Photos of Dr. Jan Roberts of Dr. Virago by @samuelclemenslong on Hasselblad 500C medium format
Doreen Sullivan, owner and creator of MY BUD VASE, is an amazing female “canna-preneur” unwilling to take no for an answer. With over thirty years of product development experience, she knew what it would take to make awe-inspiring and trend-setting products that spoke to everyone. My Bud Vase thus offers beautiful, yet functional bongs that can grace your shelf or coffee table and be the centerpiece of your next soiree. With pieces this lovely, you can smoke anywhere you’re comfortable and not have to worry about hiding it when you’re done.
My Bud Vase launched in April of 2016, and in just three short years, the company now boasts both domestic and international distribution. What started small with only a few different designs, has turned into a busy line with new and exciting products. Since each of Sullivan’s pieces is made to look like vases or decanters, she offers a wide array of water pipes that no other artist can. She also does not limit herself to a singular medium and is always looking for new and exciting ways to create beautiful pieces. Nothing is off limits! You’ll find the bongs-turned-artworks trending on Instagram and Facebook with some of your favorite influencers. My Bud Vase offers something for nearly every style, and if you don’t see something you love yet, just wait!
Creating pieces that serve as functional art are great ways to start the conversation about cannabis and acceptance of a cannabis lifestyle. The issue of whether marijuana is for recreational use or medical use in this day and age is irrelevant. The conversation that moralizes the typical cannabis smoker, however, is very relevant. The products in Doreen’s line change the perception of a typical cannabis consumer from a stereotypical “burnout” to the truth—that it’s your mom, sister, aunt and maybe even your grandmother! By making smoking aesthetically pleasing, My Bud Vase reduces the stigma, making the conversation easier. To that effect, Sullivan proudly explained, “People have told me that my parents are finally comfortable with talking about cannabis after seeing your products.”
It didn’t take long for Sullivan to realize the difficulties of finding start-up capital for My Bud Vase, a product line that caters to women and femmes. A mark of ingenuity, Sullivan’s bong designs center femininity: from aesthetic to the ability to use it with a full set of long nails, Sullivan paid careful attention to even the smallest details, which makes her product line unlike any other on the market. However, such daring and thoughtful design is not without its consequences: many individuals, particularly cisgendered heterosexual men, may not gravitate towards such products. They may not see themselves as part of My Bud Vase’s target demographic.
The challenge of finding investors is a painstaking process even at the best of times, but when there’s an incorrect assumption about the gendered limitations of your product it becomes seemingly impossible. But not for Sullivan. It took a hell of a lot of sacrifice and determination, but she was able to make the money to produce her line on her own dime! She took every door that had been slammed in her face, and used it to build her own ladder to the top of the cannabis marketplace! As a result, Sullivan encourages all female “cannaprenuers” and as she relayed to the Honey Pot team: “Trust your intuition and do everything on your own dime.”
Currently, Doreen is working on a new piece that is based on the African goddess of the living ocean, Yemoja. An orisha, or deity, from the West African Yoruba tradition, Yemoja is best known for her motherly, protective spirit, an energy that inspired Sullivan to design a piece in her liking. Resembling a mermaid tail, the piece will also feature authentic West African cowrie shells, which were historically used as currency throughout the region and symbolically represent the fertility and wealth of Yemoja.
As Sullivan has shown, cannabis consumption can be beautiful, sexy, sophisticated, and elegant. Her team at My Bud Vase is well poised to continue their success, targeting major company milestones such as designing and manufacturing 10,000 new My Bud Vases, expanding both inventory and company personnel, developing a new lifestyle parent brand called “My Bud Life,” and finally, self-funding all these endeavors. But her biggest accomplishment? Truly realizing that she has crafted a useful, impactful and inspiring product in the female consumption category of the cannabis industry.
“The Bong Song”: An empowering musical advertisement for My Bud Vase’s Spring 2020 collection made in collaboration with the award-winning, women-owned media cooperative High Herstory. It was the first ad to use the word “bong” to be shown in Times Square in February 2020.