In a “retrofitted 19th century Clinton Hill garage,” artisanal fragrance products are lovingly produced. Candles are concocted here, at Joya Studio, with natural soy and beeswax blends. They smell of star anise, atlas cedar, chinotto, and tulsi leaves. Some resemble chess pieces. Others are designed to be burned in tandem with another substance that, up until quite recently, was hardly associated with upscale consumer goods.
That would be marijuana, and those pot-pairing candles would be destined for clients of the just-launched House of Puff. The company debuted with an entrée to newbie smokers — an obvious Kylie Jenner pun — the $79 “Lit Kit,” which includes fabulous rolling papers made of unbleached hemp (they double as face oil blotters, giving Rihanna a run for her money), a silicon pocket for your dank, a carrying case announcing your status as “high functioning,” matches, and aforementioned white fig and coconut milk-scented Joya candle designed to enhance your session. The star of the “Lit Kit,” arguably, is a sleek, pink accoutrement named Le Pipe, which a ceramicist designed especially for House of Puff to hold a few drags more than the industry standard one-hitter.
The mind behind this quirky herbal celebration is a one Kristina Adduci, a nice Puerto Rican girl who, as she explains to Remezcla, really only started “indulging” in her late 20s. “I grew up in a strict family, so drugs were obviously frowned upon,” she says. After getting her master’s degree in international affairs, she briefly worked in the political arena before fleeing. She spent four years at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and, “I realized I had entrepreneurial ambitions I wanted to explore,” she remembers. In 2016, Adduci founded an online art magazine for NYC’s young collectors named Art Zealous.
But as her professional star rose, the businesswoman was struggling with mental health issues. She had been diagnosed with anxiety issues at the age of 18 and hated the way her prescription medications made her feel groggy and out of sorts. Thankfully, she has some good friends. One day, one of them sat her down, pulled out some Blue Dream, popped it in a vaporizer, and summarily changed Adduci’s life. “I remember just inhaling and then letting out the largest sigh of relief,” she says. “It was like the grip of anxiety had just let go.”
Just like that, her parents’ stigmatization of cannabis came into a different light. “I sat my mother and family down and said, ‘Listen, you have it all wrong about cannabis,’” Adduci says. “I showed them research and read them stories, but more importantly, I explained to them that I was thriving and happy. That’s all they needed to understand.”
“Most [pipes] are very masculine, phallic or just plain ugly.”
There was a small problem, however. Adduci is an aesthetically-minded kind of marijuana consumer, the sort that one runs across more and more in a swiftly legalizing world of weed that is lightyears away from Reefer Madness or even the black lit, patchouli-scented, tie dye of yesterday. “Most [pipes] are very masculine, phallic or just plain ugly,” she says. “Have you ever seen those glass pipes sold on the side of a street or a smoke shop? That’s our nightmare.” Frustrated with her options, Adduci remembered a maxim oft related by her business advisor; “If you want something that doesn’t exist, create it.”
So began the entrepreneur’s current chapter at the helm of what some publications have whimsically termed “the Glossier of weed accessories.” House of Puff is a company designed for the well-heeled marijuana consumer that may have just stepped into cannabis usage and is in need of a “how to roll” guide with their rolling papers. Like Adduci, they hang in Williamsburg, Sonoma, and the Hamptons. They dabble in interior design, perhaps, and may need a little help rolling their first jays (the “Lit Kit” includes a how-to guide, just in case.)
Besides a love of millennial pink, perhaps one of the key links to that most beloved of NYC-based beauty brand, lies in House of Puff’s conviction that the physical way in which you and your products are united matters. Adduci was perturbed to learn that most cannabis companies ship in anonymous brown paper packages — that they “miss the mark with a great packaging experience,” as she puts it. “Perhaps that’s for obvious reasons,” she says. “But it doesn’t make you feel good about participating in a lifestyle choice that has much more mainstream appeal.” Go ahead and cue the haul video for your “Lit Kit” — it will arrive in “a beautiful box that feels high-end but also approachable.”
Perhaps this is not what everyone looks for when ordering weed paraphernalia. But Adduci is confident that she knows her high-functioning clients. “They will use our products, supplement their strategies for disconnecting, curing anxiety, or going out with friends or having meaningful, productive conversations,” she says. “They have more going on than just smoking cannabis. They are making things happen.”