Just about twenty years ago, The Devil Wears Prada strutted onto the silver screen, delivering a fabulous mashup of genres - part rom-com, part horror flick - that left audiences gasping and gossiping. And let's be real, we all thought to ourselves, “That doesn’t actually happen in real life.” But in catching up with StateHouse Holdings' Angela Pih, we’ve learned the world of legal cannabis is surprisingly similar to the glamorous chaos of Runway Magazine - only the Louboutins have been replaced with sturdy Wellies and catwalks with the amazing rows of outdoor grown craft cannabis.
*Editor's Note: See more from Angela Pih and other industry leaders in our list of AAPI trailblazers in cannabis here.
Angela Pih: From Big Fashion To Big Cannabis
As a seasoned marketer with a background in fashion and creative agencies, Pih has seen it all. She made her mark as the Chief Marketing Officer of Halston, reviving the iconic brand and catapulting it back into the world of high demand, high fashion. Pih's experience in the cutthroat world of fashion honed her instincts as much as her skills.
“Fashion moves fast and is inherently unforgiving,” says Pih. “Discipline and precision matter always.” Now, she's bringing that same ferocious tenacity to the world of cannabis, where the stakes are high, the competition is fierce, and there's always a new trend to ride. With Pih at the helm of StateHouse’s marketing vision, the future of craft cannabis looks brighter and bolder than ever.
Pih is a true Renaissance woman with a background as diverse as the cannabis industry she now calls home. With three citizenships and having traveled more than 40 countries, it's no wonder she's a natural fit for the globally minded StateHouse Holdings family. But her journey into the world of legal weed was anything but a straight line. It started thanks to a dear friend – Fruit + Flower Co.’s Christina Wong – who happened to catch word that leading cannabis brand Papa & Barkley was on the hunt for a new CMO with a fresh perspective. Wong made it her mission to create a true love connection between Pih and P&B. At first, Pih didn’t take it too seriously. But something about the brand stuck with her, and as she dove into the origin story and the family of products, the mission of unlocking the power of cannabis to improve lives drew her in.
Angela Pih, Champion Cannabis Marketer And Journey To StateHouse Holdings
Pih grew up with traditional Chinese medicine and a firm belief in the healing power of plants. As she puts it, "I've always been a believer that we have one life to live, and it's important to do things that fulfill you and make you happy. That's what I've found in this industry - a real passion for the product and the people." A spark was ignited and within eight weeks Pih jumped into Papa & Barkley and, as luck would have it, she made sure that six weeks later Wong was on-board as well.
Working tirelessly to elevate the brand's profile, Pih used her experience in the fashion and creative agency worlds to craft a narrative that was both compelling and authentic. As the company grew, so too did Pih's own passion for the industry - a passion that has only continued to deepen in the years since, carrying her into her time at the multi-brand producer CannaCraft where she successfully brought 70 new products to market, including Gem+Jane, the first (and only) cannabis brand acquired in California. Pih’s circle of friends keep close tabs on her, and it was through this tight circle that she was introduced to StateHouse, post-merger of the major California operators Harborside, Urbn Leaf, Sublime Canna and Loudpack. Her friendly advisors noted that the consolidated companies needed a seasoned marketer – someone who could integrate, orchestrate, and navigate growth across 14 retail locations and 6 brands.
How Are Angela Pih And StateHouse Holdings Forging Paths For Craft Cannabis?
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Pih says “Bring it on.” In late 2022, Pih and StateHouse drew a clear line in the sand of quality and the world of craft cannabis. Pih and the team have dedicated themselves to supporting and shining a spotlight on sungrown independent farms. These small businesses are delivering on the promise of truly impressive flower, powered by the terroir in which it is grown. Pih champions that only in working together – in true collaboration – can the industry preserve the stewardship, generational farming, and strain diversity from legacy farmers. She believes that there is a vast potential for cannabis to positively impact health and enjoyment, and, as an extension of this, that there is also potential for developing purpose-driven enterprises that balance profit and purpose.
As an authentic industry leader, she has forged partnerships with organizations like The Emerald Cup and Small Farms Council to create multiple avenues for distribution, all with a focus on uplifting small craft growers. But it's not just about the bottom line for Pih - she understands that building strong relationships with her customers is equally important. That's why she has worked with the StateHouse team to dream up their signature customer loyalty program, “TOPS", which goes beyond basic discounts to truly incentivize and advocate for the consumer. In these uncertain economic times, Pih wants to make sure her customers can stretch their dollars further and earn cash rewards on their purchases. It's just one more way Pih and StateHouse are changing the game for craft cannabis.
Pih’s commitment to craft cannabis doesn't stop when she goes to sleep at night. In fact, it even colors her dreams. "Imagine sharing a joint with none other than Leonardo da Vinci around a campfire," Pih muses with a smirk. "He's a scientific genius who's also an equally prolific artist, recognizing the human condition and seeing us, the everyday human, as all equally capable of creating alchemy. And the only thing we're smoking is craft cannabis all the way." As she delves deeper into this dreamy scenario, Pih curates every detail. The conversation would range from all aspects of the humanities and creative subjects, while they share a sungrown flower with citrus notes and a floral finish, creating a brilliant cerebral euphoria that perfectly complements the discussion. In Pih's world, even her dreams are optimized for the ultimate experience.
What's Next For Angela Pih?
Looking to the future, Pih doesn’t hesitate to share her thoughts on what's in store for the next year. "Well, it's going to be a bit of a slog, isn't it?" she quips. "But let's not forget, tough times don't last, tough people do. And speaking of toughness, I learned a thing or two in the cutthroat world of high fashion. It's all about the talent and the collaborations. When the going gets tough, the tough get creative." Pih firmly believes that alliances and partnerships will be the key to unlocking success in these trying times.
As we reflect on our conversation with Pih, we can't help but feel energized by her infectious optimism and inspired by her choice of anthem: New Radicals' "You Get What You Give." Pih doesn't just sing the words, she lives by them, and we are here for it all day, every day.
For more about Angela Pih and StateHouse Holdings, visit statehouseholdings.com.
A version of this article was originally published in Honeysuckle's 16th print edition. Click here to get your copy now!
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Featured image: Angela Pih, Head of Marketing at StateHouse Holdings (C) StateHouse Holdings