Honeysuckle is proud to present Trailblazers’ Authentic Voices: Pride ‘22 “Sweet Sixteen” series! Get to know sixteen LGBTQIA+ cannabis industry leaders who inspire us. Click here to find all their stories.
A Pride Month Message From Trailblazers Co-Founder Tyler Wakstein
Trailblazers is a curated community of cannabis and psychedelic business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who work together to advance the industry. We are unified by a shared ethos and vision of the future of plant medicine and other alternative healing modalities. We are a group of leaders and visionaries from across the entire ecosystem - from brands, to operators, to investment banks, MSOs, policy and law makers, scientists and researchers. We believe in creating a new paradigm of doing business - where collaboration, authentic connections and an abundance mindset drives the industry. We believe equality, social equity, and justice are not just something to pay lip service to, but rather the cost of entry into cannabis or hemp at large. We are honored to celebrate PRIDE Month with Honeysuckle Magazine and want to help empower the next generation of change-makers and emerging leaders in cannabis through access to the Trailblazers platform. Diversity drives innovation within a community like ours and we recommend applying to our fellowship program if anyone is interested in getting involved. trailblazerspresents.com/trailblazers-fellowship
Interested in finding out more about Trailblazers NYC, coming July 27, 2022? For details, click here.
Meet Vivian Vu, Founder And CEO Of Joy Reserve
Vivian Vu is the founder and CEO of Joy Reserve, America’s first cannabis showroom, based in San Francisco’s Westfield Centre mall. The goal of Joy Reserve is to provide universally accessible cannabis education, appealing to those who may be too intimidated to enter a dispensary. Joy Reserve is also distinguished by being a cannabis brand where every staff member identifies as LGBTQIA+.
TRAILBLAZERS: What is something unique that you bring to your work and the greater cannabis industry overall from your previous work or life experience?
VIVIAN VU: Joy Reserve is pushing the industry forward – towards becoming mainstream --by normalizing the retail experience. By educating consumers on dosing, effect, and different consumption methods that are currently available. With a warm and inviting space, without the heavy security at the entrance or products behind glass counters. Joy Reserve is the first cannabis showroom [to be] a part of Westfield Centre mall; we allow brands to showcase themselves on how they are displayed in the shop.
Why are you passionate about being part of the cannabis industry?
I got started in the industry because I saw the benefits it provided for my mother, specifically in pain relief. She stayed because of the people. There is no other industry where workers from all levels of employment have the same passion that they do in this industry. I am here to move the industry forward, to change the stigma, and to provide a platform for those who are underrepresented.
What does Pride mean to you personally? How are you celebrating or championing Pride through your company, the communities you do business in, or the industry overall?
Pride means the inclusion of all and celebrating/showing our authentic selves unapologetically. We support all equally; at Joy Reserve, 100 percent of our staff identify as being on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. We provide a safe and honest space for brands and the community to have a voice regardless of gender, race, sexuality, or size of business. We don’t just promote Pride Month with a rainbow flag once a year, but showcase our brands and business partners year-round in store, online, and through multiple collaborations.
How are you supporting the advancement of LGBTQIA+ diversity, equity and inclusion efforts?
At the Joy Reserve store we provide a space to host events, collaboration, mentorship, [opportunities for product/brand sales], and always make time for everyone to be heard. We are a community safe space.
What is one of your favorite LGBTQIA+ organizations to support?
I am a strong advocate and supporter of PUFF Drag Show (The Joy of Puff), NOH8, Rainbow Sierrans–A Queer Outdoor Group. Each organization has the same common goal of building a safe experience for the LQBTQIA+ community.
What’s your favorite LGBTQIA+-produced cannabis product that isn’t from your brand?
Some of my favorites include Elefante–Pineapple Strawberry gummies, Lavinia–Oh.Hi lubricant, and House of Saka–Mimosa. They all have great products in each of their own categories. The brands focus on the quality of their product, from individual ingredients, packaging, to effect. All three are great brands to work with that align with our mission, and have been a great support for the community.
Cannabis is all about community. What partnership opportunities with other companies have allowed you to create something even better than imagined due to your combined efforts?
Joy Reserve hosts a Marker’s Market every 3rd Saturday of the month, where we take over the 2nd floor of Westfield. We invite 20-30 of our brands and 10-15 local non-cannabis businesses to booth up and showcase their product and craft. All sales from local businesses, they keep, we don’t take any of their sales. It’s our way of giving back and rebuilding the San Francisco community.
[One great collaboration was] Jardin de Hierba Buena at Carnaval–the first cannabis garden in San Francisco. Our focus was to partner and support an equitable ecosystem in collaboration with equity businesses in order to help aid economic social justice. The partnership was between Carnaval San Francisco, the City of San Francisco, the Department of Public Health, and the equity-verified and certified cannabis brands and event coordinators. A very successful first event that will lead to much more cannabis industry participation in other street fairs.
What advice would you give to others who wish to join the cannabis industry and follow in your footsteps?
Just do it. There are a million ideas out there and someone may already have thought of the thing that you want to do. Doesn’t matter, just do it.
What are you most excited to see more of in cannabis next year?
I’m excited to see federal legalization across the country.
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Featured image: Vivian Vu, founder and CEO of Joy Reserve (C) Joy Reserve