Lauren Miele decided to become an entrepreneur while standing in the aisles of a CVS. That’s where she came up with the idea for Kushkards, her cannabis-friendly greeting card company, while on a break from work.
At the time, Miele was a designer in the bath accessories world, working on prints for shower curtains. Her very first Kushkard was a Christmas present for a weed-smoking friend. She went home, designed and printed the card, and rolled a few blunts to include inside.
Two years later, Kushkards are available in 40 stores in 12 states and two countries in dispensaries and other retail locations. There are cards for birthdays, weddings and thank yous; postcards from states like Colorado and Washington; and something for every holiday, from Christmas and Hannukah to Easter — and yes, of course, 420.
But what separates Kushkards from more traditional greeting card companies? Every card includes a built-in spot for a pre-roll (which is not included), plus a match striker, so you can light up right away after you open the card.
Meile’s inspiration for her cards comes from everywhere. “Who’s around me, who I’m hanging out with, what am i looking at,” she says. On Instagram, she follows a mix of cannabis influencers and stationary companies like Papyrus. Picking a favorite card is like picking a favorite child, but Miele says she’s still fond of the very first Kushkard, the High Wishes, the one she thought of back in the CVS. “I saw a card in the stationary section that said ‘Big Wishes’, and I just knew it in that moment,” she says. It also happens to be her top-selling birthday card.
Kushkards started as a side gig. Meile set up her website and Instagram account and started traveling to events like the Cannabis Cup with a backpack full of Kushkards in tow. At first, it took a lot of cold calling to build up her clientele. Then Miele came to Denver. Within two days, she made enough wholesale orders to cover her rent for a month. With that, Miele gave up her life as a New York City designer and made the permanent move to Colorado.
Now she’s made a name for herself online and off.
“People are like, ‘You’re Kushkards,’” she laughs. “People call me that sometimes. People know me because of Kushkards.”
In the next year, Miele hopes to turn Kushkards from a small mom-and-pop — she literally runs the company with her parents at the moment — to a business with an office, a production team, and her own printer. One day, Miele even hopes to establish a Kushkards pop-up shop, where customers can mix and match cards with pre-rolls, concentrates and more.
“It really is a passion,” she says. “It really makes me happy to make something that will hopefully be in normal stores like CVS or Target. Let’s change it up!”
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