SmokeWare Your Mother In-Law Would Approve Of
Get to know the owner and artist behind Stonedware Co.: Portland based designer, Ariel Zimman.
A Modern Take On Cannabis SmokeWare With Stonedware Company
Women owned and operated, Stonedware Company is the product of Ariel Zimman’s creative spark. In 2013, with the founding of RELM STUDIOS in Portland, Ariel began her journey as an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry.
Q: Would you say you have encountered any roadblocks since starting Stonedware Co., whether professional or personal?
A: “Well telling my parents was a little bit of a thing, but they are totally super supportive and proud. In terms of the business, even though I’m not dealing with the plant (aside from personal consumption), because of federal laws I still fall under certain categories of prohibited items that can’t be sold. I have already been kicked off Square (the credit card processing company) for violating their Terms of Service… but I’ll continue to ride it until the wheels fall off and I have a contingency plan. Technically by federal standards, paraphernalia is listed as any smoking device with three holes, which in my opinion, is a super sexist law. Technically, on the books it’s an illicit product even though it’s just ceramics. You can use it as a door stop if you really want to!”
Q: On average, how long does it take to design and produce an original Stonedware piece?
A: “Well that depends. Take the Geo-Pipe for example. This is roughly a two-week turn around from the time it is cast (the first step of the process) to the time it’s glazed, fired, and sanded… I’m not making one at a time, I usually do everything in batches so that it’s more efficient. About 200 pieces are needed to fire my kiln.”
Q: Do you primarily utilize e-commerce as your main mode of selling your smokeware or do you frequent trade shows as well?
A: “The majority of the time it is just online sales and directed instagram traffic to my website. I don’t do any cannabis specific shows typically, but I still do craft fairs – I call it “hipster craft”. Where it’s younger crowds not really interested in folky pottery but a more contemporary modern aesthetic. In one weekend I can move a lot of retail and not have to worry about packaging and shipping. It’s direct to consumer and an easier sell in person when people get to meet me and all the features and how it’s made.
Q: Do you have a ritual for your creation/design process?
A: “The creative process is a hard thing to put your finger on. People always ask me where I get inspiration from, but the thing is, how do thoughts happen? I’ve always been a creative thinker and have always loved ceramics and clay as a material and I think it just happened. I’m thinking about it constantly and involved in both the cannabis and art world. I wouldn’t say there is a ritual, though. If I am in my studio and want to be creating, I have to clean my space entirely before I can get started. Sometimes I smoke weed in the studio but usually when I am really focused on working, it’s not something I consider.”
Q: How do you think Stonedware Co. represents the modern cannabis consumer?
A: “It definitely doesn’t represent every modern cannabis user; I think there is a pretty large market in terms of the people who would be attracted to my product, both men and women but most specifically women. Just having something that reflects your style and a beautiful object that can be in your home and not just a utilitarian device… incorporate that into your ritual. It’s an aesthetic choice. People ask me if I make bubblers or water-pipes or bongs and I’m like I don’t make those things because I don’t use those things and I prefer to stay in my lane.
With over 20 years of industry experience, Ariel is transforming the industry with her modern aesthetic. Be on the lookout for her one-of-a-kind pieces as they make their way across the nation.
“Technically by federal standards, paraphernalia is listed as any smoking device with three holes, which in my opinion, is a super sexist law.”
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