This Latina Entrepreneur Wants To Create The Birchbox For Cannabis

credit: Vabe / Elena Mudd

Rachel hasn’t always been a cannabis enthusiast.

“When I was younger, I was very anti-cannabis,” she tells Fierce. “I had an ex-boyfriend who would spend all of his money on it, and we slowly drifted apart due to his lack of maturity.”

She didn’t know much about marijuana at the time. The little she did know was from anti-drug speeches that she’d heard from teachers and family throughout her upbringing. But that all changed when the 22-year-old entrepreneur discovered the potential medical benefits of CBD and THC, like helping with relaxation and pain relief.

With so many women increasingly turning to weed for medical reasons, Rachel couldn’t ignore the major shift taking place.

“That’s when I was finally hooked,” she says.

But as she learned more about the cannabis industry, she recognized a glaring hole in the marketplace. An entire demographic had long been overlooked, and she wanted to change that.

“What’s really shocking to me as an entrepreneur is that there are already subscription boxes built for women that are cannabis friendly, but they’re very much geared toward that ‘stoner girl’ vibe,” Rachel said. “There wasn’t anything for a consumer like myself or my friends. There isn’t an extensive brand that offers discreet packaging and simple, feminine and curated monthly essentials with products that we can leave on the coffee table next to Harper’s BAZAAR when mom comes to visit.”

Enter Vabe, a brand for the empowered, modern woman. Rachel launched Vabe to provide products and services that allow women to engage with, learn about and enjoy cannabis consumption in a way that’s comfortable and familiar to them. What’s more, it’s reflective of their lifestyle.

“As a woman who personally dreads the monthly 7-Eleven runs or sticky encounters at the smoke shop, I needed something elevated,” the Mexican-Irish-Scottish Latina explains. “Many women dislike the term ‘stoner girl.’ Even though cannabis is a part of my own life and the lives of many women I know, we aren’t potheads.”

Vabe challenges those stereotypical labels that mischaracterize weed smokers as lazy and unmotivated.

“I wanted to build a brand that was exciting for the women dominating in grad school, the lawyers who come home and kick off their heels, the mothers who need some me time,” she said. “Vabe wants to provide not only the essentials for consuming cannabis, but the products, information and space where she can feel safe to do so. Our goal is to cut out all the stress and hoops she’s jumping through to find the product and services she needs and wants.”

What, exactly, do those products and services look like? At the moment, Vabe is taking pre-orders for its inaugural set, an “Her(b) Essentials” monthly subscription box. At $10 a month, each box includes “classy and feminine” rolling papers, matches that “she’ll love getting lit with,” fresh mints for that post-hit breath, a sticker of the month and one recipe for all the kitchen savvy folks out there.

As a Latina, Rachel said that she’s uniquely positioned to advance the conversation surrounding marijuana and people — specifically women — of color. She mentions President Donald Trump’s now-infamous speech in which he announced his presidential candidacy and simultaneously proclaimed that Mexico was bringing drugs, crime, and rapists to the U.S.

“High-functioning, successful women and Latinas do not want to continue to potentially perpetuate a narrative that our current administration stands behind,” she explains. “In fact, they will do everything in their power to separate themselves from that identity. That’s why it’s so important to re-educate ourselves and come to terms with our own identities and how they interact with cannabis.”

Rachel aims to roll out the first batch of pre-orders by June, with Vabe’s second product launch — Rx jars that include 4 oz glass “prescription” jars that are tailor-made for the vanity or bedside table — following.

“For Vabe, the end goal is truly rewriting our own understanding of our relationships with cannabis so that it can help influence policy and community.”

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