Meet Elyssa Colón and Jackie Conroy, co-founders of HighGarden, and Julia Deviatkina, founder and CEO of Work’N’Roll, who share with Honeysuckle what it has been like to partner up and create events for the cannabis community.
What Is HighGarden?
A luxury, “High”-end lifestyle brand created for the canna-consumer and canna-curious, HighGarden is a hospitality group and event curation / production company that organizes and hosts events across the Greater New York area. According to their mission statement, they attempt to “bring cannabis into mainstream and finally erase all the stigmas associated with consumption.”
Colón and Conroy operate HighGarden alongside Elyssa’s fiancé Mike B, organizing dinners, brunches, chess tournaments, comedy, burlesque, and more. Included at many of their events are infused mocktails, a vapor bar, smoked cocktails using the Stundenglass water gravity infuser, and a host of other smoking paraphernalia to encourage people to mingle, network, and ultimately, chill out.
What Is Work’N’Roll?
Located in Chelsea, Work’N’Roll is New York City’s first women-owned, cannabis-friendly co-working space and start-up incubator. Work’N’Roll stemmed from Deviatkina’s own experience starting a small business from scratch, with no employees and no funds for office space.
Boasting affordable daily prices and co-working memberships for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Work’N’Roll “is perfect for the new business owner, for small business owners in general– just the ability to go somewhere, have your wifi, have your coffee, have your table, be able to smoke and get creative,” says Deviatkina, “[Work’N’Roll] is about bringing minds together and collaborating with diverse communities,” she says: co-working and coexisting at the heart of the brand.
At night, the once-professional space turns into an event venue, often working in conjunction with HighGarden to host fun and accessible cannabis events. Here, anyone can come, consume, create, and meet other like-minded canna-enthusiasts who want the same.
What Does The HighGarden x Work’N’Roll Collaboration Look Like?
Being businesses founded and run by women, creating a space that welcomes and encourages women to come enjoy is at the heart of Work’N’Roll and HighGarden.
“As women, we are always thinking about other women, and how we can bring more women in by creating a safe space,” says Colón. She doesn’t just mean a utopian concept of a safe space, rather, she, Conroy and Deviatkina are, “Putting everything together literally ourselves. We're setting everything up. We're moving furniture. We’re painting. We're building,” says Colón.
Each and every event is handcrafted, like one of the most recent events hosted by HighGarden at Work’N’Roll, “Her Flower Shop,” featuring a DJ, a raffle, a dab station, and of course, flower. The event was meticulously crafted: LED signs in green, purple, and white, flowers hanging from the ceiling, different fabric couches, fun infused mocktails, an area to take photos, etc. Her Flower Shop is only one example of the types of events carefully curated by the three women who physically put together the space in which they are talking about.
Conroy notes the importance of the little details. “Having a clean space, a working bathroom, a cute wall, those little details matter. We want people to want to be there, to want to take a picture there.” Colón and Deviatkina agree–having feminine products in the bathroom, an Instagrammable wall, a visually pleasing space that encourages not just creativity, but a desire to share the beauty and nature of the space with others– that’s what makes Work’N’Roll and HighGarden so special.
HighGarden and Work’N’Roll on Feminine Energy in Cannabis Spaces
Beyond ensuring the physical space is as welcoming as possible, there’s a certain spirituality that underlines the space, the events, and the community that arises. The three of them discuss the energy that comes from having a room full of women: stating in different ways that there is simply something “magic,” as Deviatkina puts it, about having a room full of women.
“There's something special about when there's women in the room just smoking and chatting,” Colón states, “there’s this nurturing, welcoming energy– the female energy binding with the energy of the plant.” This binding of energies is what Work’N’Roll and HighGarden strive to elicit; it’s the driving force behind the varying events, the carefully curated aesthetics, and the welcoming nature of the brands as wholes.
“The energy that’s left [after an event]; it lasts for months,” says Deviatkina. “Everyone being able to tell their stories, coming together in one space, it’s empowering. Nothing is impossible.”
Conroy, also known as The CannaWitch, puts it simply, “As a witch you have that capacity to make things happen. And both these ladies make things happen.” Not only do these three ladies make it happen, but the environment they have successfully created encourages others to do the same.
The partnership will continue to host events curated for women in particular–from yoga and meditation classes creating a safe space to be vulnerable, practice mindfulness, and allow yourself to feel the full effects of the plant, to tarot card readings, facials, massages, and female-led marketplaces– and it has quickly become a space of bringing each other up, of collaboration and helping one another become the absolute best we can be.
“No one’s trying to take from somebody else. It’s a mutual respect, and the want for your sister to grow alongside you,” says Colón, “you don’t want to compete and knock another off. It’s more along the lines of ‘give me your hand so I can bring you up here too.’”
That is what’s so key about the space being a co-working space to begin with: it’s rooted in the idea of people coming together, sharing a space, working, networking, and collaborating with one another. It’s about seeing someone needing help and simply asking “What can I do?” Or as Conroy put it, “We’re sisters. When you’re a part of the community, you want to see your sisters succeed.”
HighGarden x Work’N’Roll ultimately wants to get women out– speak out, smoke out, help out, hang out, and really, chill out.
What’s Next for Work’N’Roll x HighGarden in New York?
The two brands have been able to cultivate a truly welcoming space, allowing anyone– from the canna-curious to the canna-expert– to come together, enjoy the plant, take advantage of the creativity that comes with consuming, and generate a community of like-minded individuals.
And as for the ladies of Work’N’Roll and HighGarden, the ball just keeps rolling.
In March, the two worked on a fundraising event for Brian Arya’s Lincoln Tunnel Motel– a motel that grew in popularity thanks to TikTok located in New Jersey off, you guessed it, the Lincoln Tunnel, that provides a free place to stay for anyone who needs it. On April 29th, Work’N’Roll and HighGarden represented New York City in the global live-streaming of cannabis activist Frenchy Cannoli’s documentary Frenchy Dreams of Hashish. Following the film, they hosted a tea and chocolate tasting paired with hash in the legendary hashmaker’s honor. Many summer events are planned - and the brands encourage people to reach out to them for details and collaborations.
Work’N’Roll intends to continue offering networking opportunities for small businesses like cannabis career fairs, panels featuring canna-preneurs and educational classes, all while making them as accessible as possible. Fan-favorites like Cann I Spark the Mic– a night of poetry and spoken-word– and Burlesque shows will be carrying on; more women-focused events, more meditation, mindfulness, more smoking, more creating, more, more, more for the partnership. HighGarden and Work’N’Roll have something for everyone, from chess to women-led comedy shows, you’ll find your group at one of their events.
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: HighGarden and Work'N'Roll founders together in their space. Left to right: Jackie Conroy, Elyssa Colon, and Julia Deviatkina (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture