The Gold Pax 2 ($279.99) joins the current Topaz, Charcoal, Platinum and Flare family of vaporizers. (Provided by Pax)

Gold standard: How Pax is capitalizing on vape culture

The hot streak continues for premium vaporizer brand Pax Labs, Inc. with back-to-back launches of two limited-edition Pax 2 designs.

Following last week’s announcement of its collaboration with chart-topper The Weeknd, today comes the release of a fifth colorway — brushed gold — for the second edition of Pax’s loose-leaf vaporizer.

Gold standard: Pax solidifies itself as the 'it' vape with two fresh launches
The Pax collaboration with Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd is a vaporizer available during his North American fall tour that’s engraved with the artist’s signature “XO” logo, a nod to his record label and even plays his hit “The Hills” when powering on the device. (Provided by Pax)

As the official co-sponsor of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s North American fall tour, which kicked off Nov. 3 in Toronto (no Colorado stop, sorry), “The Madness Tour Limited Edition Pax 2” is encased in a slick black shell.

The Weeknd’s Pax is so personalized, it’s engraved with the artist’s signature “XO” logo, a nod to his record label and even plays his hit “The Hills” when powering on the device. Pricier than the standard Pax 2 at $324.99, it’s available alongside regular concert merchandise in every city hosting The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye), as well as at select retailers and online.

The Gold Pax 2 ($279.99) joins the current Topaz, Charcoal, Platinum and Flare family, just in time for holiday season to gift the glitziest cannabis accessory of all. It’s only available for a short time and was introduced after repeated customer requests. Pax also recently added interchangeable flat mouthpieces in three neon hues for an even more personalized vaporizer.

“Self-expression is a big part of our cultural DNA. Art, music and fashion are all intrinsically tied to personal identity and influence the choices we make as a brand,” Pax Labs Inc.’s chief marketing officer Richard Mumby tells The Cannabist via email.

All of the sudden, Pax is seemingly everywhere its idyllically hip customer wants to be. Designer boutiques from coast to coast like Opening Ceremony (including their Ace Hotel outpost) in New York City and American Rag in Los Angeles, check. In the front row of Richard Chai’s Spring/Summer 2016 show, check. Acknowledgement from Racked as “fashion’s vaporizer,” check.

“Their aesthetic and approach is truly resonant in today’s culture, so it should come as no surprise that the fashion industry, one entirely built on looks and trends, would look at the vape market and see Pax as the clear front-runner,” says Zac Cohen, co-founder and creative director of Blank Space, a Denver-based branding agency.

Pax’s innovative retail game is all by design and part of the brand’s aggressive placement strategy among the coolest crowds across the country. But it’s beyond the impressive integration into the high-fashion scene. Pax has popped up in exclusive partnerships and parties on the music festival circuit over the past few years too at SXSW, Coachella, Pitchfork and Outside Lands.

Then there are the influencers. Pax has appeared in the hands of “Broad City” stars Ilana Glazer on-air — and off — along with her co-star Abbi Jacobson at an official wrap party. Seen at the latest season premiere party for “Inside Amy Schumer,” the vape manufacturer sponsored Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy Festival and got rave reviews early on from Babe Walker of #WhiteGirlProblems fame. Comedy is clearly another calculated move.

“Our team has developed great relationships with industry leaders across entertainment, music and fashion,” says Mumby. “We like to find opportunities where we can both introduce Pax to new consumers and to provide our customers awesome ways to engage with us.”

The “Broad City” stars pose with their Pax vapes:

Founded by two Stanford Design Program master’s graduates James Monsees and Adam Bowen in 2007 under the name Ploom and developed with the mission of “making smoking obsolete,” the San Francisco-based brand still won’t comment specifically on usage with cannabis, but their pop-culture immersion is helping the cause toward social acceptance.

“There’s certainly a fringe, niche vaping culture that’s emerged so far, but we see our brand playing a big role in expanding the vapor experience to a broader audience,” explains Mumby. “Our products need to be easy to use, and they need to be discreet lifestyle products that can go with you and fit with your life.” 

Entertainment and fashion industry involvement at this level comes with a high price tag, which for Pax is no longer a concern. Aside from growing sales, the company received $46.7 million in Series C venture capital financing in June — their first cash infusion since 2011. It’s also what helped Pax expand globally outside of the United States and Canada to the United Kingdom and Germany in September.

“It will be interesting to see if these limited-edition and significantly more expensive product runs sell well enough to warrant more attention and investment in fashion, music and other lifestyle sub-cultures,” says Cohen. “The industry is maturing rapidly with new consumer awakenings every day.”

Mumby says the social experimenting will continue. “We’ve been incredibly excited by the reception to Pax. Our customers are incredibly passionate and I’m really proud of our commitment to create exciting experiences for them, says Mumby. “There’s a lot more to come.”