Sackville's Hayley Dineen and Lana Van Brunt on Bringing High Design to Cannabis
Hayley Dineen and Lana Van Brunt are the Brooklyn-based duo behind Sackville & Co., a design-focused contemporary cannabis lifestyle brand, and Sackville Studios, the first multidisciplinary cannabis design and production studio creating brands from the ground up for both cannabis industry leaders and newcomers alike.
Dineen cut her teeth at the world-renowned arts and design college Central St. Martin’s in London, going on to design for high-end brands including Yeezy, OVO, Vivienne Westwood and more. Van Brunt employs her marketing and branding genius to the Sackville brand from her time as a Director at VICE Media and ATTN: Media.
In late 2019, Sackville & Co. was acquired by a public company. After only five months, the company changed leadership and the new CEO didn't see the vision for the brand and immediately initiated an attempted shutdown of Sackville & Co. along with several other acquisitions. This began the fight Lana and Hayley's lives to regain ownership of their company, all during the height of the pandemic. Hayley and Lana succeeded in regaining ownership of Sackville & Co. in 2020 and have been running it independently ever since, bringing their vision of the future of cannabis to life.
We spoke with Lana and Hayley for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.
Hayley and Lana, tell us...
Where you grew up and where you live now.
- Hayley: I grew up in downtown Toronto, Canada. I have done stints in London, NYC and L.A. I love to move around, I am currently back in Toronto and planning my next move.
- Lana: I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I left there in my early twenties to move to Toronto and have also done stints all over, including Italy, China and London. I have been based in NYC since the beginning of 2018.
Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you're based.
- Hayley: Currently, I am co-CEO of Sackville & Co and Sackville Studios, our design agency focused on bringing high design to the cannabis space. My main focus is product design, development and operations. I am between TO-LA-NYC on the regular.
- Lana: I am also co-CEO of Sackville & Co and Sackville Studios! My main focus is on advertising/marketing, branding, brand partnerships/collaborations and business development/growth. I am based in NYC but am in L.A. right now living a bi-coastal summer.
A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.
- Hayley: I have always liked cannabis, but in 2017 I had severe and debilitating muscle spasms that led to me being bed bound for six weeks. I got really serious about the medical benefits of cannabis as an alternative to the opioids I was offered by the medical system. It had a huge impact on my healing journey.
- Lana: I cannot say enough good things about the plant. Cannabis is a part of my everyday, whether it is the CBD capsule that I absolutely love from Rose LA that I take every morning or the Sackville joint (we launched pre-rolls in California!) I smoke every night. I am someone who lives a lot in my head, always thinking of the next thing to do. Cannabis has been the most important part of my evening ritual to ground myself, take inventory of the day and set it aside to rest and recover and hit the ground running the next day.
A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.
- Hayley: Edible—Rose Los Angeles. Flower—I know I'm biased but honestly I think our Pre-Rolls that we released with Golden Seed in CA are the best pre-rolls i've ever smoked. Product: I love the new water bottle bong that Puff Co just released. Brand: Probably Rose Los Angeles, I think they are doing some really amazing things.
- Lana: Edible—Definitely Rose LA—Nathan is the real thing. He cares so much about every single thing that is put into their products and it shows. The quality is unmatched. I'm forever a Rose LA stan. Flower—I know we're biased but I swear to you on everything, our pre-rolls are the most smooth, flavorful, even high. They are by far my favorite flower right now. Product—I'm a sucker for Dieux Deliverance serum they are killing it in the skincare game and it is a stunning example of how cannabis can be incorporated into the products we know and love seamlessly. Brand—I love Sundae School. Dae is killing the game on smoke apparel!
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.
- Hayley: They are numerous. I think the biggest challenge is not to get burned out. Anyone working in cannabis knows that marketing in the space can feel very overwhelming, TikTok and Instgram constantly take down content, Google blocks AdWords, etc. When you do finally get in front of your audience it is very rewarding to get feedback. We have heard from so many cannabis consumers that they have been looking for more brands that they feel really represent their aesthetic and lifestyle.
- Lana: There is not one aspect of marketing a cannabis brand that is not challenging. Cannabis brands are not able to operate in the market as any other brand from beauty to home goods and even alcohol are able to. We are not able to advertise on social media, we cannot do programmatic ad buys without extreme restriction, we are limited in our OOH possibility and the buy-in is extremely costly in that case. The list only goes on. To be a brand in cannabis requires a lot of creative thinking especially when you are a company that is not venture backed. Sackville & Co. and Sackville Studios both run profitably off our operating capital, and as such we take budgets seriously and in turn our marketing has to be incredibly creative to be able to play in between the restrictions and without massive marketing dollars.
One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.
- Hayley: I am excited to see more collaborations with physical activations. Cannabis is such an experiential product. I look forward to more partnerships with in the music, art and fashion space where people can really play with the experiential aspects of cannabis in new ways
A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.
- Hayley: We give 5 percent of all DTC sales to The Tender Foundation. They support single mothers with a basic income. Single mothers of color are often left with zero support systems if they have any connection with cannabis. This is a segment of the population that often gets left out of conversations when we talk about restorative justice. It's important to us that women, and mothers have support to raise their children whether or not they use cannabis. We have also done projects that donate all profits to The Urban Justice Centre's Sex Workers Project, Women's Mental Heath, and the Last Prisoners Project.
- Lana: As Hayley mentioned, we spend a lot of time and money in the communities we care about. It is so important for us to be able to offer our customers an opportunity to help those who need it; learn about how the war on drugs has devastated whole groups of people; how they can and should put their money where their mouth is; and buy products from brands who are working to leave the world in a better place than when we found it.
A recent project you're proud of.
- Lana: We have a few things that will be coming out this fall that I am incredibly excited about, keep a look out! This year we've done so many things that on the back end take an incredible amount of time and persistence. Our Crystal Ball Pipe was a feat of ingenuity. From endless design and sampling rounds to get it just right, to material shortages and a global shipping crisis to get it to market. Same goes for the THC Pre-rolled Joints that we launched in January this year in California. It took us over two years in collaboration with the farm to develop the perfect strain and terpene infusion, as all of our joints are misted with terpenes from the farm we grow to give it a very smooth and even smoke. We spent a year before that in research to ensure that we found the right partner who embodied the ethos of Sackville, incredibly high-quality product that cares about every single part of the process from the care of the land and the indigenous people who owned it before them to the organic farming practices.
Someone else's project you admired recently.
- Hayley: I have to go with Pure Beauty, I think everything they do is incredible. I have loved watching their new product launch for their "Little Strong Drink." I think their branding + creative direction, videos, etc., are just so uniquely them and bring great style to the cannabis space.
- Lana: I absolutely loved Gossamer's 1-800 line. It was sooooo good. The creative and out of home campaign they launched with it, and even the tone of voice on the phone when you called in. All just so good. Congrats to Verena and her team!
Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.
- Hayley: I have to say Nathan from Rose Los Angeles. I think what he has built with Rose LA branding, storytelling and his ability to bring conscious food culture into the cannabis space has been exciting to see and a personal fave as a customer.
- Lana: I really love where Anja from Broccoli Magazine is heading, taking on the world of mushrooms and psychedelics. Mushroom People is a stunning book that is honestly just a joy to get lost in.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
- Hayley: I think I would probably still be in design just maybe in another industry. I come from luxury and streetwear fashion industries so I would probably still be there, or maybe I would have just moved to Italy and lived in a quiet seaside town (still the dream).
- Lana: It's so hard to say! It's like the butterfly effect! Maybe I would have been running my own marketing/advertising agency (I had a brand/marketing consulting business before we started Sackville) or maybe I would have won the lottery and spent my life yacht hopping lol.