Last week I was one of the first people to experience the High End cannabis pop-up at Barney’s in Beverly Hills.
For those that haven’t heard, Barney’s recently announced the opening of a cannabis lifestyle shop in their quintessential Beverly Hills store. Or as one recent Bloomberg headline declared…
“This Is How You Sell Pot To Rich People”
But what I really wanted to know was… what exactly were they selling?
Surely they didn’t secure a dispensary license (an increasingly hot commodity vertically integrated brands are scrambling for.) And what sorts of typical headshop paraphernalia fit in with Balenciaga, Chloe and Helmut Lang Barney’s is best known for?
So on a trip to California with my younger brother, and long-time category expert … off to Beverly Hills we went.
After meandering around the store looking for a crowd that didn’t fit with my usual perceptions of Barney’s shoppers we made our way into the new alcove, just off the Men’s very excellent shoe section.
The size of the space is small, but there is nothing modest about the setup. It is luxurious, well-lit and as discreetly hushed as the rest of the store.
The first thing that is obviously different was that it feels more like a trunk show than a typical sales department. Each brand supported by their own very well-trained reps.
While the French rolling papers, gorgeous hand-blown glass pipes and extravagant air purifiers are works of art, they don’t really appeal to my interests in the category. Smoking flower isn’t something I’m into… but delectable edibles. Yes please.
The beautifully branded, Beboe is the crown in the jewel of partnerships and has a prime piece of real estate, front and center. I’m very familiar with the brand already and had more questions about the mechanics of the partnership than the products themselves.
I selected a box of chocolates made in collaboration with cannabis chocolatier Defonce.
So here’s where it gets (even more) interesting…
Because Barney’s did not in fact secure a dispensary license, they are able to display products and instigate the transaction with a white glove delivery service called Emjay that had opened in LA just days before.
Here is how the deal went down…
Instead of a financial transaction, Barney’s gathered my contact information and I received an email indicating Emjay was aware of my ‘purchase’ and wanted to coordinate a meeting spot for delivery and payment. It could be anywhere.
Barney’s, being an exceptionally customer service-oriented retailer had created ANOTHER partnership with a beautiful non-cannabis chocolate shop called And Sons, just down the block.
We walked into the heart of Beverly Hills.
Feeling odd just sitting on the patio of the shop, we went in the store, bought a few non-cannabis bites and made our way out to a table in the morning sun (don’t judge me buying weed in the AM… it’s legal in California and I was on vacation!)
My brother and I kept our eyes peeled for a shady character with a backpack… because that’s obviously who delivers drugs on street corners right?
A smiling gentleman in a well branded uniform strolled up to our table and politely asked if I was Kelli. He held a lovely Emjay branded bag that contained the goods.
Financially there are still banking hurdles, so I was further introduced to the ways around restrictive regulations. First I purchased a giftcard from Emjay in the amount of the purchase, taxes and delivery fee. The gift card was then swiped and the fancy chocolates were now mine!
While my brother and I sat dumbfounded at the table, contemplating how we had just bought weed on a lovely street corner, in the middle of the day in Beverly Hills, the owner of the shop came out to talk to us. I thought… here it comes. We are going to get thrown out of here like the hooligans we must be. Wrong again. He asked if we were there because of Barney’s and reminded us we didn’t ask for our free sample as promised for all High End customers!
And that is how I bought weed in Beverly Hills.
Before trying any product, the entire thing was a trip.