I’ve come a long way from my hemp backpack days. In college, when I wore Birkenstocks with socks and wrapped strands of hair with embroidery floss and beads, the shapeless natural fiber sack coordinated well with my look. And, because it was kind of a badge of honor to smell like weed on my campus, it was the perfect accessory for storing and transporting cannabis.
But now I’m a grownup. Though you’ll very occasionally see my feet in Birks, I abandoned that hemp backpack ages ago. I actually transport cannabis much more often now, since it’s legal and all, and I don’t always love to be the mom who emits a strong scent of marijuana when I pick my kid up from nature school. Clearly, it’s past time to step up my bag game.
Where are the grownup stash bags?
Ann Shuch had a similar realization a few years ago when she was going out for a ladies’ night with her friends. The founder of Erbanna, a line of stylish, discreet, odor-proof handbags and carrying cases, laughs as she describes the inspiration behind her company: “We’re a group of women in our 50s, going out in Manhattan, and we want to smoke a little beforehand. We’re dressed up, in a nice car. But it’s almost a joke, what we’re pulling out of our cute handbags. I thought then: there’s got to be something better than this, something cute and classy, something that women want to carry. But there wasn’t.”
An unexpected company
What does a driven woman do when she can’t find the item she’s looking for? She creates it, of course! Disappointed by the lack of appealing options for today’s female cannabis consumer, Shuch made it her mission to develop a stash bag that was both functional and sophisticated, one that she and her friends would proudly buy and carry. In the process, she wound up launching a business. “I thought I’d make one bag and people would want it and that would be that,” she tells us. “I didn’t realize people want a variety, they want options to choose from. All of a sudden I have a bunch of designs, then a bunch of bags, and then a company.”
While this was an unexpected direction for a woman who describes herself as a “Goldman wife” and a “longtime volunteer,” Ann fortunately had the right people around to make it happen. Her daughter Kate, a recent graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, now designs for Erbanna bags. She also has a great partner, Jerome Miller, whose logistical experience ensures that fabrication runs smoothly. After directing a teen dating abuse organization, spearheading the school book fair, and coaching her daughter’s sports team, Shuch says, “I never thought I’d be in the cannabis industry. I never thought I’d own a business. Especially at age 54!”
They’re really cute, and they really work
At this point, Erbanna offers a variety of beautiful designs at affordable prices, from backpacks to purses to vape cases. They’re equipped with a unique Odor-Loc Technology, and many have internal pockets and compartments that add an extra layer of protection as well as smell-proof zipper closures. Erbanna’s designs are well-made, chic, and they work wonderfully. My current favorite is the Emily, the newest small stash bag, in Twister. This perfectly fits ID and credit cards, chapstick or lip gloss, a lighter, a small pipe or vape pen, and a container of flower or extract. I carry it on its own and, just as frequently, drop it into a hobo or laptop bag to keep my stash separated.
My eyes are also on the Jenny, a “fan favorite” clutch with a lock and the K.I.T., a wallet-sized case that helps you “Keep It Together” at home or on the go. You can find padded pouches and backpacks for glass storage, vape cases (currently on sale!), and genuine leather purses at Erbanna.com or select retailers.
“Convincing shop owners that they should carry a product like this, that the price point is not too high, has been a challenge,” Shuch relates. Ladies, it’s time to let dispensaries and head shops know that you’re looking for classy accessories and female-friendly lines. Bonus: Erbanna makes men’s products too, so it’s a win for everyone.