Meet Herbal Goods, a Vancouver-based company that is reinventing pre-rolled cones in order to enhance the smoking experience—naturally, sustainably and responsibly.
So you want to smoke but simply don’t have the time, the energy or perhaps the skill to roll a joint by hand. That’s ok, we’ve all been there and there is an answer to your dilemma: pre-rolled cones. So what exactly are they? As the name suggests, they are rolling papers that are already rolled for you and shaped into the perfect cone.
Think of a pre-rolled cone like arriving at your campsite in the middle of the night to find that someone’s already pitched your tent, unpacked your mat and positioned your sleeping bag just so. All you gotta do is get comfy. Now imagine not just a ready-to-go campsite but one with all the bells and whistles.
That’s what Herbal Goods Company offers: the most beautiful, all-natural cones in the industry. “It’s super important to us that people know that HGC is dedicated to bringing a unique, sustainable, socially-responsible and eco-conscious product to the cannabis space,” says Jess Freeman, who along with partner Oscar Bonilla Jr., are the masterminds behind this inspiring brand. “Right down to our packaging, we are determined to offer the best in all-natural luxury.”
When we at Simply Bare first heard of Herbal Goods, we knew they were onto something special. “We want our cones to be the go-to for pre-roll smokers,” says Jess. Here, we chat with her about how she and Oscar conceived the Herbal Goods brand.
THE AHA MOMENT
Herbal Goods was born out of an idea to bring a unique, natural, sustainable product to the cannabis space. Oscar and I had been in the entrepreneurial world for about five years and saw space in the market for an all-natural, luxury pre-roll that would be akin to an aged bottle of scotch you’d share with family, friends or just for yourself. With that in mind, we dipped into our memory reservoirs and re-imagined something that inspired us in India all the way back in 2013.
A PASSAGE TO INDIA
India was actually the spark for HGC. My other business, Naked Sage Design, takes us to India regularly. On one of these trips in 2013, Oscar and I had been studying Hindi for weeks in Varanasi and started to notice that the locals smoked a different kind cigarette. These tiny, leaf-like cigarettes intrigued us and so the spark was lit.
After that we began our search for a local manufacturer that we could partner with to bring our pre-roll vision to life. After years of multiple iterations and R&D, we created what is now an Industrial Design Patented product in Canada, with a Patent Pending in the US.
THE FUTURE IS FEMALE
HGC works in partnership with a local manufacturer of traditional Indian cigarettes. In doing so, we’ve been able to transition a very skilled team of cigarette rollers over to HGC production. One of the things we’re most proud of at HGC is that our pre-rolled cones are made by a workforce of about 85% women. By working with our local partner, we’ve been able to set up a local, sustainable cottage industry in rural India where there are very few opportunities for local work, especially for women. By doing this, our team of women are able to stay in their local villages, have families, and make a living by rolling from home. We love this so much about HGC.
Our team is highly skilled and productive, making upwards of 1 million cones per week. Depending on our needs at HGC, we arrange production and hire and train in order to meet the demands for our growing company.
These leaves are the cream of the crop. They have been used as the rolling paper for smoking tobacco in the region for centuries. There are a couple of other leaf options in the market, but due to the structure and drying process of our leaves, we’ve found that the ebony leaf we use really does smoke the cleanest and smoothest.
This is a beautiful, thoughtful process. The leaves are harvested by hand in the local jungles of Bengal. Once picked, bundles of 50 leaves are set in the sun to dry for 10 days per side. After the 20 days in the sun, the leaves are cut to shape before rolling.
After our leaves have been sun-baked, cut to shape and rolled and tied by hand, they undergo a final curing. The cones enter a traditional open-flame clay oven, which is attended the entire time for a perfect finish. This process takes any remaining moisture out of the leaves, sets our final pre-roll shape and establishes the distinct HGC natural flavour.
CORN HUSK FILTERS & COTTON TIES
We wanted the entire cone to be biodegradable and natural. The ridging on the corn husks creates the perfect multi-channeled filter, making for the smoothest pull possible. Our corn husks are from local corn growers in the region. The otherwise wasted husks are harvested, dried in the sun, and then cut and rolled by hand for each cone. We use an all natural cotton tie to secure the cones. Our string is made from locally grown, Indian cotton.
The packaging has been a real ride. Our mission was to create a zero-waste cannabis accessory, which is harder than you’d think. In our first year, we went through four iterations before finally achieving our goal.
The box is compostable and the glass and corks are recyclable. We landed on a pulp box after a business trip to Shenzhen, China. We were able to visit a facility creating post-consumer paper pulp packaging and we fell in love. From this first taste, we worked to develop a box that was secure, could protect the glass, and looked natural and beautiful.
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