Natasha Irizarry is sitting across from her business partner, DJ Shott, as their dogs run around the office; her sister is in the next room, boxing up products for the holiday rush.
Stashbox is where brands and consumers meet, Irizarry explains.
Irizarry and Shott, who are originally from North Carolina, came up with the idea for Stashbox while they were living in New York City, then brought it to fruition after they moved to Boulder. The concept works the same way as Birchbox or Barkbox: When you sign up, you fill out a form about your toking preferences — general things like whether you prefer pipes or joints — and then for $30 a month, Stashbox will deliver five to seven personalized cannabis products directly to your door, chosen "with love."
To abide by federal law, Stashbox doesn't distribute any products containing marijuana flower; instead, each box may contain pipes, rolling papers, infused lip balms, infused bath bombs or various smoking devices — anything that every stoner wants but may not know they need.
Boxes are delivered anywhere in the fifty states, and each box is customized to ensure that each product not only matches the recipient's preferences, but is legal in the state in which it is being delivered. After a box comes, the recipient can go online and rate each of the items. That allows for more personalization in future deliveries. It also allows Irizarry to explore her true love: data.
"I think tech and cannabis is being ignored big time," Irizarry says. "The subscription box is one vehicle."
According to Irizarry, 86 percent of Stashbox users are women — the consumer group that the cannabis industry knows the least about. While other companies track dispensary sales or popularity of strains, Stashbox compiles data on the products consumers most enjoy.
From their metrics, Irizarry and her team can predict which products will do better in different markets. "This industry is so new, we can make it what we want...to make cannabis more approachable. We firmly believe we can do that through data," Irizarry says.
All personal information is kept confidential; however, by tracking customers' experience, lifestyle and location, Irizarry and her team can not only develop better boxes, but can also come up with data that could help the industry evolve.
"If we don't do this and show how the lifestyle really is, then who will?" Irizarry asks. "We need to show the rest of America, not just Colorado and California. Who's going to show people in places like the Southeast how this really is?"
Stashbox's initial funding came through last June after a long struggle trying to get investors. While the cannabis industry is booming, entrepreneurs still find it difficult to get the seed money needed to survive.
"Because we've had to deal with moving to new cities and find investors willing to take a chance on us, we understand the pain points in the process," Irizarry says.
Thousands of people have signed up for Stashbox since last summer, and Irizarry says she's always on the hunt to find off-the-beaten-path items to include in the boxes. Her search leads her to local artisans and helps her team develop brand partnerships with other companies in the cannabis industry.
"We're introducing products to consumers that otherwise may not be for sale in a shop or online stores," Shott says.
Find out more about Stashbox here.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.