5 min read
This story originally appeared on Benzinga
Actor, director and producer Colin Hanks announced last week that he has teamed up with multi-state cannabis operator Jushi Holdings Inc. (CSE: JUSH) (OTCQX: JUSHF) through which he is introducing his handkerchief line, Hanks Kerchiefs, to be sold at select BEYOND / HELLO retail stores.
Hanks was a guest on Thursday’s Benzinga Cannabis Hour where he shared the details of this exciting collaboration – his venture into the cannabis space but without the cannabis.
‘Expansion of cannabis culture’
“I like to call this, kind of, the expansion of cannabis culture,” Hanks said on the show. He noted that the culture goes beyond just cannabis consumption and, at times, doesn’t necessarily include cannabis per se.
But, handkerchiefs? That right there begs the question: How did Hanks get into the handkerchief business?
“I am always looking to try and do different creative things when I am not wearing makeup pretending to be other people for a living, which is technically the day job,” he told Cannabis Hour hosts Javier Hasse and Patrick Lane.
So, with handkerchiefs being an item he always has on hand, never leaves home without, Hanks decided to scratch his “artistic itches” and start his own handkerchief line. People in the merchandising and clothing industry gave Hanks the green light because there are no well-established companies making handkerchiefs these days. Handkerchiefs, which have been around since the first century BC, became fashion accessories in the 17th century, remained popular throughout the 20th century but then began to face stiff competition from the tissue industry.
But that didn’t stop Hanks who decided to team up with several companies, such as Pillbox Bat Company, which makes baseball bats and sports accessories, and the Parks Project, which donates all proceeds from their sales to benefit the national parks system.
“We’re always trying to find like-minded companies that not only have the same sort of belief systems that we do, but that also are of interest to me. And, parks and baseball are definitely two interests of mine, so I am just always trying to work with right people and right businesses,” Hanks explained.
Finding the right partnership
While looking for the right people and companies Hanks found Jushi. Attracted to the idea of having his handkerchief line in brick and mortar stores rather than exclusively online as was originally developed, Hanks found a retail outlet.
“There is something inherent about a brick and mortar store in which everyone is welcome, no one is turned away…a space where we find like-minded individuals and we’re able to provide items that fit into everyone’s lifestyle,” he said.
Through a friend who was involved with Jushi and its BEYOND / HELLO dispensaries, Hanks learned that the company was interested in broadening its range of items. The idea is to enrich people’s retail experience, make customers want to hang out for a while and maybe find some new items they didn’t even know they needed!
‘An opportunity to tell a story’
“This is something that we’ve been trying to do on the Hanks Kerchiefs website – to create a community,” Hanks said, to make the experience more than just a quick exchange but rather a friendly meeting while at the same time lifting the stigma of cannabis.
“It took a while for the mainstream to come to the cannabis culture and for cannabis culture to sort of come to the mainstream…they were able to meet in the middle.”
According to Hanks, once the stigma around cannabis began to fade, companies started asking questions like ‘okay, what else can these dispensaries be?’ Selling just one item, no matter how popular it might be, is not enough for brick-and-mortar retail shops.
“One of the things that we really wanted to do is to be able to show that our handkerchiefs are not only great utility items, as I like to call them [because] they can also be very helpful in times, but they can be pieces of art or fashion accessories,” Hanks said. He noted that the most difficult part about launching his own company was having to learn about an entirely new industry at his age, which is 43.
But, he certainly managed. “Because of my creative nature, I enjoyed the idea of looking at a business as an opportunity to tell a story.”