Combining fashion and cannabis, Sundae School is changing how the world sees and enjoys weed.
“We feel like this brand resonates with people who enjoy cannabis but feel like it isn’t always marketed with them in mind or still have pressure to keep it in the shadows”
-Jennifer Tran, Co-Founder
STORY MATT JACKSON & JONA PATTERSON
What if God was Korean, smoked weed every day, and created the universe? That’s the question that helped birth Sundae School, a brand that, over the last five years, has blended fashion, cannabis, and culture in a way that’s set them apart from everything else on the market.
While most companies will tell you why you should buy their products, Sundae School has become one of the most exciting companies in apparel and weed by having much to say about more than just what they’re smoking or wearing. Instead, it’s a movement with both a clothing and a cannabis line, each contributing to the cause of normalizing cannabis and fostering creativity.
The fashion side of the brand, often described as “smokewear,” creates vibrant, comfy clothing designed for recreational use in any situation. From built-in preroll pockets to patterns dedicated to their favorite cities, each SUNDAESCHOOL piece is a thought-out journey that flies off their website when the product drops. The cannabis side, sometimes called Sundae Flowers, was developed to create the kinds of flavors and products not seen on the shelves elsewhere.
For the team of Dae Lim and Jennifer Tran, who created the brand and operate as the heads of marketing and business development, this is an extension of themselves— their chance to explore both culture and community.
“We feel like this brand resonates with people who enjoy cannabis but either feel like it isn’t always marketed with them in mind or still have pressure to keep it in the shadows,” says Tran. They’ve already seen a wildly successful launch of their Mochi Gummies and infused pre-rolls on the California recreation market, and are looking to expand into more products next year.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Sundae School is a play on Lim’s first name and his time attending religious youth ministries in his childhood (an experience both he and Tran share). He first conceived of the brand on a Sunday afternoon in 2017. On that day, Lim was in his childhood bedroom in Korea, hitting a vape pen, when his mother suddenly started knocking on the door. He described how, through her voice and the intensifying knocking, his mind began to wander. Tran thought about how he wished she could just smoke weed and chill— but also how his mother created his life and made her like a god.
That’s when the question hit that would inspire the Sundae School concept: What if God was Korean, smoked weed every day, and started this world?
It’s been the guiding design aesthetic driving the company ever since, as they gather a community of people who imagine “a green, hazy universe where God in her highest inhales and exhales to create the world.”
Tran and Lim admit that finding this community inside a dispensary came with some growing pains, but now the message is spreading so fast that they’ve had to hire a new marketing director.
FASHION TO CANNABIS
After launching in 2017, Sundae School received recognition from fashion voices like Hypebeast, Vogue, a New York Fashion Week solo show, and an account with Barney’s Department Store. But it wasn’t until 2018 that, together with Bay Area native Tran, Lim decided to take on Sundae School as a full-time movement with both a fashion and a cannabis products line.
Tran and Lim met for dinner in Oakland one night, talking about how they wished they could see certain products in the market they felt were missing. Tran, who’s operated as a consultant for a list of prominent names in the cannabis space, had all the experience and connections to bring this part of the global message to reality. This is how they joined together to make these products themselves.
Sundae School’s mochi gummies are a direct result of that dream to share the flavors and textures of their culture. Lim describes how the three original flavors came from their shared Korean heritage.
“We started out by brainstorming our collective memories,” says Lim. “Tran and I used to go to Sunday school, and after, we would always grab bubble tea. Also, Tran’s memories of eating lychee and dragonfruit with her grandmother, and my memories of going to Jeju island to pick yuzu fruit.”
Sundae School was the first brand to bring most of these flavors to the edibles scene. Through this flagship product and numerous fashion pop-ups, they discovered a community springing up around the name. Since then, they’ve expanded to even more mochi options, like Fuzzy Peach, and are ready to launch a series of vapes with the same flavors.
With each run they work with a network of farmers in Humboldt County, California, to source the cannabis, and with businesses worldwide to source the fabrics for each run. They want the edibles and pre-rolls they release to feel less like a standard product on the shelf and more like a themed and designed collection that aligns with the company’s mission. “No tin of pre-rolls or new sweatshirts is created without a specific pairing and intent behind it,” says Tran. This also means they release their cannabis products on a fashion-like schedule every few months, instead of maintaining a supply for shops to re-order.
Tran explains, “The creative process doesn’t change even though the medium does. Whether we’re making a hoodie or a gummy, we still want that same design process where we’re going out there and having fun with sourcing manufacturers.”
It’s a process that has served them well but one they admit is unorthodox for pot’s evolving retail industry. Lim says that sometimes they’d run out of a product, and vendors would be upset that they wouldn’t have a restock planned for months. But for Sundae School, spreading a message of global cannabis acceptance has many fronts, and the retail cannabis business is just one of them.