Behind the Brand: Fumée Galante
Sonya's accessories are handcrafted in Quebec and tailored for the modern cannabis consumer. Her aesthetic is minimal and luxurious. Her range includes an elegant, white porcelain, one-hitter (aptly named Femme Fatale), a delicate miniature ashtray and gorgeous marble topped cherry wood stash jars.
Sonya is passionate about cannabis, its ability to heal, and the community around it. We loved learning about her journey and the inspiration behind Fumée Galante. She also loves to cook and shared some fantastic cake recipes for our son's birthday - thank you Sonya!
What inspired you to start your company? Tell us a little bit about your products and brand.
I am by nature very entrepreneurial. And I began looking into the cannabis space because of my father. Cannabis has been a part of all my adult life and smoking is my preferred way to consume. I wanted to design and curate smoking accessories that were feminine and pretty enough to leave anywhere in my home. And of course, all locally made so that people I know and love could also partake in this venture.
Back to Dad. I didn't grow up in a household where cannabis was tolerated. Quite the contrary actually. As teens and young adults, if my sister and I were caught smoking it would have been quite dramatic…oh wait, my Mom did catch me smoking when I was 16…it wasn't pretty! So when at 47 years old, I announced to my entire family- siblings, parents, aunts and uncles at a annual lobster feast that I was thinking of launching a cannabis accessories line I was astonished to find support (from everyone but my Mom) especially from my father. You see, at 70 years old, he wanted to explore alternatives to his many daily pills. So he fought my Mom tooth and nail and came with me to last June's O'Cannabiz expo in Toronto.
We had a blast and I smoked for the first time in front of him. He didn't, and never would, by the way (collapsed lungs during open heart surgery 4 years ago has him scared to inhale), but today both he and my Mom ask me to order them infused chocolates to help them sleep. And a few weeks ago my husband, my Mom and myself took a piece of chocolate each and laughed and laughed. This plant is a true miracle!
What do you love about your job?
Hands down the community. The people I meet, especially the ladies who are in it for the right reasons. Being part of overcoming the stigma. And close second is learning all the medical benefits that this plant holds. From cancer research to helping opioid addicts kick their addiction to a whole slew of as yet to be discovered benefits, how can this plant not be loved? I can't wait to have science show us all its potential.
I look forward to hosting and collaborating with so many different people in 2019, the great ladies behind Jennifer and Michelle at Dr. Kerklaan. Julia at Elevated Culture Toronto. And the beautiful Laura at Leaff!
What are some of the challenges you face working in the cannabis industry?
The list is long. Federal and provincial laws are unbelievably difficult to navigate. That's to say nothing of Quebec's regulations! And marketing the cannabis accessories is virtually impossible. I am so frustrated with the BIG social media platforms that are so righteous if not altogether hypocritical in their policies. I have tried about half a dozen ways to "boost" posts and "promote" posts trying to educate people about the plant only to be rejected time and time again. How annoying is it to receive emails from Facebook offering to boost the very posts they've rejected.
What’s your cannabis ritual?
I have actually promised myself to make it more part of my self-care routine. Actually, I vowed to focus on self-care in 2019, period! I have a tendency to take care of everyone and everything but myself. I have to say that that really does satisfy a deep-rooted need in me, but in 2019 I must strive for more balance.
That being said, I really do enjoy smoking. I smoke in social settings. Especially at dinner parties, whether my own or others. I will always have my trusted one-hitter Femme Fatale with me and micro-dose during the evening. I have done yoga high before and quite enjoyed it as well. Perhaps more of that in 2019!
Some of my favourite rituals include getting high with my husband. The few times we've waked and baked together were fun. But that's only on especially lazy days. Now that our children are grown up (19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter) maybe these mornings can occur more often! And when our evenings finish with a little J in bed, well, that ritual is the best!
Which other brands (cannabis or not) do you love and admire?
I love to cook. I mean I really love to cook. I live in the kitchen. My son once told me that as a child he remembers my back to him all the time… The brands I admire for food and recipes are Bon Appétit and Food 52. They absolutely know how to cater to us home cooks who are looking for constant inspiration.
And then on the other spectrum, Agent Provocateur. I love the way they brand their lingerie by naming each piece like I do my accessories. And oh-my feminine!
I also love thatkindofwoman.tumblr for her aesthetic and finally Shannon Watts at @MomsDemand who moves me so much for a cause that I so believe in. How many more parents will loose their children after sending them off to school one day? The political climate in the US is deficient and it will take women like Shannon to set it straight again.