FlowerShop* isn’t just about cannabis. It’s about wellness. Co-founded by Isaac Muwaswes and Gabriel Garcia, the duo wants to put its consumers at “eaze” with sensory care. They’re not only interested in a good high, but also aromatherapy, self-care and mood elevating experiences. With FlowerShop*, they’re selling lifestyle, not only good flower.
FlowerShop* is Garcia and Muwaswes’ first cannabis business. Garcia co-founded The Brooklyn Circus, while Muwaswes worked for Twitter and has over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing. During their past ventures, Garcia and Muwaswes collaborated with rapper G-Eazy, who is FlowerShop*’s chief mood officer, which is a job title worth envying.
FlowerShop* officially launched on 4/20 this year. It was a day of celebration for the co-founders. “We got a lot of, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that. That’s not possible. This isn’t possible,’” Muwaswes said. “We got a lot of that. I’m proud that we’re here and where we are now. It’s only begun.” Recently, the company’s co-founders, as well as G-Eazy, told us about FlowerShop’s beginning and bright future.
A Chat With The Leaders of FlowerShop*
What’s a workday like today look like for you guys?
Gabe: All our production pipelines are being checked in on, because we have a bunch of home goods and lifestyle goods that we’re working on in addition to the cannabis products. Today was about getting those things lined up. We’re settling into a new warehouse where we’re distributing a bunch of our home goods stuff. Right now, we’re in startup launch mode. Every day is a little bit different.
How did you guys connect? I know you’re all California guys.
Isaac: G and Gabe being from the East Bay, Oakland side, me being from San Francisco, there’s always been a very natural connection in the sense of where we’re from, where, how we were raised, what we were raised around in all aspects from culture to music, to sports teams, to everything in between.
I think when it comes to LA, we’ve been working there and doing business. It’s funny, because in California, there’s this weird rivalry with LA and the Bay, or at least there used to be, but that’s not really a thing anymore in my mind, at least. Now in this day and age, everyone’s connected so effortlessly digitally.
I think we always had this strong link to us all being from the Bay area and a lot of our ideals and morals and fundamentals of how we approach things were in line. As we worked more and more together over time, we just saw that click take place, not just creatively, but also professionally how we worked on business together, how we were expanding businesses together, whether it was things in G’s world or things in our world.
FlowerShop* has been this special culmination of all that in a lot of ways where we can bring everything that we do and everything we’ve learned to create this goal of helping people feel better and inspiring people’s moods through the products and experiences.
Yes, promoting wellness is a big part of FlowerShop*. How has cannabis helped the three of you with mental health?
Isaac: Totally. My relationship with cannabis has been, I would say, an ongoing transformation over the years. It may have started as something more recreational and more as a way to unplug or unwind. As I got older, I found it to be more integrated into my life in a lot of ways. I think part of that is consuming in more of a microdose format. Whether it be going from smoking joints to just the vape or microdose edibles, but also still having it as a way to unwind, relax, unplug, or just have fun and party in certain situations.
For me, it’s helped me with my mental health and wellness, by being more intentional about the way I’m using it, knowing myself and knowing what I need in order to help me feel better depending on what’s on my plate, what’s going on in my world, and what’s going on in my day.
G-Eazy: I’m definitely a social sativa smoker during the day, and then indica at night to help me sleep on top of edibles. It’s helped. It’s been tremendous in helping me sleep. I think most people in high pressure situations, regardless of your industry, you’re under a lot of stress. Music is another one of those industries where it can be constantly go, go, go, go, go.
There’s a lot of expectation, show up here for this show up here for that. You know, get this song done, get this person on this song, shoot this video this day, travel to the next city, land, do this interview, and do this meet and greet. There’s a lot of stress and handling that comes with it, so it’s been an incredible thing for helping me calm down.
Around the time I started smoking I was a teenager, maybe 14 years old, and that was around the time I got my first job. I worked four school nights a week and I’d catch a bus right after school and go work and then get home at midnight, 1:00 AM after closing down this restaurant I worked at. I’d be stressed about school the next morning, and I would just smoke a personal blend each night. It’s always been a sleep remedy for me as well.
So, you’re smoking sativa when you’re recording?
G-Eazy: I like to smoke sativa in the studio. It’s pretty much a constant flow of smoking throughout a session, but I don’t like to lean on the notion that anything is necessary to spark creativity. I think that’s a myth that’s existed in rock and roll and popular music for a long time. Certain things can help you relax a bit or loosen you up, but I don’t think any of it’s completely necessary or a requirement of unlocking creativity. With that being said, I do like to smoke in the studio.
You’ve been selective about businesses you invest in or associate with. What about FlowerShop* made you get invested?
G-Eazy: Well, it starts with people. Gabe and Isaac I’ve worked with for eight years now. I just felt like their experience in design and overall quality control and integrity and creativity would easily lend itself to building this. They’ve never done anything half-assed or without necessary research and homework and rounds of revisions. I think those fundamental values are applicable to anything they’d want to do. We’re all smokers, so it just felt right, and again, in any entrepreneurial venture, it has to feel right and be with the right people.
You all had different careers outside of cannabis. How do you think your distinct backgrounds bring a unique perspective to the cannabis industry?
G-Eazy: We all have experienced making things to put it simply. I used to ride BMX when I was in middle school and in high school before I fell in love with music. I saved up, got a video camera, and I would film my friends and bootlegged final cut pro and learned how to edit videos with my friends and dubbed them to VHS and designed the cover that I printed and sold VHSs is of this BMX video to kids out of my backpack, to kids at middle school.
Then I taught myself HTML and Photoshop to design my own website for the music I was starting to release and designing my own mixtape covers and getting them printed and putting them in cases.
My appreciation for design and fashion and building a brand led me to the Brooklyn Circus, which I was a huge fan of. Meeting them, I was around like-minded people who also have this burning desire to make things and do it at a high level, from the craftsmanship to the design, to the product itself, to the outreach, all while maintaining a level of authenticity and integrity.
I think we’re in the middle of a beautiful revolution when it comes to weed, or flower rather, and the way that it’s perceived around the world and the way that it’s become accessible and the availability of it. It was the right time to participate and contribute.
The FlowerShop*’s products have a very pleasant and clean aesthetic. Gabe, with your background in visual design, how did you want to present The FlowerShop*?
Gabe: The result of what you see as FlowerShop* was to G’s point, this research and development. We dove right into the cannabis space, in all things, like retail, non retail, black market, all of that was important for us to understand, and do our due diligence. What we noticed was there wasn’t something that was pleasant.
There wasn’t any brand out there that was focused on anything other than sticking whatever they had to stick onto the label to attract consumers, whether it was the THC numbers or the colors of the marijuana leaf. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to do the same thing. As we got deeper into it, it was studying the emotions and the reasons why people consume.
It boiled down to this sensation that you get when you either consume cannabis or you see or smell flowers. That’s where we really started to dive further into the emotional aspect, the sensational aspect of cannabis and the moods that it changes and how it can help with all of that, with just feeling better.
Intuitively, we wanted our brand to speak to a consumer, even without them having to touch or feel the product, because we also know those parameters within the cannabis space where you walk into a dispensary. Sometimes you can grab it, sometimes you can’t, sometimes behind glass, sometimes it’s on a screen, or even shopping online and seeing all that, it was important for us to tell a visual story and communicate all the right messaging around, you know, all the effort we put in to be different and be unique, but also be intuitive.
How are you planning for the future? Obviously, the industry and legalization is always evolving, so how do you plan for the future?
Isaac: We absolutely think about the future. For us, the future absolutely involves expansion into new markets. From the very beginning, we wanted to design a brand and create a brand and a company and ultimately tell a story that was a very global inclusive story. What I mean by that is we didn’t want to start a niche California brand.
We wanted to create something that we knew was going to appeal to a global audience. It was already baked into our philosophy around everything, how we wanted to position the brand, the story we wanted to tell, and the products we wanted to create. From a more strategic standpoint, we knew we wanted to launch non-cannabis products as well, just so everyone could have access to participate in the brand from the very beginning.
More specifically on expansion plans and in the future, retail is another pillar for us that we’re spending a lot of time and energy and resources on. We’re working on our first three retail shops that will be in the Los Angeles area. We’re doing it with Halo Collective, who is our partner on the cannabis side and also an investor in our company.
It goes back to something G mentioned earlier, it’s about finding the right partners that are the right fit. We can click on what we’re trying to accomplish from our mission statement and, you know, we can complement each other in that way. At the same time, take it day by day and make sure that you’re not stretching yourself too thin.
What’s happening with Canada?
Isaac: That’s an ongoing discussion. They’re working on a number of their own retail plans there, and we’re figuring out how FlowerShop* fits into that. Nothing is set in stone yet there.
I wanted to ask about sustainability, because I know that’s a part of your mission statement. What were the important decisions you guys made to make an environmentally-friendly company?
Isaac: It’s just about doing the right thing and doing the right thing for our planet. We’re constantly thinking about how we leave something better than when we found it. When it comes to sustainability, when we’re thinking about the actual products we’re creating, we think about how it’s going to be used, how much it can be used, the reusability of it, and creating something that is going to last and be reused multiple times as opposed to one-time usage.
A great example is how we designed our eighth jars, which we’re calling our button vase instead of using a normal off the shelf jar, which 99% of the industry uses. We spend a lot of time in R and D for designing an actual vase that could be used not only as a jar to hold your flower, but also can be used as a base for actual flowers, and can be used to store other things.
We thought about the idea of the lid and how the lid can be used. We designed the lid to be silicone, so it could be used as an ashtray. It could also be used as an incense burner for the incense that we make or other incense out there. We have this multifunctional, multi purposeful usage with the products and the packaging.
Also, just the materials that we use. When possible we used either all sustainable or biodegradable materials or recycled plastics. For example, the bouquet pack, the child resistant packaging, the bag it comes in is Oxo-biodegradable. The box is all made from recycled paper. The tubes were designed to not only maintain freshness of the individual pre-rolls, but to be reused as well, same with the glass tips, the tubes can be stored. The glass tips can be stored in the tubes, can be cleaned in the tubes and then reused again.
I would also say just the footprint of what we’re creating. I think this one is especially more challenging when it comes to packaging. A lot of that has to be done overseas, at least right now, but with a lot of our other stuff we’re producing, whether it be our lifestyle goods, our clothing, a lot of our home goods, we’re doing a lot of that in LA.
We’re minimizing the footprint and the global supply chain footprint that we’re using. This is an ongoing work in progress. We don’t have it completely figured out, but we are completely intentional about everything we’re doing and we’re trying to improve every day.