Danyel’s high-end accessories a hit with the cannabis crowd
Danyel Thompson is offering high-end lockboxes for anyone who enjoys cannabis.
People here and in California, where she has lived since 2018, have responded well to El SmokeStation, the “elegant” line she created with “home decor” in mind.
The boxes come in different colours, themes and designs. Both the Classic+ and the Multi-Tech versions come with Bluetooth and fingerprint locks, wireless chargers, a touch screen mirror and charging ports. Twenty-four carat rolling papers and “glass bottle smoke pipes” are also on her list of offerings.
“My idea is that you can have it out on your table if you're having a party [while] making sure that everyone around you is safe when it's there and that it doesn't strip away from your home decor. It adds an essence to it,” said Ms Thompson, who has lived in the US for the past 16 years but regularly mentors entrepreneurs here.
“It's supposed to make it feel fun and elegant, not have you feel gritty and grimy. In California there’s absolutely no stigma [about cannabis] but I wanted to make [accessories so people] don't feel disconnected, disjointed or ashamed of what they’re doing.”
In university she studied business but while working as a consultant at Axa XL, she fell in love with technology.
“I was helping with the investments side but the systems side within that. And that's what brought it out and I said, ‘OK, I like it. I like it a lot.’”
Despite that, in 2018 when she moved from North Carolina to California with her husband Calvin, she dived in head first when asked to appear on House Hunters, the reality series on HGTV. Commercials followed.
Ms Thompson said she was happy to have a chance to explore her creativity. The following year she started 4TwentyDecor and began working on the El SmokeStation line.
“I love home decor. [My husband and I were already] flipping houses. We would find deals and renovate them; home decor has always been something in my space. So I guess the essence of El SmokeStation fits the fashion side, the design side.
“Even from young I would make a house look pretty, no matter what you had in it. And now I can literally pull a team together and we can reposition your bathroom, we can add stairs …. we can do all that stuff. That isn't me doing the construction, that's me being the producer of it; pulling it all together and making sure that it works. So, no matter what format it takes, whether it's designing the house or designing the technology, it is all organising.”
In California, where cannabis is legally available to adults as a recreational drug, her attention was drawn to how people stored it in their homes.
“I noticed that the items were not always safe and it clicked to me that I could create something.
“And then I also wanted to clean it up. I'm the person that shows up to the party with the peacock and the heels even though it's just a barbecue on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to bring the essence of me, plus uniformity and elegance, to something that is widely spread out here where I am.”
With everyone stuck at home in 2020 because of the pandemic, Ms Thompson shared her plan with her neighbour, an engineer.
“I would go over there daily with my ideas of how to construct it – what it was that I thought that was needed; how I would build it and where I would find the tools and the equipment to make it happen. He was really my testing environment in the technology world.
“But honestly, if we didn't have 2020 happen with us all having to sit down, I don't know if I would have found the time to devote to following this route. We went from always being in LA with production stuff to, OK, we have to sit.”
Her products are available online at the moment although she is in talks with wholesalers in the US and Germany.
“We are split up into three: there's technology, there’s fashion and then there's the smoke accessories which is the S Access House – you'll see that on the website as well. That's where I curate specific smoke accessories that cater to technology or the idea of beauty when you're using it. So for example, my lighters, they're all USB charged; they’re flameless. And then I have some that you can stick on the back of your cell phone. I like to find things that make the user feel more engaged in being futuristic.”
The products are “absolutely” created so that Bermudians can easily buy.
“I love my people,” Ms Thompson said. “The reason why I'm actually coming back and tapping into Bermuda is because I want Bermuda not to be left out when I’m mentioning Colorado and I'm mentioning Germany and Canada [when I do my promotions]. My country needs to be running on the same wavelength as the rest of the heavy hitters out here. That’s not just my gift back, but that's my pride. I am Bermudian, we love toys and I want to show that we can afford the finer things in life. I am very braggadocious about Bermuda so I just want us to have a platform internationally as well.”
She is pleased with the feedback, especially as 4Twenty Decor has been “a huge undertaking for a little little tyke like me”.
“So some days it can be a little bit more exhausting than others. But overall, what keeps me going is the responses. I'm getting love from Bermuda and I get a sign off or cosign that this really is a good product – not just from Bermuda though, and that's a good thing. The funny thing is the ones who give me the most comments are the non-smokers. And what they all say is, ‘I don't even smoke and I want one. This is just so pretty.’
“For the smokers, of course, they're going to already understand the elements of what it is and they don't articulate themselves as much as the non-smokers. The non-smokers want to know. When someone wants to know what you’ve got going on that means you’ve at least hit one mark of sparking their interest. So the response has been great. I'm really excited about that.”
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