As of March 31, 2021, New York became the 15th state to legalize weed, and it seems cannabis shows no signs of stopping its unbridled national domination.
Cannabis has quickly become the fastest-growing (no pun intended) industry in the United States. In 2021, Forbes reported a record .5 billion in legal sales, a 46% increase from 2019 which, between panic purchasing and stress buying, was only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic displaying a sense of resilience during difficult times.
Yet the course of the past decade has shown what cannabis can really do – this isn’t your older sibling’s bag of “pot” anymore. Smoking weed has become mainstream, and as the industry continues to flourish, creatives have been developing high tech brands that expand on cannabis culture honing in range of different styles and tastes that cater to a new era of stoners. Enter, Pure Beauty.
The boutique Los Angeles-based cannabis brand launched in 2017 and has since instilled a signature aesthetic, sustainable structure, and brand ethos in their products that hits all the sweet spots of the modern cannabis connoisseur and what they’re interested in. “I think what people get wrong about cannabis is that literally every type of person smokes weed: the professor, the doctor, the nurse. We smokers get thrown into these cliches, this is the biggest industry that’s existed that never really existed before, those weed cliches show how quick we are inclined to compartmentalize people,” said Pure Beauty CEO and Co-Founder Imelda Walavalkar.
The longtime New Yorker with a background in sustainable catering, criminal justice reform, and human rights was approached by a friend to start a cannabis business after Walavalkar began experimenting with weed and food through her catering job. While her initial business plan didn’t come to fruition, Pure Beauty was soon a reality.
Since the start, Walavalkar has made her roots in social justice and racial disparity in marijuana incarcerations part of what Pure Beauty is about. “I worked with closely incarcerated populations and other adverse groups, infrastructure of various groups, NGOS and nonprofits around New York City and across the country,” she said. “Part of my work with cannabis was linked with all the social justice issues that I focus on, like systemic racism and the failures of all the institutions that got us all these inequalities in the first place. My hope has always been, given its history and agency, that cannabis can get it right where other industries haven’t.”
Being conscious of social justice issues is one of the many ways Pure Beauty is getting it right, not to mention the brand’s signature eye-catching aesthetic. Pure Beauty’s sleek minimalist packaging and playful illustrated eye emoji detailing give it the kind of stylish detailing akin to the cool kid fashion brands of today. The brand is even aligned with KCD, a fashion PR firm representing a range of high fashion clients from Tom Ford to Maison Margiela, giving it a fashionable edge that stands out amongst other cannabis brands.
“My partner Irwin, who’s the lead creative is very much an artist with heart, it’s how we developed and how we approach everything,” said Walavalkar. “There wasn’t anything on the market that we felt addressed culture and creativity the way we thought. It was designed to think about creativity that catches onto different sectors culture: art, fashion, photography, music, film making and just laughing you know? All these things have a strong connection to weed.”
Though, Pure Beauty isn’t all about looks. The brand takes extra measures to ensure sustainable production right down to recycling the workers’ rubber gloves to make park benches. “We grow indoors, traditionally the best weed is grown indoor. The biggest criticism is energy efficiency, but we create all of our energy on site using micro turbines,” she said. With one flower life cycle is consuming an estimated 150 to 650 gallons of water per plant, Pure Beauty has even set up a humidifying system where they’re able to capture and excrete water from the air. From using living soil with fungi and nematodes to developing custom starch-based packaging, Pure Beauty’s environmental efforts are placed at the forefront of everything they do in creating a high quality product from the Earth that also is mindful of the Earth. “We are very clear we are not perfect, there’s always things we could be doing better,” she said.
When it comes to the products themselves, Pure Beauty’s range of offerings from various flower strains to drinkable grape-flavored live resin are able to accomodate any stoner’s desires. “I like the mini joints because I’m lazy and it’s easy. It’s the perfect size because I find myself smoking a joint and I’m like “I can’t finish this,” then you put it in your purse and pocket is messy.”
With conscious social justice efforts, expertly-designed packaging, and sustainable production, Pure Beauty comprises many of the key components of what’s important for a brand to thrive in 2021. The cannabis industry is changing and growing right before our eyes as one of the newest and most lucrative industries in the United States. While many are just beginning to grab the reigns of a burgeoning industry, Pure Beauty has managed to find its place in the ever-growing narrative and become a leader in it as they work to create a better future for what’s to come from cannabis. “It’s crazy, I think of all the documentaries that will be produced someday on how things played out,” said Walavalkar “It’s insane, I have speculation on where it’s going but it’s so hard to know.”
For the month of June, Pure Beauty will donate 100% of net proceeds from sales of the Pure Beauty Drugstore to The Ali Forney Center a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect LGBTQ youths. Pure Beauty is available now at purebeautypurebeauty.co.
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