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Women Led Brands: The Fantastic Four

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Women Led Brands: The Fantastic Four

Doreen Sullivan of My Bud Vase.

Women Led Brands: The Fantastic Four

These powerhouse brands are led by extraordinary women: Gela Nash-Taylor, Doreen Sullivan, Jacquie Aiche and Carolyn Chu.

In a world traditionally dominated by male entrepreneurs and business magnates, the winds of change are stirring. Breaking barriers and redefining leadership, a new era of cannabis brands is emerging—and these women are leading the charge

Potent Goods cannabis brands
Gela Nash-taylor. Photos courtesy of Potent Goods

Gela Nash-Taylor

Co-founder, Potent Goods

The street-style aesthetic of the early 2000s can largely be attributed to Gela Nash-Taylor, one-half of the duo that brought Los Angeles casual luxury to the world with the fashion phenomenon known as Juicy Couture. Nash-Taylor is a natural creator, be it fashion, brands or experiences. She says she’s fascinated by how different clothing, silhouettes, colors and textures can alter your mood, asserting the same is true for cannabis. This realization, in part, led to the 2021 launch of her luxury cannabis lifestyle brand, Potent Goods, which she founded with her son, Travis Nash. The line features a collection of high-end ready-to-wear fashion and accouterments for the “self-confessed maximalist.”

“I wanted to bring my love affair with fashion, clothing and texture to the world of cannabis,” Nash-Taylor says. The brand’s philosophy is based on enhancing the consumer experience with every stitch and seam. “It needs to feel incredibly tactile, be soft and awaken your senses—smoking in a beautiful loungewear set heightens the experience,” Nash-Taylor says. “And it needs to be fun!” She says Potent Goods treats every customer touchpoint with care. “All of the prints of the packaging match back to the clothing—we’re packaging-obsessed,” Nash-Taylor says. “All our pens are very tactile, soft to the touch and covered in the same prints as our clothing.” 

Nash-Taylor says she started smoking cannabis in college “when it wasn’t exactly legal” and took a hiatus while she built the Juicy empire. But a trip to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to see her husband John Taylor’s superstar band, Duran Duran, sent her on a new trajectory. While her first dispensary tour wasn’t quite the Barney’s New York shopping experience she was used to, she says the “exhilaration of being able to smoke cannabis legally was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.”

California’s dreamy, aqua-hued endless summer vibes continue to inspire Nash-Taylor, she says. “Casual luxury is everything I love about the California lifestyle, and cannabis is synonymous with California culture.”

Nash-Taylor wants women in the cannabis industry to know one thing: “I’ve been a woman in business since 1989,” she says. “Cannabis, like many industries, is very much a boy’s club. That hasn’t stopped me before, and it won’t stop me now. I love that there’s a concerted effort to celebrate women in cannabis. The women in our industry are passionate, committed and proud of what we’re accomplishing—we should be celebrated.”

My Bud Vase cannabis brands
Doreen Sullivan. Photos courtesy of My Bud Vase

Doreen Sullivan

Founder, My Bud Vase

Creative powerhouse Doreen Sullivan founded My Bud Vase to change the perception of water pipes. She says she’s on a mission to destigmatize cannabis by creating charming smokeware pieces from distinctive flower vases and, in the process, Sullivan has built a community that adores her kitschy creations.

She describes her relationship with cannabis as one of “artistry, inspiration and evolution” and credits the plant for some of her strongest ideas. Sullivan says she’s passionate about improving the industry so others can rely on this gift of nature for health, happiness and a better life.

“As a woman in this industry, I feel a tremendous sense of pride to growing My Bud Vase into a distinguished brand with beautiful products, especially for women,” Sullivan says. “There’s no wider gap in style and preference than the gap between men and women in the paraphernalia industry. I’m obsessed with changing this in the most beautiful ways by designing and manufacturing luxury products for women, by a woman who consumes cannabis.”

Jacquie Aiche cannabis brands
Jacquie Aiche. Photos courtesy of Jacquie Aiche

Jacquie Aiche

Founder, Jacquie Aiche

From her Beverly Hills studio, Jacquie Aiche designs must-have jewelry with a twist for her extensive “tribe,” including A-listers such as Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Vanessa Hudgens. Her covetable trinkets are more like amulets made from precious gemstones chosen for their positive properties.

The jewelry boxes of celebs and bougie stoners alike all want to include a piece from her Sweet Leaf Collection, a range of chic jewelry pieces and accessories, including snakeskin “doob tubes” and clutch purses to clothing, all emblazoned with the iconic pot leaf.

“Cannabis is such a botanical beauty,” Aiche says. “I’ve always seen the marijuana leaf as a symbol of freedom and a source of happiness. The first cannabis-inspired piece I designed was our sweet leaf stud in 2008. My tribe’s love for the collection has grown and grown ever since.”

Papers + Ink cannabis brands
Carolyn Chu. Photos courtesy of Papers + Ink

Carolyn Chu

Founder/CEO Papers + Ink

Papers + Ink is a BIPOC woman-owned cannabis accessories company for the sophisticated and stylish consumer. The company creates beautiful 100 percent, organic hemp rolling papers inspired by vintage textiles, botanicals and fashion.

Founded in 2019 by CEO Carolyn Chu to celebrate creativity and inclusivity, Papers + Ink uses the power of design to highlight important social issues, including women’s rights and voting. Chu says they only collaborate with like-minded peers who are committed to being uniquely and unapologetically their authentic selves as our Blazers and Trailblazers.

“I enjoy being a woman in cannabis so I can create exciting products that normalize plant medicine and allow people—especially women—to be open about their consumption,” Chu says.

This story was originally published in issue 48 of the print edition of Cannabis Now. Read it now on the Cannabis Now iTunes app.

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