- Vivian Hendriksz |
Mary Jane has received a major makeover in the wake of marijuana acceptance across the US, leading to rise of couture cannabis gear. Amongst this new found gap in the fashion market is AnnaBís, a luxury range of handbags designed to conceal your stash, whilst still being incredibly functional and beautiful for everyday use. Founded by baby-boomers Jeanine Moss and Ann Shuch, AnnaBís is said to be the world’s first handbags to include odour-lock technology.
AnnaBís: "It's legalized, now time to make it civilized"
“As a marketer we are always looking at markets and seeing opportunities, whilst wishing we had the chance to take our marketing all the way through to create the thing we know should be there,” explained Moss to FashionUnited. “And that is what AnnaBís is for me.” Moss, with a background in marketing and advertising, and Shuch, a Parsons School of Design graduate who met through a mutual friend at a party, first stumbled upon the idea for AnnaBís when they were discussing the lack of the Gucci-bag equivalent for women within the cannabis industry.
Launched online at annabisstyle.com just in time for the holiday season, the first collection from AnnaBís consists of 3 items made from Italian leather; a small pouch, named the Melissa (175 US dollars), a vape case, known as the Whoopee (120 US dollars) and the Chelsea, a cross-body bucket bag (295 US dollars). Available in 3 leather colours, the range was created around the needs of the modern, professional women. Whilst researching what it is these women exactly where after in a handbag, Shuch and Moss discovered that women not only wanted a fashionable and functional bag, but also one offered them discretion.
“This question was very important to the women we spoke to, who asked what would happen if they would leave it out or if something would fall out of the bag - discretion is very important to women who consume," explained Shuch. "They want to be able to pick and choose who they want to share it with.” After hearing numerous horror stories from women who had their stash or medicine spill over the table during a meeting, the duo knew that tactfulness when it came to the bag's contents was high on the priority list, along with design and quality.
AnnaBís: The first luxury handbag to offer odour-locking technology
"We really felt like there are a huge amount of women embedded in the world who have been reasonable, professional but not identified," said Moss. "But we knew she was there and we felt that she needed to be honoured - ourselves as well by the way, because we are that woman too - we also wanted to combat stigma about women who consume.” Both Moss and Shuch, who grew up in the 70s around cannabis, agree that the time was right to address this woman and satisfy all of her handbag needs, whether she be 25 years old or 50 years old.
"One of the wonderful things is how the millennial generation gets along with the baby-boomers which is an important point for our design as we created these bags to be able to cross generations," continued "Because the AnnaBís women is not about an age, it is about an attitude towards life." A good example of the bags generational appeal can be see in both Moss and Shuch daughters, who are in their late twenties and early thirties. Although they don't consume, they still love the handbags for their design and quality appeal. "My niece was our first customer actually, she bought 5 bags," added Shuch with a laugh.
Although some may wonder if women are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a bag for their cannabis, Moss is quick to point out that AnnaBís is not necessarily for every woman. “If you don’t care about fashion, style, quality and beauty then you've got baggies! We did not want to address that market with AnnaBís. We wanted to address the other market, who cares about aesthetics, quality construction and a high level of functionality.” Another reason behind the bags price mark is the fact the duo design and manufacture everything together with their team and had to go through rigorous testing phases in confined quarters to ensure the final bags were exactly what they wanted them to be.
AnnaBís handbags named after cannabis advocates
Each bag contains a custom made jacquard lining which helps lock in any odours, and the AnnaBís logo. The idea behind the logo is that women will be able to identify a "kindred spirit" when they see it on the handbags. Although the first collection, and all collections to follow will be launched limited edition, Shuch will ensure that any popular silhouettes, textures or colours come back in future collections in order to keep the assortment offered "fresh and new", and to ensure women are able to stay "individual."
"We are women - we don’t just want one bag, we want something for night-time, daytime, casual wear, we want numerous bags and we think that you will want to have an AnnaBís bag wardrobe," noted Moss. With the next collection slated to launch next month, offering more uni-sex and vegan options (as both were highly requested after the initial launch), both ladies maintain that for now they are looking to develop to best possible handbags they can. "We are starting to make the best handbags ever. The only the best, that's what we want to be. Once we nail that, which is probably going to take the better part of next year, then we will be developing and looking at all the other great things that women want and need."
Although the brand recently launched, AnnaBís has received praise from all over the global, and orders as well. “We've received overwhelming positive reactions from everyone,” said Moss, adding that not only were people inquiring how and where they could buy their bags, but also if they could work for the label or even become a vendor AnnaBís. “We think it’s only a matter of time before department stores will be carrying us and we are looking forward to that,” pointed out Moss. “But first they have to have a better level of acceptance [towards cannabis] and we think that is still a few years away.”
“We just opened a new category here, a new accessories section and any retailer who wants to carry us will have to be at the forefront of retail.”
Photo credit: AnnaBís