Skip to content
Are You 21+?

By clicking “Yes” above I represent I am at least the age of twenty-one (21). I have read, understood, and agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

21 March 2024

NYT: Selling Weed, but Making It Fashion

As appeared in the New York Times Feb. 20,2024 
Article By Jessica Testa | Photographs by Maansi Srivastava

NYT: Selling Weed, but Making It Fashion

"A day with Brett Heyman, the designer who is trying to push the legal cannabis market in a more stylish, sunny direction.

Brett Heyman, who used to only sell cute Edie Parker weed accessories, is now also selling weed in six U.S. states.

Two weeks ago, an accessories designer named Brett Heyman sold weed, legally, for the first time in New York City.

Ms. Heyman is the creative director of Edie Parker, a handbag line she founded in 2010. She added home accessories in 2016, then smoking accessories in 2019, followed by actual things to smoke.

The brand is colorful and cheeky and inspired by midcentury design. The smoking collection includes tabletop lighters that resemble decorative gelatin cakes ($195 to $275), rolling papers covered in illustrations of fried eggs ($8) and color-blocked grinders that can pass as mod paperweights ($30 to $70).

Ms. Heyman’s seasoned pitch is this: “No one makes cannabis accessories that are treated like bar accessories, that feel considered and playful and meant to be shown off. Everything is hidden in the back of a drawer.” (She acknowledged that other brands exist with similar goals, such as Seth Rogen’s Houseplant.)

It’s all very cute, which was a challenge when it came to designing the packaging for the cannabis products, which cannot be too cute. Generally, in states where cannabis has been legalized, products must appear “unappealing to children,” said Ms. Heyman, 43. “But I don’t think stripes are that appealing to children.” State agencies have largely approved of her colorful packaging; New Jersey nixed the stripes. 

Ms. Heyman meeting with her employees the morning her THC products were introduced in New York.

The disposable vape pens in her line, Flower by Edie Parker, are candy-colored and, in New York City, sold in limited-edition striped aluminum boxes designed like makeup compacts. The containers have an interior mirror, similar to the acrylic clutch bags that became Edie Parker’s signature.

“Sometimes it really does come down to the packaging,” said Jade Jones, a “bud tender” at the Travel Agency in Union Square, one of Manhattan’s legal dispensaries. (There are currently 70 licensed adult-use dispensaries across New York state, though countless unlicensed smoke shops sell THC products illegally.) Mx. Jones compared Flower’s vape to “a cannabis toy, with the mirror.”

“Weed doesn’t have to be ugly,” said Brandon Blackwood, another accessories designer.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. While Edie Parker cannabis has been available in five other states, Feb. 7 was the first day it was sold in Ms. Heyman’s home state, New York. She lives with her husband and three children on the Upper East Side, in an apartment that erupts with color, starting with the foyer, where several of Andy Warhol’s “Flowers” prints are hung on black walls.

“It’s a really, really hard industry,” Ms. Heyman said at the Travel Agency, where she bought her own products. 

That morning, Ms. Heyman was recounting something her eighth grader, Edie (the brand was named after her), told her the night before.

“Her friends were having a debate,” Ms. Heyman said, sitting in a vintage chair with tiger-striped cushions. Nearby, a hot-pink Yves Klein coffee table was topped with art books and a yellow glass bong. “Her friends were all saying that alcohol is so much better for you than cannabis.”

“I don’t think it’s my place to educate her friends,” Ms. Heyman continued. But she told her daughter, “This just speaks to the stigma around cannabis.” (Ms. Heyman added that she doesn’t believe anyone, including her daughter, should smoke until they’re 25.)

In the years before she founded Edie Parker, Ms. Heyman worked as a fashion publicist for Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.

“Talking about fashion is so natural and easy, but with cannabis, I felt like I had to go to college — it’s an agricultural product,” said Ms. Heyman, who is now able to explain the complexities of marijuana regulation and tax law, along with why the former “Real Housewives of New York” cast was superior to the current one and throw in a joke or two, probably without taking a breath.

The new Flower by Edie Parker display at Union Square Travel Agency.

Gift bags of Edie Parker merch were assembled at the brand’s office for “bud tenders” and influencers.

The Flower Lounge at the Travel Agency is dedicated to cannabis education.

Ms. Heyman is part of a wave of cannabis entrepreneurs living in a new era of legal pot, in which states are expunging marijuana-related charges and enacting (or stumbling around enacting) “social equity” measures to atone for years of racially disparate policing. Many private companies benefiting from this era make efforts to redress the injustice, too, with charitable donations.

“Everybody is aware of the struggles that came before and the people whose lives had been disproportionately affected by this totally ridiculous war on drugs,” Ms. Heyman said.

At Edie Parker, “we talk about it, but we don’t lead with it,” said Ms. Heyman, who views her role more as helping to normalize cannabis use through “unserious” marketing. “I always try to keep everything fairly light.”

Ms. Heyman delivered some Flower by Edie Parker products to her friend, Brandon Blackwood, at his Manhattan studio.

A special 4/20 edition of one of Mr. Blackwood’s bags.

A cheeky pouch by Edie Parker now owned by Mr. Blackwood.

On Feb. 7, Ms. Heyman set out to see her products in Manhattan dispensaries — the result of almost three years of work. In line at the Travel Agency, she smiled. “I don’t want to be a dork, but will you take a picture?” she asked her publicist.

At Gotham, another dispensary, she encountered one of 18 influencers picking up a gift bag from Flower by Edie Parker. “My demo on social is young women, 18 to 28, and they definitely like the aesthetic stuff,” said Kate Glavan, a content creator who recently ate cannabis edibles while running a marathon.

After stuffing the dispensary bags into her Hermès tote, Ms. Heyman met a friend, Paul Arnhold, for lunch. The Heymans have a home in Connecticut near Mr. Arnhold, a glass artist, and his husband, Wes Gordon, the creative director of Caroline Herrera. Edie Parker has also collaborated with Mr. Arnhold on handblown glass bongs, including the one on her coffee table. They are priced at $795.

“I’ve seen clients use them as vases,” Mr. Arnhold said.

Neither has tried smoking out of their bongs. Mr. Arnhold doesn’t use cannabis. “Some people can smoke, and they get inspired and they get more funny and they contribute more,” he said. “It doesn’t do that for me.”

Ms. Heyman does use cannabis but not on a daily basis. She mostly vapes, only “burning flower” on weekends with her husband, an executive at Standard Industries who began investing in cannabis years ago, catalyzing Ms. Heyman’s interest in the market.

“For me, that’s when I like to smoke — with my husband, watch a movie, have some sex,” she said. “I believe that psilocybin and cannabis are magical plants. They have all the answers.”

After lunch, Ms. Heyman delivered some of her dispensary purchases to Mr. Blackwood’s studio. They have similar interests; he has encased joints in the plexiglass heels of sandals and released bags on 4/20 embroidered with hemp leafs. He owns several Edie Parker pieces, including a pipe shaped like grapes.

“It’s a part of self-care,” said Mr. Blackwood, whose clutches have been carried in recent weeks by Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah.

Walking out of the studio, Ms. Heyman was drawn toward a tourist shop next door, on Canal Street. Inside, she found a T-shirt that was almost cosmically well-suited to the day’s events: an “I ♥ NY” tee, except the heart had been replaced by a weed leaf.

She bought the shirt."

Jessica Testa is a Times reporter covering the worlds of style and fashion. More about Jessica Testa

A version of this article appears in print on Feb. 29, 2024, Section D, Page 4 of the New York edition with the headline: Taking a Fashionable Approach to Selling Weed.

Featured Products

for a good time follow


To be calculated at checkout
Your Cart Is Empty