‘The office is more boring than people might imagine.’
Brendan Kennedy on why marijuana could be luxury’s new frontier.
Interview by Xerxes Cook
Photographs by Juergen Teller
The backdrop for Juergen Teller’s System 9 portfolio is a 60,000-square-foot indoor marijuana facility off the coast of Canada, owned by Seattle-based private-equity firm Privateer Holdings.
Working on the production and distribution of legal medicinal marijuana since 2010, the company’s portfolio has expanded in line with shifting attitudes towards cannabis in Canada and the US. They now operate the website Leafly (which ran the industry’s first full-page advert in the New York Times, when New York legalised medical marijuana in 2015), and Marley Natural, a line of beauty and body-care products with support from the late-singer’s family.
Changing legislation and perceptions of marijuana have seen a boom in business – of legal use, that is- with one research firm reporting that US sales of cannabis-based products are expected to reach $22 billion in the next three years.
Marley Natural, marketed as a lifestyle brand with creative input from Heckler Associates – the ad agency behind Starbucks’ name and logo – and Bob Marley’s former art director, Neville Garrick, has been featured in a number of reputable media outlets such as Business of Fashion and Vogue. Both titles spotlighted the brand under headlines speculating whether marijuana might be luxury’s next big opportunity.
With that in mind, System met with Privateer CEO, Brendan Kennedy. With his aim to make Marley Natural as mainstream as all-conquering coffee company Starbucks, System discussed the power of marketing, working as a heritage brand, and whether marijuana really is luxury’s new frontier.
Special thanks to Brendan Kennedy and Marley Natural for supporting System 9: a supplement by Juergen Teller.