Launched just after graduation in the summer of 2015, Hemper, the brainchild of three college friends, Bryan Gerber, Ravjot Bhasin and Henry Kochhar, now seeks to be the one stop shop for weed smokers and their smoking accessories.
While in college, now CEO Bryan Gerber noticed a lack of supply for the demand of smoking goods like rolling papers and filter tips. He would often stock up and become the default go-to guy for such items. With stocks in limited and irregular supply from local shops and online outlets like Amazon, Gerber saw an opportunity in delivery. Combined with inspiration from his men's Birchbox subscription, which delivers samples of cosmetics every month, the company Hemper was born.
Today, Hemper is one of the largest companies in the game and looking to grow, as Gerber described, “We are one of the main go-to places for anything paraphernalia … we are the largest subscription service in the USA … with an eye to drop ship.”
Here, we take a look at Hemper's subscription box, what's inside, and why they have grown to have one the nation's largest subscriber bases.
How it works
There are four total options for subscription boxes, ranging from $10—$60. While a myriad of items can be purchased through the website as single items, most boxes are not available a la carte and require signing up for an automatically renewed subscription. Old edition boxes can be purchased as single items when stock allows and are offered at a higher price than if you have a subscription.
A nice feature for some of the boxes is that customers can choose their own shipping frequency to customize how often they receive the items. Customers can opt out of the subscription at any time by cancelling through the website. Admittedly, with so many products and tabs, the corporate design of the website can be tricky to navigate, especially when trying to cancel or order a single item. Packaging is discreet for all boxes, allowing for privacy when it arrives at your doorstep.
- Hemper Core Box — $9.99 per month: Described as the “bare essentials,” this pack includes six everyday items like rolling papers, lighters, filter tips, and hemp wick. It also includes a mystery item, keeping it fun even if it's just the basics.
- Hemper Tech Cleaning Box — $19.99 per month: This box is geared toward those who regularly — or need to — deep clean their glass, with items like pipe cleaners, alcohol swabs and wipes, and some hemp wick for good measure. This box is available as a one time purchase or subscription.
- Hemper Pack — $21.99 per month: This bundle includes items from other and past boxes like fresh wipes and accessories, as well as essentials like rolling papers and filter tips. It's always an assortment of seven items, valued at $35 or more.
- Hemper Box — $39.99 per month: The flagship box contains 10+ items with a total value of $100 or more. This box always includes a surprise glass piece, often seasonally themed, as well as the essentials from the core box, plus stickers, and extras like small glass pieces.
Behind the boxes
With a mainly millennial customer base, “nostalgia plays a big role” said Gerber, noting things like “an old video game styled box, or UFO bong.” These nods to old school icons, as well as contemporary celebrity collaborations, keep the boxes fresh and fun for the majority of subscribers. Some of the most notable collaborations have been with Cypress Hill and Lil Debbie, which include limited run products.
While mostly a product driven brand, there are occasional Los Angeles-based IRL events including release parties and burlesque shows hosted by Hemper. These days, the community events have been transplanted online, featuring live streams on their social media channels and scavenger hunts on the website, where customers can try to track down an image to win a free item or subscription.
Beyond the boxes
In addition to a diverse team of internal leaders, Hemper is committed to larger issues of social equity and justice. They have partnered with The Last Prisoner Project on product development and have a profit sharing model in place to help benefit those adversely affected by outdated laws. Each year, they look for a new organization to work with, expanding their reach beyond the cannabis space, including past work benefiting organizations working to support those affected by domestic violence.
What's the appeal?
As a large and growing one-stop shop, a la Amazon or Walmart, for smokers, Hemper is pretty straightforward, offering competitive prices for on trend products. Ideally suited for those who want to set it and forget it in terms of daily smoking accessories, the majority of the boxes will keep regular smokers fully stocked. The flagship Hemper box offers a dose of seasonal fun and a regular influx of cute glass pieces. Meanwhile, those looking for a sense of community can connect online to mingle with other like minded people — and the occasional giveaway.
All in all, it comes down to convenience and keeping a steady supply of your basics on hand.
Photos from Hemper's website.