Bag Mom’ on them.”
After years of misinformation and propaganda, it came as no surprise that the initial reaction to cannabis culture of many is hesitant and over-cautious. Dime Bags are made of a unique blend of hemp and polyester, known as ‘Hempster.’ Morrissey chose this blend not only for its durability but also as a way to make a statement and show consumers the multiple benefits of the hemp plant.
“We want the green collar worker – the fasting growing sector in American history – to be proud to be in the industry, and to have a product that reflects that.”
Morrissey wanted to create a product that broke the stigma, a product that could be worn by anyone. As it turns out, consumers agree. The initial release of the first Dime Bags was met with praise and support from like-minded consumers.
From its initial inception, Dime Bags has always been about creating quality products. From the dog-ear double stitching to the cotton-lined interior, Morrissey never skimps on quality.
“If you really want to know if a bag will last, look inside.”
The stitching never lies, he says. The Hempster blend is certainly not the cheapest way to manufacture the bags, but Morrissey says it’s what the consumers want.
“We’ve been called the Louis Vuitton of hemp bags,” he says.
In addition to the attention to detail, Morrissey has set out to create a product that is sustainable and environmentally conscientious.
“We’re looking to create products that don’t end up in landfills,” he said. “These bags will last a lifetime.”
From the recycled tags to the sustainably-sourced hemp, Dime Bags continues to make a statement with its products.
Now, the company has evolved to carry a wide range of products that fit not only the needs of cannabis consumers, but those looking for a stylish and durable hemp product as well. All Dime Bags come with a smell-proof, leak-proof pouch, removable label, and Fourth Amendment breakdown.
Morrissey states his reasoning for continual activism.
“Don’t be fooled by legalization – the fight isn’t over yet,” he says.
Dime Bags continues to look out for its consumers, in the form of informational Fourth Amendment tags and tongue-in-cheek stickers that state, “Come back with a warrant.”
With the growing support of hemp-manufactured products, competition in this hemp apparel sector has grown. For a business that has been in the industry for over 10 years, Morrissey isn’t worried.
“For anyone looking to get in the business – don’t be fooled by legalization, it’s not over yet. You have to earn your dues; you have to earn your respect. Ending prohibition has to come first, do right by the community. Have some respect for those who fought for your right to be here.”
Dime Bag’s customers continue to return, not only for their high-quality products, but also for the company’s customer service.
“We rarely receive complaints. If we do, it’s usually a misunderstanding,” Morrissey says. “Everyone has a bad day once in a while. We love our customers as much as they love us.”
Continual activism and a passion for creating quality products consumers has kept Dime Bags in head shops and retail stores across the globe. As global acceptance of cannabis continues to grow, Morrissey hopes that the advocates who paved the way aren’t forgotten.
As for the future of Dime Bags, Morrissey is already thinking ahead.
“After a while, consumers stop asking you to make certain products, and start looking to you for the next big thing,” he said.
TELL US, how to your transport your glass?