hen it comes to image, the cannabis space is in constant evolution. A brand that is luxurious, approachable, lifestyle-centric and chic is the goal for which so many brands strive. High-end brand MAE fits in flawlessly—because it started on the runway.
Launched by fashion designer Armen Gregorian, founder of former fashion label Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, MAE stands for Mind at Ease. Inspired by his daughter, a love of sophisticated design, and that peaceful cannabis vibe, MAE offers consumers product that’s understated, elegant, and incredibly discreet. The high-end design comes thanks, in part, to the brilliance of the renowned Joe Doucet, known for elevated design and luxurious materials. Any cannabis connoisseur who loves fine things will fall instantly in love.
A bold statement hits you the moment MAE product arrives. The box looks like what one may expect from a brand such as Tiffany’s only instead of Tiffany blue, it’s a deep, rich MAE red. It’s the contents of that box, however, that will captivate any true lover of fashion and design. A red sculpted hand holds MAE’s patented product, The Palm, which is compatible with all 510 cartridges and burns through an entire half gram cartridge with a single charge (standard mini-USB charging cable included). Sift through the contents of the box and you will be grateful MAE has put this much effort into making cannabis not just elevated, but glamorous.
All of MAE’s products—a sleek ashtray, a multi-tiered grinder, the subtle CBD Cartridge Zero, the Puffbar necklace, a pipe with a simple, unique filter made so linear and simply—are refined enough to be submerged into your best high-end handbag or even the pocket of your favorite pants. This is the direction cannabis should be heading.
The messaging of MAE exudes the je ne sais quoi so often found on the runways of Paris, New York, and Barcelona. The brand is open to the industry in a way so many can relate to—through personal experiences with the plant. Bringing the element of high-end fashion to a burgeoning cannabis industry and implementing Gregorian’s personal experiences and expertise over the span of his career simply means a beautiful new world is born. And MAE is a beautiful new product world indeed.
Sensi had the opportunity to interview MAE’s founder Armen Gregorian to get the story behind the man and the brand.
What prompted your desire to enter the cannabis space?
From 1975 to 1979, I was an avid supporter and user of Mary Jane, as many were at that time. Looking back fondly at that era, I always think of the icons Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, which gives me a sense of nostalgia. As I got older, I transitioned into being a wine drinker—to which my daughter suggested I try cannabis instead. After trying a bit of today’s flower, I couldn’t believe how much it had changed from the 70s. This sparked the creation of MAE.
Because of the green rush in the U.S. market, we are seeing more and more gatekeepers in the fashion world include cannabis in their latest collections. Coming from a fashion background, I’m aware that it will always reflect what is happening in our culture and society. The fact that cannabis was becoming somewhat trendy and influential in other markets like fashion intrigued me and I wanted to expand on it.
MAE is as fashion-forward and sleek as a cannabis product can get. What was the thought process behind the brand development?
After copious amounts of research both in-person and online, I found that the accessories department of cannabis was lacking. Subsequently, looking at the enormous success of Beboe’s products, I knew that there was a market of luxurious cannabis users. Combining cannabis, something society has deemed inherently bad for years, with the feeling of luxury and sleekness has the ability to evolve the sentiment around cannabis completely.
Additionally, Joe Doucet’s sleek design concepts create a luxurious feel and that’s exactly what I wanted for MAE. He is a prolific designer with deep-rooted experience working with big name brands like Mont Blanc, Nike, and BMW. I knew that if I was going to bring world-class cannabis accessories into the market, I had to enlist the right person to design them.
Tell me about the color red and what it means to you as a designer, cannabis enthusiast, and marketer?
What I love about the color red is that it carries so many different sentiments. I wanted to carry its diverse range into MAE. MAE is for everyone, whether you are the cannabis connoisseur, a first-timer, or even skeptical about the industry. Just like red is for emotions, I wanted MAE to be for cannabis users.
What inspired the water pipe design and filtration system? (It’s amazing)
I wanted to design the best pipe on the market, something that would get the job done well but was beautiful in design—and discreet. The transparent glass gave it that elegant look factor.
How did you develop the grinder?
We developed the grinder in our partnership with Joe Doucet. As a team, we wanted to create all of our products to be beautiful yet discreet. The amazing duality of MAE’s grinder is that it can be left on your coffee table to fit seamlessly into the design of your home but also get the job done right.
Along with the message of “Mind At Ease,” is there a little Mae West inspiration in terms of that old Hollywood nostalgia for elegance and distinguished style?
I often look back on my memories of Mary Jane with a great sense of nostalgia. I wanted everyone to feel that way, while also having that extra sense of luxury. Old Hollywood exudes elegance and class, which is incorporated in Mae’s overall brand and collaboration with Joe Doucet.
What mark do you hope MAE makes in the industry?
Combining cannabis, something society has deemed inherently bad for years, with the feeling of luxury and sleekness has the ability to evolve the sentiment around cannabis completely. I’m hoping people will be drawn to MAE’s luxurious feel and specially-crafted products, take a chance on the industry, and change the perception around cannabis. I want Mae’s consumers to be proud of the products they buy and show them off, rather than stash them away in a drawer somewhere.