Doreen Sullivan has grown My Bud Vase into a million dollar bong company. She owes it all to the appreciation of a single flower, she says.
My Bud Vase is a luxury cannabis brand. The company offers a series of antique and custom bud vases that also function as water pipes.
Smoking Made Beautiful
As the story goes, Sullivan was hitting her bong when a repairman came to her door. She did the customary “hide the bong dance,” and quickly hid her bong amongst her vases. Just like that, the first My Bud Vase was born.
“I hid my bong amongst my beautiful vases, and then I realized that my bong was shaped like a vase, but nowhere near as pretty,” she recalls. The seed was planted.
From there, she “[set] the cannabis industry on fire like a well-waxed hemp wick,” reports Forbes.
Sullivan saw an opportunity not only to create beautiful smokeware, but empower women.
“Clearly I wasn’t the first person to put a hole in something and smoke out of it,” she continues. “[But most] bongs are heady and phallic and male.”
As such, there was a disconnect between women and bongs, she adds. “Women want something beautiful.”
Creating feminine pieces filled the niche she knew the cannabis industry lacked. Now, women all over the world are seen proudly posing with their My Bud Vases on Instagram.
Planting a Seed to Growing a Movement
Sullivan has since grown the seed into a flower, then a bouquet, and now, a movement. This female run business is not slowing down, either. For instance, they are in the process of expanding the company into a lifestyle brand to offer a new range of products that Sullivan promises will bring cannabis enjoyment to new levels.
In addition to artisan and signature My Bud Vase collections, she’s also introduced a line of accessories, and a boutique which features hemp-inspired jewelry, topicals and more.
“It’s almost that chrysalis – the caterpillar to the butterfly,” she says of the growth of the company. “There’s something about the power of creation and about the power of a plant.”
To celebrate, My Bud Vase is introducing their spring Flower Power campaign with a series of six new pieces created in gratitude of flora, and their feminine energy. The Flower Power campaign includes the Rosette collection, which comes with matching stoned rose-shaped ceramic flower pokers.
From Water-Pipe Dream to Reality
Sullivan comes from a career in product development, and entertainment marketing. For three decades and counting, she’s also run the award-winning creative agency, Post No Bills, which she founded in 1987. The company’s powerhouse clientele includes ESPN, Paramount Pictures, and the U.S. Olympics to name a few.
Her corporate career has always required her constant creativity, she explains. “If it was The Borne Identity, I was dealing with spies. If it was Shark Tale, it was the ocean. Everything I worked on, I just dug into that life.”
“My mind was on fire,” she says of balancing so many different projects at once. “I always thought, ‘if I can just work on one thing, what would it be? I would just be around flowers, and just work at a flower shop.’”
Her water-pipe-dream became a reality when she officially launched My Bud Vase on April 20th, 2016.
Now she works amongst rows of flowers. Sullivan even describes her office as a scene from the Tulips fields of Holland, she says of the garden she’s cultivated. “With that comes potential. It comes with potential to inspire people and to help others. It comes with the potential to expand, to spread beauty, to spread light and joy.”
That is flower power, she says.
Bring new Meaning to Flower Power
Flower power evokes a feeling in time. Sometimes synonymous with hippies, the term was also used in the 60s and 70s as a symbol of peace and passive resistance.
But as we enter a plant-based era, flower power is taking on a whole new meaning, especially in the cannabis industry, says Sullivan.
Though she feels there’s going to be a resurgence of the vibe from the 60s/70s, in a modern way, she hopes her designs will honor the previous meaning of Flower Power while bringing it new meaning.
“That new meaning would be about empowerment,” she adds, “and the transformation that comes from simple beauty.”
“Bloom When you are Ready”
When Sullivan launched My Bud Vase, she did so as a weekend hobby, she explains.
“When I started it, this was out of joy. I have already run a business, raised the kids. I’m not old enough to not be working, and I’m constantly just wanting to create,” she explains.
So, she dove in, and started to raise funds for her budding venture. She did so for 18 months, she explains. Then, “one person along the way said to me — “are you sure you need the flowers? You could probably save some money if you didn’t have them.””
“It was at that point that I stopped trying to find someone to see my vision,” she added. Subsequently, “I dug in and sowed more seeds in my garden — and self funded this business.”
The point is, she says, “it’s a special place when you don’t have to bloom for someone else, but you bloom when you are ready.”
Showcasing Femininity and Flora
All Sullivan’s designs are inspired by flora — even down to My Bud Vases’s logo, which is a ‘bird’s eye view’ of a flower. Ultimately, however, it is the feminine energy of flowers, and their abilities to mirror women that inform Sullivan’s designs.
“What I love most about flowers is how they replicate women. They are all so beautiful, they are all so different. Women bloom. This is what makes the world go round – the feminine energy,” Sullivan says.
In fact, each My Bud Vase takes its inspiration from a particular flora, a female, and/or period of feminine empowerment.
“Most of the things we make are designed to honor something or to speak out to a feminine body,” Doreen explains.
Above all, women are complex and unique, like flowers, and “there’s a vase for every flower,” she says.
Sullivan not only reflects this in her designs, she instills it in her company culture. The company is female operated, and embraces the leadership values that come along with that.
Women are like flowers in more ways than one, she continues. We all start from a seed, but the way we are nurtured matters. And when we are properly nurtured, and a flower sprouts — “there is nothing more divine, or more beautiful,” she smiles. “It stops people in their tracks. It takes their breath away.”
“It’s prolific,” Sullivan adds. “That’s incredibly empowering, and that’s what flower power is. It is energy that can take your breath away, and can beautifully transform things.”
“I really hope that our flower power [campaign] resonates with women and is an inspiration to all knowing that a single flower can drive an entire business. It can also change the world,” says Sullivan.