My Bud Vase CEO Doreen Sullivan Talks About Benefits of Consumption, Canna-Biz Opportunity, and More
Doreen Sullivan is a passionate canna-advocate and advertising expert and lifelong cannabis-consumer. Doreen is the CEO and founder of My Bud Vase and a stigma-breaker that we are incredibly inspired by.
Doreen started MyBudVase about five years ago, where she was able to combine her years of business experience with her belief in canna-products. As a career creative, Doreen has worked in advertising, marketing, promotions, and events for clients such as Disney, ESPN, Paramount, and the Olympics. So she comes to product development through an experienced eye and three decades of knowing how to make products.
As a consumer of cannabis her whole life "I have always consumed to be creative, to be a better mother, to elevate my game, and cannabis has always helped me create."Despite the positive benefits from consumption, for Doreen, there was still a stigma and she wanted to create an accessory that did not need to be hidden by transforming something already beautiful into something you can consume from.
Doreen did have an ah-ha moment while she was consuming in her home when somebody working on the building knocked on her door."I did the hide the bong dance...and I actually hid my bong amongst my vases in my home. I had one particular vase that was shaped like a bong, and so when this person left and I was like phew clear, I actually stood there and I looked at the vase and I looked at the bong and saw that they were so similar in shape but so different in aesthetic". It was at this moment that Doreen decided she was going to figure out a way to make consumption more beautiful and more acceptable in the home.
Doreen's home is her sanctuary and she loves to be able to enjoy her own private life at home without having to feel like her consumption is wrong. "Especially as a woman, I felt that some of the paraphernalia (water pipes) were incredibly 'heady', and they made me feel as if I was doing something that was bad." In the summer of 2015, Doreen started making one of a kind vases from vintage vases she would find. "I was an antique lover and in my travels, I had a bunch of antiques, and I got a friend and we started going through them and busting a lot of glass, and within two years I made and sold over 1000 one of a kind vases. At that point, Doreen decided it was time to scale things up, do things right, and be able to bring beautiful products into the homes of canna-consumers while making something easy to leave out.
MyBudVase is continuing to make beautiful artisan one of a kind pieces while scaling up their signature collection to sell all over the world. The brand has clients all over the globe, "We have women in Australia, we have people in the UK, In Canada (which is one of our largest markets outside of the US), Mexico...so we are really excited to expand this product on a global basis and to make other lifestyle accessories for cannabis consumers that are beautiful and functional and look great in your home!"
ByBudVase is based in Charleston, Carolina which is a prohibition state until legalization so she stays away from the plant when it comes to product development. She hopes that perhaps when legalization happens in the state they will be able to provide some beautiful flower with their beautiful accessories. "In the meantime, I deal with discretion because I respect that a lot of people don't understand cannabis is now becoming mainstream, and especially in the markets that I happen to live in and be a part of. So we keep things on the down-low"
There are so many beautiful My Bud Vase products, from the stunning Double Happiness, a double-handled blue and white porcelain vase will never go out of style and will look beautiful in any setting to the beautiful, bright, and bold Sol. Doreen's own personal favorite is the stunning Stardust, a thick textured glass decanter featuring hand-painted gold detailing with a matching stopper. She comes with a large clear bubble bowl and an ivory pearl anemone flower poker. "I love this bong because it is just so elegant, and I am really getting excited about the holiday season and this is going to be one of the best sellers of the holiday season for sure." We are super excited to pair up with My Bud Vase on an Instagram giveaway for the Stardust which you can learn about here <link to post>.
Doreen comes from the advertising world, she has her own agency and just so happens to be advertising products in the cannabis space as well. "I kind of pivoted into the cannabis industry which is not unusual for an entrepreneur to take something that is a core structure and pivot into another industry."
As an industry leader and business inspiration, we wanted to get any insights Doreen had on breaking into the Canna-Biz sector. "Necessity breeds invention, everybody seems to have a moment when there is something you need that is not out there in the market. If you take that moment whenever you feel, 'I need blank', take that moment and take whatever you think you need and add cannabis to it. For example, we have friends that own a company called CannaBonez, and they deal with animals and animal ailments they are big in dogs, cats, and pets. They created a line of cannabis products for animals. There was a need for animals to get off of these strong prescriptions given to them by vets, and we know cannabis helps in so many ways, so they merged the two together. So you take the word cannabis and add anything cannabis & sex, cannabis & home decor, cannabis & events, and if you incorporate cannabis into something you are already good at or you find a necessity to create something in that's how I would recommend getting into the industry."
Dorren also noted that she was able to build the My Bud Vase platform and business through strategic collaborations, partnerships, and successful product development. "A lot of times people think you have to throw a ton of money to your business to be able to start, but I started vending on the corner, I started vending on the weekends. I started seeing customers use my product and built my business based on how it became a necessity for people's homes."
When it comes to the future of cannabis Doreen is most excited about legalization. "Legalization, I feel, is so imminent, and with all the problems that we've had especially this year, the pendulum has to swing and I feel like cannabis is going to be kind of hanging on to that swinging and the pendulum." She believes that health and wellness are becoming a priority and that Covid-19 has triggered a re-examination of our own health and wellness. "Here is a plant that in many ways can assist you in a healthier lifestyle, so hopefully legalization will bring with it a lot of normalization and a lot of benefits from the plant." Whether it's a salve, a capsule, or a tincture Doreen believes that there are so many miraculous ways that cannabis is helping people in their daily lives. "As legalization opens up it is going to enable people to really be able to get access to the plant and find ways that it is going to help them."
Doreen spoke to us about real opportunities for inclusivity and accessibility within the space. " When I look at my Instagram, and I look at the people that follow us, 50% of our followers are in the target age of 25-36, then another 25% are 18-24, and you know the senior market because they are not in Instagram doesn't even know about our products. The 45 above is such a small portion of people on our Instagram. So even for myself that tells me that there is a market that is underserved, there is a market that I know needs cannabis for ailments, for sleeping well, for anxiety, and just for enjoying their life. We tend to get so caught up in everything new and young and fresh that we're maybe not looking at an entire demographic that desperately needs this plant." Doreen is very excited about finding ways to communicate with new audiences and make the benefits of canna-products and information more accessible for all.
Doreen is someone who always fights for the underdog and looks at things that many others overlook. Her vision for her entire career in her own words is "to find what is right in front of your face but maybe is not quite so obvious and bring that to the forefront." She is a big supporter of the senior market and her new initiative the Walk The Walk collaborative. Co-launched with the Emerald Media Group, the project itself is a month-long minority business support program that helps people walk through the next steps of their business.
Doreen loves what she does and it shows, "To be able to sit here and to make beautiful products all day, and then to actually help people make their dreams come true, is what I'm all about." She was able to pivot from 30 years of marketing and working on helping others brings their dreams to fruition into a space that she is truly passionate about where she is creating her own products, "I'm learning how to work as an entrepreneur and honor the flow of the process, and respect the universe and what comes our way. It's just a nice breath of fresh air."
She left us with the reminder that this industry is one that is here to stay and grow. "When cannabis touches you, it touches you from the heart." It is an industry where you can love what you do and who you do it with and for while finding satisfaction and purpose.
We are incredibly inspired by all of the amazing work Doreen continues to do inside and out of the canna-space. We are grateful that she took the time to speak with SoStonedCo and are looking forward to seeing what's next! To learn more about My Bud Vase please visit the site https://mybudvase.com/ or follow them on Instagram here.