This story first appeared on Digiday, Glossy’s sister site covering media, marketing and retail.
Barneys is getting into cannabis.
In March, the luxury retailer will open a cannabis lifestyle shop on the fifth floor of its Beverly Hills flagship store and will begin to sell select cannabis accessory products on Barneys.com, according to Matthew Mazzucca, creative director at Barneys New York.
Appropriately, Barneys is calling its new 300-square-foot shop “The High End” and will sell CBD vape pens and edibles from Beboe and beauty and wellness products like facial serums and lip balms from Lab to Beauty, Saint Jane, Flora and Bast, Foria, The Good Patch and Vertly. Barneys is also working with several companies to create exclusive cannabis accessory items for the store like lighters, pipes, trays, cases, pastille dispensers from companies and like Devambez and Lorenzi Milano, and jewelry like Grindr necklaces from Good Art HLYWD.
Barneys is positioning the selling of CBD products to align the company with the home and wellness space, said Mazzucca. Instead of a test pop-up space, Barneys sees it as a new permanent category and plans on bringing “The High End” to other Barneys locations, which includes stores in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Massachusetts and New York.
“Everything in the landscape right now feels more on the medical side of things, and we felt like we could differentiate,” said Mazzucca. “This isn’t driven by the flower itself; it’s really about creating beautiful products you can keep in the home, whether you smoke weed or not. It’s more about lifestyle.”
The only consumable cannabis offering will come from California-based cannabis company Beboe, which makes expensive CBD and THC vape pens ($75) and flavored pastilles. At The High End, Beboe will sell a limited-edition silver and black CBD vape pen for the Barneys launch and CBD pre-rolled joints and chocolates. For now, THC products are not being sold in-store because Beboe does not have a dispensary license. However, customers who want to purchase Beboe THC products can order them directly from the brand at The High End.
For the time being, Beboe’s CBD pens and products will not be sold on Barneys.com, only select cannabis accessories. Mazzucca said Barneys is still vetting through which products will appear online. The ones that do, he said, will be ones that require little in the way of education.
“The focus is on the home wellness piece, and however CBD and THC integrate into that in the future will be adapted into that philosophy,” he said. “The timing and the speed at which these things are going to market is accelerating, and I love the fact we are riding the wave when this is all happening.”
Barneys worked with Beboe to curate the cannabis accessory items in the shop. Mazzucca said Barneys was drawn to Beboe products because their upscale products capture luxury women consumers. According to a January reportfrom weed delivery service Eaze, older women are one of the fastest-growing audience segments of marijuana consumers. Last Friday, cannabis company Green Thumb Industries made a bid to acquire the 2-year-old company for the same reason: to capture market share of women marijuana consumers. It’s Beboe’s second partnership with a non-cannabis brand. Last June, it worked with beverage direct-to-consumer company Dirty Lemon to sell a CBD-infused drink now sold out.
For Beboe, it’s a chance to gain even more consumer trust in their company and establish comfort with cannabis.
“For so long, dispensaries in California had a seedy, underground feel to them. People are still hesitant to explore cannabis, but a venue like Barneys, especially in Beverly Hills, is the top tier as far as luxury taste. People trust it,” said Scott Campbell, co-founder of Beboe.
Barneys is one of the first luxury retailers to start selling CBD products, and the first to create an entire shop for the new category within an existing store. For Barneys, this is the largest push into cannabis so far, but it isn’t the first. Two cannabis brands — Lab of Beauty and Body Vibes — are already being sold in Barneys stores outside of California.
Experts say to expect Barneys’ move to only accelerate the speed at which other retailers will adopt the plant.
“As cannabis for medicinal, recreational, and health and wellness uses becomes more mainstream, the competition for share of wallet increases,” said Catherine Lang, an analyst at Kantar Consulting.
With the passing of the Farm Bill and legalization of recreational cannabis across the United States, luxury retailers have been slowly tiptoeing their way into the space, said Lang. In January, Neiman Marcus announced it would carry CBD-infused beauty products in its stores. Other retailers like DSW and Sephora have embraced the trend as well.
“This level of commitment from Barneys should help turbocharge the growth of the industry and acceptance of CBDs in our daily lives,” said Christopher Lehmann, cannabis analyst and managing director of Landor’s San Francisco office.