Sessions: Brett Heyman of Edie Parker Is Bringing Weed Out of the Closet

Photo by Isabella Behravan
Edie Parker is at the top of every mid-century design-obsessed fashion girl’s wishlist. And ever since founder Brett Heyman’s foray into cannabis with Edie Parker Flower—it’s on the top of every weed girl’s wishlist too. But for the bicoastal-raised designer, exploring smoking accessories that double as vintage works of art was a natural evolution of her love for homewares, barware, and colorful curiosities. In other words, she wanted to buy cute stuff for her home, and no one was making it. We sat down in an appropriately chic mid-century Hollywood bungalow with Heyman to talk legalization, inspiration, and all things acrylic.

Let’s start at the beginning. What's your earliest memory of weed?

I guess in high school. I grew up in Brentwood, Los Angeles and I used to spend a lot of time with my friends who lived in Malibu. That was my earliest exposure to weed. The guys that I would hang out with who were all surfers, all smoked. And I definitely remember thinking it was really bad . Like, "This is illegal and bad." And then, trying it and really liking it. I was in 10th grade, doing the smoking out of an apple kind of thing.

Did growing up on this side of the country in your teen years influence on your aesthetic as a brand?

Definitely. I think I always had this interesting combination of being inspired by both places I lived; the East and West Coast. And for my personality, first of all, California totally mellowed me. I mean, I look at home videos that my parents have of me at nine before we moved, and I was really much more New-Yorky. And now I'm completely mellowed. But I still have some edge. But yes, I think aesthetically, I like a sort of chic New York look, but with a dose of Palm Springs. And always a lot of color, a bit of kitsch, and a sense of humor.
“Cannabis touches so many avenues in terms of doing good. And also, it's still fun!”

Do you think that it's too much of a stretch to say that your earliest experience of weed, when you were a teenager, also bumped up against your formative sense of style? Or how you saw the world in that way?

It was something that just was around and that everybody did. But it definitely wasn't something that sparked anything major for me. It was just something that I thought was really fun. I guess in that sense, it translated a little bit into the aesthetic of Edie Parker Flower, which is just for a good time. For me, it's always just for a good time.
Brett Heyman of Edie Parker

How has your relationship to weed changed since then?

I think I couldn't be more excited about legalization. And I don't live in a legal state. You know, I live in a medical state. It's decriminalized. But I feel like when I come here, it's always so exciting to go to a dispensary and see what's happening. And it translates for me into a healthier style of living. I still have an Ambien prescription. So when I come here I'm like, "Oh great, I'm going to get something else to sleep on." And it just makes me think of things in a very different way. Like, "Oh, I could have this plant that people have been using for medicine for thousands of years instead of whatever else I'm on in New York. Great." So I think it's really exciting. Cannabis touches so many avenues in terms of doing good. Obviously, criminal justice reform being one of them. For me, people on cannabis are not violent in the way that they are on alcohol. What else? Opioid dependency. In states where it's legal, opioid prescriptions go down. So all of that good stuff. And also, it's still fun!

In California, the “wellness, health, vitality” conversation is so often emphasized. And of course, these are all really good things. But the reason that your brand is different is just because it's fun.

And that's my relationship with it. And when I talk about it, I'm thrilled for all the medical benefits. And I'm happy that your inflammation is going to go down and stress is going to go down. That's wonderful. But I guess, and it's part of your earlier question, it's my New Yorkiness; that's not really why I'm here, you know?

What about your daily routine with cannabis?

Again, this is not an LA commentary, because I feel like a lot of people in LA are “Cali sober.” I still drink alcohol, so I think of cannabis very much like I think of alcohol. So, I don't smoke during the day, on weekdays. I am not a person who wakes up and smokes because I'm anxious about going to work. I smoke in the evening, when I'm home with my husband, instead of having a glass of wine. Or if I want to go to sleep, and I feel like taking an edible or a little puff to go to sleep. And then on the weekends, I smoke because we're in the country a lot. So that’s where I will smoke during the day, just because obviously it's very enhancing. In particular in nature, and just we take long walks, and then cannabis is a part of my day-to-day routine. But mostly it's just like pre-sex, pre-sleep, pre-chill. Recreational. We have a big veggie garden in our place in Connecticut, so in the summer I'm always cooking stuff from the garden. And then when it's cold, we're eating tons of cheese. And cannabis just makes all of that better.
Brett Heyman of Edie Parker Brett Heyman of Edie Parker

How did Edie Parker Flower get started and why did you wanna do a cannabis thing?

So I started my handbag brand about 10 years ago, and we launched a collection of home accessories in 2016. And that's how everything started, because we were having such a good time with the home accessories. We just thought, "I don't want to make another thing that people can buy on the market, like 700 of.” Like, “What is not being done in the way that I am looking for? Is there something that people aren't really making?” So when I thought about the way that I entertained at home and what I wanted to buy more of, this idea of cannabis accessories kept coming up. Because in my experience, there weren't a lot of accessories that I thought had the same romance of smoking accessories in the '60s. So we started making cannabis accessories in the same way that we made our bags, which was either acrylic in Italy or Illinois. We started working with local artisans, like a glassblower in Eugene, Oregon, who hand-blows those beautiful glass pipes, and a ceramicist in Tennessee. And just making things that had our brand aesthetic, which I didn't think you would find in the market.
“On the weekends...cannabis is a part of my day-to-day routine. Mostly it's just like pre-sex, pre-sleep, pre-chill. Recreational...cannabis just makes all of that better.”

How challenging was it to get your cannabis brand off the ground?

It was a challenge. It’s constantly changing, and the regs are insane, and from state to state it's insane. And there's so many problems, but we've learned a lot. Honestly, it’s feels impossible. I think it's impossible. Unfortunately, I think we'll see a lot of brands disappearing, because you have to have a lot of capital, and access to information, and it’s so limiting it’s a problem. It’s why there’s still such a huge black market. They don’t make it easy.

It's so like the Wild West right now.

People say that, but it is so true. Honest, not to be negative about it, but all of our experiences have been disappointing in a lot of ways. I think people, because they're not used to it, keep overpromising and saying they can deliver. Everybody is playing catch up, all the time. And it's really—it's tough. It is truly tough. What do you think’s going to happen?

On the CBD side? The bubble’s going to burst with regulation. The FDA will probably make a strong example of a handful of brands, and then everybody else is either going to have to close, or quickly pivot to get up to a certain standard. I think it needs to be more medicalized.

I agree. That’s why it has to be federally legal. It has to be regulated. I think adaptogens are the new CBD.

They will probably take CBD’s place when regulations change. Going back to your product, it almost feels so nostalgic, even though legal weed accessories are such a new thing.

That's the idea. That our whole brand aesthetic has obvious nostalgia, and this nod to the '50s and '60s, and all of that craftsmanship. I think there's always a romance around smoking accessories, like beautiful ashtrays, beautiful lighters. I personally think of it just like barware. For me, my house doesn't look like an apothecary. I don’t like stuff that looks like some old-timey, wooden cigarette box. It just isn't what I would ever like. A lot of stuff on market was very minimalist when we started. So much of the stuff I do is selfish and motivated by my own desire!

What made you want to collaborate on a line of smoking accessories with Miss Grass, in particular?

I mean, I love those girls. I met with them a year ago, and they're amazing. They're so smart, they're so cool. So I've just always been following them and love them. And I think we started talking about collaborating when they were going to do the pop-up in New York. And it just was one of the things that was very easy. I don't know if I suggested this first, or they did. But we started talking, and as soon as we got on the phone, I was like, "Great, let's do this." They had a lot of ideas about what they wanted the look and feel to be—they mentioned something with clouds—and we happened to have this amazing periwinkle marble sheet of acrylic that has the white that looks like clouds. We cut it out by hand, we lay in, and we buff it. So we are able to achieve this feeling of like this beautiful sky with a beautiful logo. They turned out so beautifully. And the Miss Grass collab is a perfect example of what cannabis accessories should feel like. They should be items that you're proud to display. I'm like, "Here's this beautiful object that can be on my bar, that can be on my shelf.” It shouldn't be something you're hiding in a drawer. For more Brett Heyman of Edie Parker, shop the full range of Miss Grass x Edie Parker Flower accessories.
Jerico Mandybur is Miss Grass’ resident Weed Witch. The best-selling author, modern spiritual guide, and former editorial director of Miss Grass, is our go-to source for all things tarot, magic, and witch-related.