Cannacity's Lisa Lindo on Hemp Fashion and Cannabis Creators
Lisa Lindo is a development manager, film distributor, producer and vice president of the Milan International Film Festival, overseeing a range of international projects. As CEO of hemp clothing lifestyle brand Cannacity, her focus has been on developing and designing their collections and identifying collaborative opportunities in the 420 space.
Earlier this month, Cannacity announced a partnership to be the official designer and production partner of The Artsy Leaf, the centralized marketplace for 420-friendly small businesses, artisans and creators.
We spoke with Lisa for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.
Lisa, tell us...
Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you're based.
Settled into the Pacific Northwest, aka the U.S.'s Emerald Triangle, Cannacity began by hosting a series of wonderful high-end art and fashion shows celebrating all things 420. Our soirees included everything from free CBD massages to panels on home growing from master growers, all to spotlight our collective of cannartists. We'd been commissioning images of fierce females smoking cannabis, developing the pieces and curating them for a bit, which led to Cannacity's debut clothing line of streetwear threadz we called "She's Smokin." Our kickoff 12-hour incubator event rang in 4/20/2019 on the 19th at midnight in the heart of West Hollywood. Our next Cannacity pop-up was at Jaime Foxx's home during film icon F. Gary Gray's 50th birthday as part of a bunch of hemp-centric, art-focused 420 brands, so 2019 was really a full year.
As CEO of a growing lifestyle brand, it is kind of my responsibility to figure out how to get the word out, and those soirees were legendary. Most importantly, as we were taking the time to put together a breathtaking collection, we were also testing out hemp materials for the line. Working with hemp instead of some other more traditional clothing material means you are part of an ecosystem that is so much more sustainable. We are big promoters of using hemp in your life wherever you can replace cotton. In fact, both hemp and bamboo are more sustainable and our blend turned out rather nicely.
Now that real life meetups are currently out of fashion, my role is to help recruit artists, commission art, develop the pieces, and work with our design team to fashion the best, well, fashion and all sorts of premium merch. It feels good to be doing something creative and rewarding during this crazy time. Unfortunately, with no public get-togethers in sight, our team is back to huddling in Southern Oregon, Los Angeles and London, reaching out to our fans at virtual events like Harlem's Hip Hop Film Festival and CES, and we've begun a series of collaborations with other brands which made us the "go-to" for creating personalized 420 merch.
Your earliest cannabis memory.
Oddly enough, I did not know what pot was, but it was 1976 (yes, I'm old) and my mother thought I would run into it sooner or later, so she and my stepfather called me aside in our home and handed me a joint. They were all giggly and said, well, just that—sooner or later someone is going to hand you this, and we would rather it be us.
A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.
Cannabis has been a theme that's woven in and out of my life since I was in high school. Although I drank in college, I never really liked it much, so eventually I realized cannabis would be my drug of choice. Little did I know there would be an entire world of CBD that would relieve my osteoarthritis, or THC bath salts that could undo pinched nerves. It definitely helps to live in an area that's legalized cannabis, and now that all these other states have chosen legalization, those of us who really prefer the healing qualities of the magical plant can feel welcome to spread about the country. Legally. It is that freedom that we are looking to capture and normalize through our offerings.
A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.
We love flower in our home and have edibles on tap. My absolute favorite are the chocolates from HONU. Their turtles are amazingly delicious, but our go-to are these white chocolates with lemon and lavender. I drop one of those into a mug of warm milk or coffee and I'm good to start my day. As far as strains, I think besides Alibi's signature strain Rainbow Crush, we've kinda fallen in love with Blue City Cookies lately. Yummy.
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.
Well, when you have dreams of doing "Welcome to Cannacity" pop-ups around the world at live events with music, fashion shows, art shows, or you've been planning satellite venues at film festivals ... and then all conventions, concerts, festivals and hotspots completely disappear, it can be super disheartening. Surviving meant recreating who we are. Cannabis is helping so many get through these trying times that the industry is booming. We've set up a strategy to capitalize on that while also, more importantly for us, e-serving our community. The opportunity came to us to collab on face coverings that feature our art, and wow did they come out gorgeous. The response in dispensaries was immediate and explosive; customers are obsessed with our art and they really move. It looks like people will need masks for the foreseeable future, so it was the perfect gateway product to offer stores and is often the foundation for collabs with other 420 brands. Subscription boxes and 420 Shopping Guides consider them essential additions.
One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.
I think right now we're most excited about our official partnerships rolling out in 2021: the wonderful people at WEiC (Women Empowered in Cannabis), Ghost Box and Lucky Box, to name a significant few. The fun part for us with any opportunity is figuring out exactly which art pieces match with a brand's (and even a product's) personality.
A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.
Well, NORML, of course. If not for them, many of us wouldn't even be in this space now. I'm also a member of a few groups that support women in the cannabis industry—specifically, Arcview's Women's Investor Network, Tokeativity, Women Empowered in Cannabis, and Haus of Jane. These groups that focus on activism and networking have given me life. We especially support Minorities for Medical Marijuana, who work tirelessly to support diversity and inclusion in the weed boom, an industry that has traditionally been used as a weapon against people of color.
Our whole ethos is to feature strong, empowered women imbibing with the goal of normalizing our culture through fashion and art. Before we founded Cannacity, myself and our president, Franklin Johnson, met while working on the #HempCanSaveThePlanet campaign in D.C. lobbying Congress for legalization. So we're pro activism. Look at where we are now. Arizona is now legalized, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota all passed recreational cannabis laws the last election cycle. Heck, Oregon decriminalized all drugs, so this is a perfect time for a company like ours that celebrates the culture to thrive.
Now because we raise money for charity, not all our fierce females are smoking. We make a point of giving equal time to smoking hot femmes who aren't actually smoking. Like our RBG line that raises funds in support of the good work done by the ACLU. Her "Notorious" mask is gorgeous and comes with PM 2.5 filters so it's super strong and made from amazingly soft material. So they're soft and strong, just like RBG. It's all about policy. With enough of these states legalizing cannabis, thereby legalizing hemp, it will allow hemp to boom domestically and that would be so very helpful as our industry has definitely started to feel the strain from Covid-related supply-chain issues.
The best part of what I do? We tithe to a different charity for every limited-edition streetwear line, whether it's a hemp T-shirt, a fashion face covering or joint case kit. Last year from Cannacity's "Fire" collection, we raised funds for MusiCares, the Grammys' Covid artist relief fund. This year we are working to support ACCESS, who have been total heroes since the fires devastated our part of Southern Oregon. We lost dispensaries but some lost everything, so we're glad we can give to a charity that has touched people we know personally.
A recent project you're proud of.
We were approached to create a campaign for Alibi, a Tier 2 grower in Northern Oregon that services about 40 dispensaries around the state. Establishing the right feel for the shirts we'd ultimately partner with them on was really enjoyable. We created a slogan for them, "All she really needed was an Alibi," and partnered that with our curated artwork, "Nikki M," enjoying an Alibi joint and wearing the Alibi logo as a charm on her necklace. We definitely have a unique ability in providing exciting marketing solutions for the brands we love.
Someone else's project you admired recently.
Med Men, but specifically their Spike Jonze directed spot about legalization. It's gorgeously shot, it's focused on the kind of people who take their kids to the Museum of History, so it elevates our story, and perfectly shows the evolution of normalization.
Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.
Snoop Dogg and Martha have probably gone farther than most in normalizing all things 420. Seeing their two styles clash and blend speaks to the heart of our industry, which is really about inclusion and passing a peace pipe.
A movie, TV show, food or music you most enjoy pairing with cannabis.
Well, no one does it like Cypress Hill. I especially enjoy all their goofy posts on social media. And really, we think cannabis goes with everything, but of course, from our perspective, it really goes well with creating and enjoying art. Stoned painting parties were the best and we look forward to offering them again when things open up next year.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
Well, someone like me crosses a bunch of lines. I actually manage intellectual property for a living. And Cannacity is one of the IPs that sits in a basket of projects I help guide with targeted collabs and business opportunities. I'll probably be managing writers and artists until my last days. I love working with creators.