It’s safe to say that Canada’s cannabis movement won’t go up in smoke any time soon.
Not only does each Toronto neighbourhood have at least one marijuana dispensary within walking distance, smoking weed is no longer seen as a bad habit reserved for lazy, Cheetos-eating delinquents in their parents’ basement.
Conversely, today’s modern stoner may be a respected lawyer, teacher, or parent (or grandparent, for that matter). He or she may have a nice car, a decent home, and an editorial-worthy wardrobe. Catering to this stoner is Tokyo Smoke, a luxury cannabis lifestyle brand, retail store, and coffee shop (because coffee and cannabis go hand-in-hand, right?).
A far cry from your typical underground incense-burning weed shop, the Tokyo Smoke brand received a cool $3 million in funding earlier this year and made headlines – while ruffling some feathers in the process – a few months back with a designer bong with a $13,000 price tag (yes, you read that right).
“Tokyo Smoke’s ultimate goal is cannabis normalization. A big part of that is showcasing that there isn’t one specific cannabis consumer,” says Josh Lyon, head of marketing and partnerships for Tokyo Smoke. “We see a big part of the evolution being that the vastly differing segments of people who consume cannabis have a comfort level being out in the open. We’re working very hard to give a home to people in the cannabis space who currently don’t feel like they have one.”
This involves speaking to the current sensibilities of the urban smoker with a design-first approach and a placement of cannabis alongside other verticals they know and trust.
Most recently, Tokyo Smoke opened the doors to a brand new Queen West flagship location. The sleek new 1000-square-foot spot – which joins the brand’s two other Toronto locations – is designed by the coveted, award-winning DesignAgency and is packed full of everything the refined, dollar-dropping stoner needs and didn’t know they needed. In addition to gourmet coffee (with a perk-filled, unlimited membership) and fresh pressed juices, you’ll find carefully selected cannabis accessories, apparel, and exclusive Queen West merchandise.
It’s also full of talking point-filled products like product collaborations with Tsubota, offering lighters in the Queue ($27) and Hard Edge ($34) sizes, and a collection of Tokyo Smoke branded odour-proof bags from Abscent in various sizes ($30-$80). Lovers of homemade edibles will appreciate the state-of-the-art Levo Machine($495); the first device created exclusively to infuse oil and butter with plant matter. You’ll also find things like exclusive, limited edition ceramic pipes, the GQ-favoured Genius Pipe (available in black and gold, cobalt, champagne and purple, $140), ‘Tokyo Smoke x Queen West’ rolling papers that feature the work of artist Dahae Song, and exclusive candles.
Keeping with the character of the surrounding vibrant neighbourhood, the store’s interior features an eclectic assortment of textures, materials, and patterns and is complete with original artworks, specialty lighting, and various collaborations. The flagship location is one of several brick-and-mortar stores that will open across North America in 2017, all designed in collaboration with DesignAgency.
Taking it a step further, the brand has recently introduced a magazine to cater to the needs of their curious, in-the-know clientele of weed lovers and will introduce their own strains of marijuana in Canada once it’s legalized.
So, who is exactly buying what they’re selling? “It’s actually quite a divergent group,” says Lyon. “While our general customer is early 30s, urban, creative, and cannabis-friendly, it really runs the gamut. The example I always give is that we had a couple in their early 70s come into our Bellwoods shop and buy a PAX vaporizer. We chatted with them and their feedback was that ours was the only shop they felt comfortable coming into, chatting about cannabis, and learning more.”
While Tokyo Smoke is in the business of catering to the stylish stoner, they’re also trying to fight stereotypes in the process. “Much like cannabis has so many amazing functions, there is such a diverse group of people who are cannabis consumers,” says Lyon. “For our customers, cannabis is a part of their life, not how they define themselves. We’re trying to showcase how cannabis can naturally fit into one’s life and how ‘cannabis culture’ can match with someone’s expectations when it comes to beauty, design, form and function.”
Tokyo Smoke is open from 7am to 7pm daily.
What do you think of Tokyo Smoke’s new flagship? Sound off in the comment section.
Featured Image: Kayla Rocca
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