Photo Credit: LEUNE.
Female-led cannabis lifestyle brand, LEUNE, aims to transcend the cannabis culture landscape with purpose-driven and design-forward plant products.
CEO and founder Nidhi Lucky Handa was dissatisfied with the cannabis industry’s offerings and sought to create a brand that would appeal to a wider demographic. So, she founded LEUNE in 2018. Since then, the cannabis brand has raised awareness of social injustice, and elevated the conversations surrounding cannabis culture, according to their website.
Cannabis Inspired to Widen Consumer Demographics
LEUNE Founder and CEO Nidhi Lucky Handa Photo Credit: LEUNE.
The excitement of the recreational market in California motivated Handa to enter the cannabis industry. As a consumer, she felt companies in the adult-use market made heavily male-focused products that did not speak to her.
“What I was seeing was a very bifurcated grouping of products that were either incredibly sort of male-focused or misogynistic,” she said.
Further, she found that the cannabis industry was difficult to enter as a woman. Handa explained, “it’s really hard for […] women to succeed in this industry. They don’t get hired as much, but it’s also not necessarily the safest place for women.”
Dissatisfied, Handa created LEUNE to appeal to a wider demographic. As Handa told Green Entrepreneur, “I wanted to cater 50-50 to a male-female audience.” She added, “women make 80 percent of the spending decisions for the household, and that’s probably going to include the weed, so I wanted to build something aesthetic and thoughtful.”
A Brand Dedicated to Social Justice and Equity
LEUNE aims to bring awareness to social injustice.
Handa explained, “we’re very mission-driven at LEUNE. Before the brand was even born, the thing that was very clear to me was that if I’m going to participate in the legalized part of this industry, [my] mission is going to be [building] an essential ethos to the brand,” she said. “How that looks is not just making donations and writing checks, but it’s actually investing in our consumer and finding creative ways to engage and educate without patronizing them.”
LEUNE partners with and sponsors several social justice organizations within the cannabis industry. One of these organizations is Broccoli Magazine’s Floret Coalition, an anti-racist collective of small businesses in and related to the cannabis space that support and fund equity-oriented actions.
For three years, LEUNE has sponsored Eaze Momentum, a business accelerator. The program supports and empowers underrepresented cannabis-preneurs and builds a diverse industry.
Post from @leunebrand on Instagram.
During Pride Month last year, LEUNE partnered with Equity California, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights throughout the state. Specifically, LEUNE created a limited production of PAX Pods called Hot Honey, whose proceeds funded the organization.
The brand also partners with the Last Prisoner Project. The project aims to bring justice and freedom to those incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses. In January of 2021, LEUNE launched the Piña DayDream, an all-in-one vaporizer whose sales funded the Last Prisoner Project. LEUNE also creates video content for the organization that advocates for the release of convicted cannabis offenders. Additionally, the company released a magazine called Honestly Grown last year. The magazine aimed to provide dispensaries and consumers with content centered around cannabis lifestyle and social justice reform.
Credit: Last Prisoner Project on YouTube.
Using Sustainable Product Packaging
The purpose-driven brand is committed to reducing its environmental impact.
For example, LEUNE uses low carbon footprint product packaging. All of the brand’s all-in-one vaporizer pens and pre-rolls come in reusable and recyclable aluminum tin cases. LEUNE PAX pods are sold in recyclable cartons made from wind energy.
Handa added, “we use plastic as little as humanly possible.”
She continued, “we have a lofty goal of figuring out how to get our packaging to become compostable. It’ll take us a minute, but we’re working on it.”
The plastic that LEUNE does use is recycled ocean plastic to make the brand’s jarred flower lids.
Handa explained there are some challenges to being completely plastic-free. This is primarily due to the cannabis industry’s child resistancy requirements for product packaging.
Products for the Next Generation Consumer
From Left to Right: LEUNE Cloud Berry Gem Drops, LEUNE Sol Berry Pre-Roll. Photo Credit: LEUNE.
Catered to the “next-generation consumer,” LEUNE offers products from flower and pre-rolls, to all-in-one vaporizer pens, PAX pods, vape oil cartridges, and edibles.
Five signature profiles categorize all of LEUNE’S products. These categories range from sativa-dominant, to indica-leaning, seasonal and high-potency hybrid products. For example, the Desert Gold Flower is a sativa-leaning hybrid flower while the Cloud Berry Gem Drops are indica-leaning edible rosin gummies.
Through these profiles, Handa said, LEUNE is able to create a narrative that allows the consumer to holistically interact with the brand’s products.
“Inside the LEUNE architecture, you’re going to find a very strong, consistent narrative that is based on the profiles that we’ve created: Cloud Berry, Sol Berry, Desert Gold, etc. Those profiles exist in disposable vapes, in 510 cards, in infused joints, in dried flower, and in edibles so that the way that the consumer interacts with a brand is very holistic,” she stated.
However, she also emphasized that her brand aims to appeal to newer consumers, especially those new to the legal recreational market, also known as the “next generation consumer.”
“We spend a lot of time and energy trying to understand the consumer arc in cannabis for the newer consumer. When I say the newer consumer, I don’t mean new to weed but new to legal weed,” Handa told Emerald.Currently, consumers can purchase LEUNE in select dispensaries or through delivery services in California and Arizona
Post from @leunebrand on Instagram.
Photo Credit: LEUNE.
LEUNE is adamant about growing its consumer base and expanding into other states. As Handa mentioned, “we launched in Arizona last year, we have Maine coming online in a few weeks, and then a few more state announcements are coming as weed is regulated.”
But Handa has also set her sights on the international market. For example, LEUNE is also looking to expand into Europe and Canada.
Through it all LEUNE remains focused on the consumer experience.
“We’re in an evolving industry. There’s so much room for innovation. We’re always paying attention and trying to engage with our consumers on what they actually want.” She added, “we are so excited about all the products that we’re able to bring to consumers and making them better.”
Importantly, LEUNE is paving the way for a more inclusive future for the cannabis industry.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Handa admitted. “I think it would be really irresponsible for me to say that there’s anything about this industry that today is super diverse or super welcoming to women… Largely there’s enough of us that have a desire to create equity and diversity.”
By supporting equitable causes, Handa said, “we might just be able to create something that we’re all not only proud of, but really an industry that can be an example for others.”
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