It goes without saying that the cannabis community is filled with a wide variety of consumers. While the stereotype prevails — the typical cannabis consumer is some spacey, 20-something man — it’s clear those ideas are now very outdated.
Among them are Allison Krongard and Laura Eisman, co-founders of
The pair craved a premium cannabis experience, complete with a sense of play and some style. Since they couldn’t find it, they decided to create it for themselves.
“We both noticed that so much of marketing toward men in cannabis is for the joy and euphoria, and for women it’s what’s wrong with us,” Allison said. “So getting ahead of that message, while the industry is still forming, to push the message that women experience joy through cannabis and breaking the stigma of using cannabis, just for the joy of it, is really important.”
Uniting for a Unique Cannabis Collaboration
Both founders have their own storied history with cannabis.
Laura grew up in Staten Island, New York and cited a specific instance regarding where and when her cannabis journey began. It was her senior year of high school, and she worked for a co-op program on Wall Street every-other week. On the ferry, she noticed the stockbrokers, and as she followed them downstairs, she observed that they would always go to the bottom level.
“I quickly realized that they were just all getting high there,” Eisman said. “At that time, it didn’t really dawn on me, but now it makes a lot of sense. If you separate out, as a recreational vehicle, alcohol from cannabis, I think that those men were there to self-
Fast-forwarding to her career as an entrepreneur, Eisman said she had to be “on” all the time. Cannabis acted as a way to decompress, to “quiet down the noise.” She was in business with her ex-husband, spending intense days of work together, and cannabis was an avenue to forget about the business part of their lives to instead focus on their personal relationship.
Allison was born and raised in New York City, Manhattan specifically. When she turned 18, she decided to join the Cannabis Party, citing she already had the attitude that it was wrong for a plant to be illegal. She had dabbled in high school but truly discovered her love for cannabis in college.
“I was in the design world for my entire career, and I find it so mind opening,” Allison said. “Before I started Her Highness, I invented and patented peel-and-stick chalkboard, which became ubiquitous and really commoditized around the world. And I was so high when I came up with that idea. Designing the cover of ‘Design Within Reach’ kids’ catalog? High off my ass.”
She said that she’s used cannabis “like a tofu,” in that it takes on whatever sauce or flavor you pair with it.
“Cannabis is like that,” Allison said. “It’s like when you set your intention to what you want out of the plant, also with mushrooms to some extent. It really just delivers what you’re looking for, so I’ve always used it as a sort of mind opener.”
Laura recalled when cannabis went recreational in
Her Highness is Born
Allison and Laura were already friends. As fellow entrepreneurs in the Hamptons, they had already done business together and earned each other’s respect. The duo began to develop the initial ideas that eventually became Her Highness.
It wasn’t necessarily about creating an accessory or a product — they wanted to focus on a lifestyle that was missing from the industry.
“So, go big or go home,” Laura said. “We just kind of went for it and created everything surrounding the use of cannabis, meaning the accessories, and we elevated it to a more glamorous place.”
The pair both came from the design world, with Laura from fashion and Allison from interiors, so everything they do is informed by quality of design, Allison said. It could be how something feels in your hand, the experience of unboxing a product, all of those integral pieces that go into creating a relationship with a customer and earning their loyalty.
That’s what comes through in Her Highness.
“We really want to normalize cannabis use,” Allison said. “So, we don’t want to make it look different than the other things we love in our lives. We want it to fit right into our homes. To Laura’s point about the accessories, to have a marble rolling tray — like, if you don’t watch Rick and Morty, I literally did not know who those two were, but I knew the characters from every rolling tray. But I don’t want that in my house.”
While they could see some innovation during the era of Her Highness’s 2017 launch, there was also this old culture that prevailed, a sort of narrow evolution over the decades. The challenge was bringing cannabis a bit more out of that space.
“We took what was happening in the industry, we kind of absorbed it and then spit it out more as something that would be reimagined for
One example is the Her Highness
Her Highness is Creating Space and Busting Stigmas
In recognition that the industry needs to appeal to a broader potion of consumers, Laura suggested that cannabis business founders should be “anybody.”
“Everyone will find their people and find that brand that resonates with them, and that will be the success of cannabis,” she said. “Really it’s about, number one, bringing the mainstream into cannabis, but at the same time, it’s about serving the different types of customers that exist.”
Among their audience, the reception of Her Highness has always been strong and positive. The standout packaging often has Allison and Laura catching women doing double takes or whipping around to get a closer look at events.
“We’ve had to really be strong women and stick to our guns and what we know because, again, the industry is filled with a lot of men, and they can guess what women might like or they slap a pink label on it, but they don’t really know what women like,” Laura said. “Women fans know that there are the two of us, behind the scenes, making the products, coming up with the ideas.”
The two business owners are also single
Allison said that a little weed often helps her to be more imaginative as a mother, to slow down and meet her kids where they are at. She recalled asking her kids when they were little, “What’s the most fun thing we did this week?” The answer was often an activity she was high for.
She also referenced that the long-time alternatives for moms, like wine or pharmaceuticals, can not only be taxing on the body, but they don’t usher in that same connection cannabis can.
“I think we have to be brave and talk about being a
In addition to using their voices as founders, Laura pointed to the overarching lifestyle angle of Her Highness, helping women to incorporate cannabis as a normal and welcome part of their lives.
“Just creating the product is really helpful in the movement for women, to empower them so that they can embrace it in their own way, to talk about it in their own way and feel more comfortable with it,” she said.
Her Highness products also feature a Highness Meter on all their packaging, with lower potency items featuring few (or zero) diamonds and higher potency items with more. That also speaks to the founders’ efforts in promoting education and offering products in a safe and supportive way, taking the fear out and keeping the door open for consumers of all experience levels.
Laura referenced that high-functioning women, especially moms, don’t want a loss of control, so setting expectations is crucial. Especially back in the old days, when a mystery-dose
“I could want to feel this one way and I could want to get completely high the next day, but I can make that choice,” Laura said. “And the same thing like alcohol, the difference between a glass of wine versus five shots of tequila. We all know that, and so it’s a lot about the education, and I don’t think people realize that they need the education because they just don’t see the differences.”
Giving Back and Looking Ahead
While Allison and Laura are already creating change with their business, social equity is also a crucial element of their brand.
“We’re doing is creating awareness for these women,” Laura said. “We are focused on three women right now. They were all federally incarcerated for seven to 10 years. We’re telling their stories, and we’re raising money. Fifty percent of the proceeds of this product, which we do in CBD and THC, goes into their pockets directly.”
“We also have relationships with attorneys who agreed to do pro bono work for women who need to be processed out and need help, who either the laws have changed but still there’s a backlog, or they need to be heard,” Allison added, admitting that even though they are actively looking, it can sometimes be hard to hear about the women who need help.
“It really is a mission and a passion of ours that’s truly tied into Her Highness,” Laura said.
Now that New York’s adult-use market is about to get moving, Allison and Laura are also eager to dive into the state’s legal cannabis market. Her Highness accessories are already in three dispensaries, “but as soon as we have
It’s an exciting time with growth on the horizon, and the pair are eager to continue digging into what they do best: meeting women wherever they are in their own cannabis journeys with Her Highness.
“Even if they’re still just with CBD, we try to meet them there and bring them along in the journey,” Allison said.
“Yeah, I mean, you can see that from our range of products…” Laura replied. “It’s really meant for all women. It does mimic — by the way — Allison and I, because we’re different types of users!”