The Luxury Cannabis Brand That’s Changing the Industry
Written by: the Editors of goop
Published on: February 28, 2019
Updated on: November 14, 2022
Maybe you’ve heard: Cannabis is having a moment. But as with all things that hit critical mass, there will also be a moment when the market is oversaturated. Too many options. Too many decisions. It becomes overwhelming. Besides it’s not even legal yet. Or maybe it is. A little. In some places.
That burnout was at the forefront of Adrian Sedlin’s mind when he created his cannabis company, Canndescent. Sedlin didn’t want to create just another cannabis
brand—or anything that fell into the expected conventions of the burgeoning industry. So he looked elsewhere for inspiration. He looked to luxury brands. He looked to Hermès x Apple. That’s how he came up with a cannabis brand a whole lot more sophisticated than “420” or “Aunt Mary.” Sedlin named his products based on various effects associated with cannabis. The options: Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, and Charge.
The streamlined approach is more accessible and inclusive for a wider audience, says Canndescent’s chief marketing officer, Jenna Habayeb. Before pivoting to cannabis, Habayeb worked in fashion marketing, so she brought her luxury tool kit to Sedlin’s vision—and to the cannabis industry. It’s a unexpected union—fashion and weed—but as we learned when we spoke to Habayeb, it all makes a weird kind of sense.
(As always, check your state’s current marijuana legislation.)
A Q&A with Jenna Habayeb
When we looked at the cannabis industry, we realized there was a lot of room for improvement in terms of the customers’ experience and putting them first. Our CEO, Adrian Sedlin, saw these problems in the marketplace. If you know anything about cannabis, you know you can get Blue Dream; you can get Durban Poison; you can get Pineapple Express. The reality is that different people are growing them different ways, so even if you get a certain strain one day, you may not necessarily get the exact same experience the next day. As a luxury brand—think about coffee and Starbucks—you expect to get that same experience consistently. You couldn’t get that consistency anywhere in cannabis, and so that’s why we moved to our five-effect structure: Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, and Charge. We wanted to create something that was aspirational and fit naturally into your lifestyle.
It was about opening people’s eyes to how cannabis could benefit them. And it was about simplifying their experience. The dispensary experiences are overwhelming. There are thousands of different strain names. People are confused and intimidated. If you’re not accustomed to using cannabis responsibly or if you’re new to it, your first experience might be a little psychoactive. You might get a little nervous. You don’t always have people helping explain things to you, between the strain names and all the other indicators, like THC, CBD, terpenes, indica, sativa, and hybrid. We wanted to offer a curated assortment that was easy to shop from and to use.
Another main issue Adrian saw was quality. You’re coming out of a black market into something that now has to be standardized, and the quality’s all over the place. Weed used to come in little baggies, and you’d think: What is in that? What am I taking into my body? It’s a very personal experience, so the way we’ve built Canndescent is by growing and cultivating everything indoors. We can control and measure eight environmental variables to consistently deliver ultra-premium-quality products. That’s how we are able to have our five-effects-based architecture; it’s something that we have trademarked.
Excellence is a core value. A brand is a promise of an experience, and we’re always looking for ways to enhance that experience for our customer, from our signature orange box with a magnetic seal, to the ultra-premium flower our cultivation team meticulously grows and extracts into oil, to the imagery we create to convey our brand ethos, to the way we engage with our customers and dispensaries.
We also realize the world can be very intense—we see that there is more stress and there are more expectations than ever, and we see an opportunity to help.
For me, it’s about accessibility and approachability. We want to be one of the brands that help cannabis shed its negative stigma and, more importantly, make it more available to the people who need it the most. If we can be part of curating people’s experiences so they have a great outcome, then I believe we’re one step closer to helping people better their lives.
The industry has been very much male-dominated. You see it in terms of the customer base at dispensaries, but the rate of women entering the industry is exponentially growing. You’re seeing more brands coming online for that; you’re seeing more publishers talking about it. I think the biggest opportunity now is to enhance the retail experience to make it more female-friendly. Women like to engage with brands, touch and feel packaging, read labels. They tend to look for some type of organization or flow of a retail experience, like Sephora or Whole Foods, where there are a lot of options but the products are displayed in a way that promotes self-discovery.
I’ve never been in an industry with such a wide range of diversity in terms of experience levels, career paths, education, ethnicity, gender, even age. It’s exciting to see this beautiful melting pot of great human beings all coming together to make a powerful plant more accessible to the world. It’s very inspiring.
I also knew there were headwinds to face in an industry that just came out of prohibition and that is still federally illegal, but it wasn’t until I was in the day-to-day that I realized how much harder it is to do basic things in this industry. There are banking issues, cultivation learnings, marketing restrictions, and a constant flux in regulation. We always say if something can go wrong, it definitely will in cannabis. You have to be prepared with multiple contingency plans. But you’re starting to see people from all walks of life coming out of the woodwork to get involved in the cannabis movement. There’s a lot of excitement and eagerness to see cannabis succeed.
We focused on perfecting our flower for the last three years, and now we’ve moved into one of the fastest-growing categories in cannabis—vaping. We just launched our brand-new Stylus vape pen and ultra-premium cartridges that come in our five signature effects. The pen is rechargeable and looks really sleek, like an accessory. There’s been an insanely positive reaction to this launch. We can barely keep them on the shelf.
We’re also planning to expand beyond this, too. We’ve been looking at new customers that are just coming into cannabis and also looking at our current die-hard fans to address what they want and what could enhance their experience with Canndescent. Some things in the pipeline include edibles and ingestibles, as well as special, limited-edition products.
I always joke that I wish I could clone myself and go to people’s homes and ask them what they’re looking for to get them comfortable with the idea cannabis. It’s not even about promoting our products; I just want customers to feel like they have the information they need to make decisions. Ultimately, I want them to have a great experience. The last thing I want is for their first experiences to be overwhelming, like “I can’t feel my hands or my face—I’m never trying this again.” Knowledge is power when it comes to cannabis and that’s what we’re trying to simplify for our fans and customers.
This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.