Lola Lola Welcomes You to Lolalandia
By: Bill McCool
Perhaps you’ve heard this story before. Guy quits his job at Google to grow pot in Northern California. Tale as old as time, right?
Well, that’s certainly part of it. After all, California’s marijuana crops are said to be valued at nearly $24 billion dollars, but for anyone looking to escape the drudgery of their desk job, they're going to find a lot of players looking to take part in California's Green Rush.
For Lola Lola founder and COO Michael Garganese Jr., after he left his job at Google and struck out for the farm, he had never even so much as been camping before, but he wanted to learn everything he could about the plant. “I had some family friends that were in the grey market of the cannabis industry,” Michael says, “and I was exposed to the culture in a completely different way than I had ever experienced before.”
But as he was embarking on his new career, he quickly discovered something. “We were growing for a while,” he says, “but what we soon realized was that growing cannabis was going to become a more difficult thing to do as the market matured and it was legalized.”
There were plenty of great growers out there already and the market was starting to get oversaturated. “Just having good cannabis wasn’t going to be the biggest differentiator we could make for ourselves,” he says. “Focusing on a great overall brand—which was a pretty unique idea at the time— would be our best chance at success.”
Michael wanted to curate an entire experience, something that went beyond just rolling it up and smoking it, one that forged a deeper connection to the actual brand itself. That was when they started to develop Lola Lola. “The intention behind the brand is to paint cannabis in a more inviting and normalized way,” Michael says. “We wanted to create something that stood alone and makes you feel good when you interact with it. That’s the biggest message behind our brand. In every single way, it’s meant to make you feel good.”
“And that’s not just smoking our products,” he adds. “That’s handling the box or even just looking at the label.”
While they had an in-house team help them develop the package itself, they tasked 3D digital artist Diego Vargas to help them create their inspired designs. And that’s when they came up with Lolalandia.
“It’s essentially this mythical place,” he says, “that we created as a way of visualizing the feeling that we wanted to invoke when you use our products.”
Of course, everything about the packaging screams high-end, from the matchbox-like features of the actual box, right on down to the vaporizers and cartridges that look more like fashion-forward accessories.
“We wanted to create products that looked in a way that people would be really proud of them and encouraged to share them,” Michael says. “When the product is in your hand, you feel more comfortable leaving it on your kitchen table, rather than say, a ziplock bag of weed.“
With recreational cannabis creeping onto ballots across the country, it’s an exciting time for the industry. More and more companies similar to Lola Lola that have an eye towards creating inviting products with welcoming brands will soon be just as commonplace as a cup of Starbucks.
Just don’t quit your day job and move to the farm just yet — there’s some stiff competition.
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he's not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.