I try to be as transparent as possible when I write about brands, goods, and services, because I think it’s only fair. Besides, you don’t know that for every publicist’s freebies I try and love and tell you about, there’s a whole bunch of others that I politely decline or, occasionally, try out and am completely not into.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not interested in using a byline just to amass Free Stuff, so I end up swiping left on a heap of emails, or forwarding them to someone I think could actually benefit from/be interested in the thing in the press release.
I ignore some of them completely, which was the case when I was first emailed about Erbanna bags. As I ended up saying directly to the publicist, that’s no insult at all to her formidable skills, just that I saw what looked like cute bags, but specifically for marijuana, in which I do not indulge, so I kept scrolling. It didn’t seem like the bags themselves were hemp, and even as I read about the “odor-lock” technology, I just didn’t get it — do weed smokers really need dedicated bags for this???
YES YOU DO HOLY SHIT YOU TOTALLY DO THESE BAGS ARE AWESOME OMG
Please pardon the all-caps outburst, but this is the first time I’m aware of wanting to tell everyone I meet about a product I’m 99 percent certain I will never personally need or use, and it’s an exciting and strange feeling I hope you’ll join me in exploring.
The initial email that I ignored was inviting me to the office to meet with the owner and look at the bags in person, and right before hitting “delete,” I noticed that I had an unrelated meeting in the same building that day anyway, an odd coincidence that I figured I’d take advantage of. Talk about doing the least — I was already going there, why not take a look?
When I walked in and sat down, I admit I semi-reluctantly pressed "record" on my phone, just in case I ended up maaaaaybe saying something about this line and wanted a quote. Within 10 minutes, I was leaning in, eyes wide open, brainstorming any way at all to help with marketing and get one of these precious babies into the hands of my cannabis-inclined friends.
Disclaimer: xoJane nor any affiliates endorse or encourage substance abuse or illegal use or transport of narcotics in any way, shape, or form. Information about, and references to, marijuana use contained herein refer strictly to legal medicinal use and/or locations where recreational marijuana use has been legalized. That refers to lots of places internationally, and here in the U.S., the list of states that have legalized marijuana continues to grow, with many more possible additions to the Legal List in the works.
With that all-important legality in mind, let’s talk about how fantastic these bags are. I read the words “aroma-controlled,” but they didn’t really register until I was holding one of the bags and examining the seams and the zippers. Their gorgeous outer designs and inner linings, in a variety of fabrics and leathers (in both genuine and vegan options), conceal a multi-layer yet incredibly thin odor-locking technology, consisting mainly of a mylar-like substance underneath the beautiful fabric linings.
Indeed, plastic and mylar seem to be as far as the industry has come in terms of sealing and concealing marijuana aromas, but most have simply decorated the plastic bags, with a search turning up such classy market leaders as Stink Sack and Containers 4 Marijuana.com. I admit I wasn’t aware there’s such a need for Erbanna bags, but a cursory glance of the “designer” options on Stink Sack’s website, where one can choose between skulls or army camouflage, or perhaps get a novelty plastic bag to keep your bud in that looks like a package of bacon, labeled Always Wake N’ Bakin’, really drives the point home.
No offense to the folks at Stink and Containers, but Erbanna is in a class all its own.
There are inner aroma-sealed pockets, as well as a small airtight screw-top container for loose product (included with each bag), and dedicated pockets and pouches for your lighter, papers, etc., so you’re not fumbling through your bag looking for things, and then the whole thing is sealed with another waterproof, aroma-controlling zipper.
Once something has been lit aflame it enters a new territory of smell that will penetrate seemingly everything, but not an Erbanna bag. Ann mentioned that it’s even been tested on cigarette butts, and with the price of cigarettes rising by the minute, this could be a way to be stylish, odor-controlled, and budget-conscious!
The extra odor-controlled zipper pockets within each bag are great for stashing something that has been partially smoked that you’ve extinguished but want to continue to smoke later. These zippers are light and thin yet made of rubber, and they’re so sleekly secure they give the impression that you could put a used tampon and rotting meat in there and wave it under the nose of a basset hound who would be none the wiser if that zipper was zipped up.
Some of the bags, like the Chrissy and Rae collections, are roughly the size of a traditional pencil case or a sunglasses case, designed primarily to go inside a larger purse or tote bag.
The medium-sized bags in the Mindy and Jenny lines are designed to be placed into larger bags also, or carried on their own as clutches or wristlets (wrist straps included).
The Kimberly clutch is an elegant standalone bag, and the Kate is a shrunken, structured backpack.
Variety in design, size, and number of pockets is obviously required of any bag line, but because of Erbanna’s focus in catering to marijuana enthusiasts, size and shape options were designed with different types of paraphernalia in mind. I may not know the exact difference between a joint, spliff, blunt, or doobie (I think that one’s fallen out of fashion tbh), but I know people are smoking, eating, vaping, and enjoying their cannabis-based product in a variety of ways.
I was especially impressed with the Kate backpack style, the bottom portion of which is a hard-shell aroma-controlled compartment that unzips and contains a thick foam lining that comes perforated in small cubes, making it customizable to the shape of your vaporizer, pipe, bong, or other glassware you’d want to protect.
Like so many other great products, Erbanna came about because of a sincere need that was not being met. Founder Ann Shuch, who enjoys cannabis products, told me, “I was out with some friends, and we’re all professionals, and we reeked. All of us. Four women in our 50s; we reeked. And I said, Why are we putting up with this? This industry is maturing, so why can’t we have something nice to put in our bags? Why are we still smelling or hiding things like criminals, and feeling bad?”
Ann’s initial concept was a simple “cosmetic case–sized bag that I could just throw in my purse” with compartments for her…product, and the accoutrements that she considers mandatory: “mints, Visine, lip stuff, and the lighter.” Her first order of business was to line her case with organized pouches and to address the smell: “If you consume cannabis and you open up your [purse or backpack], everybody should not know that you consume cannabis. So my initial goal was to not have that ‘poof’ [of odor] happen.”
From there, the exploration into larger shapes and sizes to suit specific needs grew, fueled in part by Ann traveling all over the country to do market research and see how people consume their weed in different states, which led her to observe that “the whole nation is consuming, just in all different ways and at different levels of acceptance.”
She visited areas where women were like, “I don’t care if I reek!” and, hey, more power to them. Overwhelmingly though, there are women of all ages who do care, and Erbanna as gives them the freedom to move about and indulge in more settings with ease, such as a woman Ann told me about meeting who appeared to be in her 70s who said of an Erbanna bag, “Oh good, I can take this to the opera!”
The purpose of these bags is not to perpetuate stigma around marijuana users, but rather to shatter it: There is no one way that a smoker might look, be, or live, and exercising discretion by choice, or, as Ann puts it, “letting those know that you smoke who you want to know, not necessarily every single person who walks by you,” is empowering. Having an organized and stylish place to keep your weed that you can leave out in plain sight is an option any adult deserves.
Though any adult deserves it, the market seems to cater to men getting high, while either hypersexualizing or de-feminizing women who openly do so. Y’know, like so many other markets do. That’s why Erbanna was designed for women, although Ann has intentionally been “thinking beyond pink” from the start, and there are many styles that appeal to anyone of any gender identity with aesthetic tastes that are more traditionally masculine.
Erbanna styles are a family affair, designed by Ann’s own daughter Kate, an FIT Accessories Design graduate, with the help of another handbag designer she had previously collaborated with on a costume line and overseen by Ann, who herself went to Parsons School of Design.
I happen to not ever blaze anything up, but I drink alcohol like it’s going out of business, and I’m not one of these dingleberries who acts like those are two completely different activities because of differing statute status. Why shouldn’t the professional or young mom who smokes at the end of a long day like I have a glass of wine have a stylish option that she needn’t hide?
Oh, and for that young mom, one of my favorite elements is that some Erbanna designs come with a lock and key because the whole point is that you don’t have to hide them away, and safety comes first with little ones.
I recently watched as a friend, a successful actress in her 30s, panicked about where to hide her weed in advance of her mother visiting and how much plastic to wrap it in. She needs an Erbanna bag, and if you use marijuana at all, so do you.
All images courtesy of Erbanna.