Just over three years ago, Jade Daniels was teaching a team of new budtenders at Central Point's Rogue Valley Cannabis dispensary how to roll joints. She and her fiance ran a farm and an edibles company. She traveled whenever she could, and created a travel blog highlighting the women she met around the world. That led to an Etsy shop selling jewelry and accessories Daniels brought home from abroad, all under the name Ladies of Paradise.
Then she started posting pictures of her jewelry models smoking weed.
Jump to this summer, and the Ladies of Paradise brand—over 30,000 Instagram followers and counting—is synonymous with raucous, photogenic house parties and pop-up photo booths that turn stoner chicks into It girls. Daniels and her team of friends, models, stylists, photographers and interior designers are about to open a brick-and-mortar, cannabis-centric feminine boutique on the ground floor of the new building at Southeast Division Street and 9th Avenue—the one with the geisha mural on its side.
In anticipation of the shop's soft opening Aug. 10, Daniels, along with partner Harlee Case, sat down with WW to talk about how becoming cannabis stylists brought them from an Etsy accessory shop to the front lines of the cultural rebranding of cannabis.
WW: Where does the name come from?
Jade Daniels: It was inspired by the women that live around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I was empowered by their strength and the part the women played in running their community. The name refers to women like them: hard working women in beautiful places. Harlee actually came back with me to Guatemala when we relaunched Ladies of Paradise.
WW: When did you start to angle the Ladies of Paradise blog toward cannabis?
Jade Daniels: While working at Rogue Valley Cannabis, I was fascinated by the growth of the industry. I wanted Ladies of Paradise to be a part of it. I was sharing studio space with Harlee in Jacksonville at the time, where we'd shoot photos of my jewelry and vintage clothing for her online store. That's where we started talking about transitioning to cannabis content.
Harlee Case: We wanted to create a platform to shine a spotlight on women working in the cannabis industry. The rebirth of the Ladies of Paradise blog last summer started with photo shoots where we'd style women in really editorial looks, to juxtapose the glamor with these women who usually spent time on a cannabis farm.
Did you hesitate at all when you started to post pictures of yourselves with cannabis?
Daniels: Absolutely. I started my blog when I lived in Texas, and after a story in the Houston Chronicle, most of my customers were from this super-conservative state. Our first cannabis post in 2016 was actually by accident—my fiance posted a picture of a bud on his farm account but forgot he was logged on to the [Ladies of Paradise] account instead. It said something like, "Happy Croptober!" I was horrified. Then the comments started pouring in. We gained more followers than we lost.
When did you realize your photo shoots were getting more attention than the vintage clothing and jewelry for sale?
Daniels: It really felt real at the cannabis music festival this past April, 420 on the Block, in Denver. People were coming up to us, asking to take pictures with the Ladies of Paradise. [There were] offers for reality TV shows. It was cool to see people were into what we were doing, but the best part was one girl coming up to us asking about advice on starting her own line of T-shirts.
As content creators, what's it been like working with major companies like KandyPens?
Case: We struggled with their posts that sexualized women. We've fought with them about it, but in the end, we get to control the content we create. So from our choices, we can help change the direction of marketing away from that sexualized content. It's weird, but it's been empowering to find our voice in another brand.
Will the brick-and-mortar shop sell the same South American accessories?
Daniels: Not at all. Ladies of Paradise is in a new era—everything cannabis. CBD products from brands like Skyline Isolations, jewelry and wearable smoking accessories from Blunted Objects and High Society, girl power tees from Jane Parade and Daisy Natives, and collaborative pieces like a custom gold-leaf geopipe by Stonedware. Always with an emphasis on female artists and business owners.
Case: That's what we're trying to do–inspire women to be themselves and build their own empires. To work together. And to just be crazy. Be whatever kind of woman you want to be.