In some cool cannabis collaboration news, on-the-rise lifestyle brands Tokyo Smoke and Van der Pop have officially joined forces.
Tokyo Smoke, which is moving toward U.S. expansion from its Toronto headquarters, has acquired Van der Pop, a Seattle-based company with a female-focused line of smoking accoutrements. Financial details were not disclosed in Wednesday’s announcement.
“Canada’s impending legalization has made us ever more confident that thoughtfully conceived and design-based brands will define our future,” Tokyo Smoke co-founder Alan Gertner told The Cannabist via email.
The new collaboration is a match made in high style heaven, as Van der Pop has emerged as one of the hippest online head shops in the retail space. Seattle’s style-savvy set might already know the name April Pride — the eponymous label founder and CEO, whose line luxury stash jars, cases, rolling papers, grinders and greeting cards is rooted in her signature style, which while geared toward women, is minimalistic and discreet for all.
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With $3 million in fresh capital from recently completed Series A fundraising, Tokyo Smoke has also developed four branded soon-to-be released cannabis strains in partnership with one of Canada’s largest licensed producers of medical marijuana, Aphria Inc. Under the guidance of Gertner, a former Google strategist who traded in corporate life to work in weed, the brand has expanded from its flagship coffee shop and boutique with a second “Outpost” location and launched an online shop with private-label threads and accessories.
Pride and Gertner shared with The Cannabist how the entrepreneurs connected. After reading an article about Tokyo Smoke, Pride immediately sent a blind email to Gertner giving him props for creating a brand from what she learned was a very similar mind-set.
“The next day, thanks to a chance trip to Seattle while he was scouting retail space for Tokyo Smoke’s first U.S. flagship (slated to open later this year), the two of us found ourselves talking pot shop talk over a beer in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week,” Pride said.
“We were approaching the industry with similar ideology, from products to partnerships to standards of pot itself. In the most important ways, the values and plan for his company starkly resembled the same I’d adopted for Van der Pop,” she said.
According to Gertner, “We found common ground in design-driven products that will enhance consumer experiences and elevate the cannabis market.”
Van der Pop’s full line will be sold at all Tokyo Smoke retail locations, and the brands will also collaborate on limited new products with Pride assuming the role of chief creative officer for both companies. The Van der Pop website — which allows users to host private “Session” shopping parties and explores the cannabis lifestyle with a “Dear Vandy” advice column, strain reviews and “Stash Check 1-2-1-2” series — will also remain up and running.
[Full disclosure: I was honored when the Vandy gals recently asked me to share my own stash with them. You can take a peek here.]