Do you burb? If you’re keen on smoking joints or bowls, then the answer is yes. Short for “burn herb,” Burb is both a verb, and an up-and-coming force within cannabis culture.
A retail brand based out of British Columbia, Burb has a line of dispensaries, as well as its own merchandise. With soft, tan tones defining Burb’s apparel aesthetic, you might say it’s akin to the Yeezy of cannabis.
A brand geared toward cannabis enthusiasts first and foremost, Burb is for “people who love and appreciate the plant,” says John Kaye, founder and CEO of Burb. “We are legacy consumers, and we’re doing our best to create a brand that strikes some kind of emotional connection with the consumer, allowing them to come into the regulated side of the industry.”
Established in 2018, Burb is expanding beyond its retail store and merchandise line, toward some collaborations. “We’re working on our own genetics,” says Kaye, “and we have a podcast that we host with the founder of PAPER Magazine.” David Hershkovits’ Light Culture, as the podcast is called, features interviews with cannabis legends, such as Joe Murray, the creator of Sour Diesel, and Abdullah Saeed, comedian and co-host of his own podcast Great Moments in Weed History.
The idea is to give consumers more touch points to connect with the brand and the culture, at large. Burb is helping to lead the way.
Five Fun Questions With Burb
Burb, a cannabis lifestyle brand launching out of Vancouver, Canada is forging an original narrative in the industry with a new retail concept that joins e-commerce, streetwear, and media, giving British Columbia Cannabis Culture (BC Bud Culture) its rightful place on the cultural map. Burb’s recently launched dynamic e-commerce platform – shopburb.com features its debut collection which is entirely Canadian made and tastefully nods to the end of prohibition with a clean and explicit collection of streetwear staples.
John Kaye, Steve Dowsley, Clayton Chessa are the founders of Burb and this interview features John Kaye.
I’m a massive fan of all things Vancouver. So when I discovered Burb, it all made sense to me. Having enjoyed BC Bud at the source, I know exactly why this place is so magical. Is it the rain forest right in the middle of the city? Or the wild beaches? Or the salmon candy? I’m not sure which one is my favorite. All I do know is that Burb is fine stuff.
Warren Bobrow= WB: Where are you from. Why cannabis?
John Kaye, one of the founders of Burb=JK
JK: I grew up in Vancouver B.C. where we’ve just gotten the approval to open two licensed cannabis retail stores – a very nice feeling bringing it back full circle all these years later. Before Burb I lived many lives as a member of a touring rock & roll band, an owner of a wholesale denim operation and then made the jump into finance as an investment banker. All paths eventually lead me to co-founding a federally licensed cannabis testing lab called Northern Vine with my now partner in Burb, Clayton Chessa – which was later acquired. BC Bud culture runs in my blood as a Vancouver native, growing up in the epicenter of cannabis activism and legalization. It seemed natural to follow the path of a plant and a culture that has had a huge impact on my life.
WB: Tell me about your experience with the plant.
JK: I’ve been using cannabis since the age of 16 – what was once purely a recreational high school adventure has turned into a therapeutic and general wellness tool for me. I’m not a medical patient per se but cannabis does put my mind at ease after a long day, it helps me creatively problem solve or to see things differently, it promotes deep conversations and of course brings out lots of laughter – its the best medicine!
WB: When did you discover it?
WB: Tell me about your company. How did you decide to open your business?
JK: After our lab was acquired we had seen everything… the good, the bad and the ugly. This is what further drove our passion in wanting to curate something unique in the industry which is what we’re doing now at Burb – giving our customers what we feel the best is – across cannabis, clothing and culture. As new fathers, professionals, and creatives we wanted to come into the light and celebrate the long lived cannabis counter-culture with high-design retail offerings from interior design and apparel to accessories. We wanted to lead with thoughtful design and retail components as a way of engaging the community to experience cannabis culture out of the shadows. Whether you come into our retail space and feel at home, stash your stash in our first edition waist bag, or purchase accessories that can be used as decorative pieces from vintage rolling trays, golden grinders, and wood-crafted Gandolf pipes we wanted to create a well designed space for the culture to thrive.
WB: What was your inspiration?
JK: We all grew up in the Burbs before moving out to the city and now are bringing it back for that community feeling. We’re authentically passionate about cannabis and want to create a brand that speaks to that – and one that’s approachable and cool. Something you’d want to wear out – for those who know what it represents..
WB: Up in Canada you’ve changed the stigma surrounding cannabis use, yet in the USA stigmas still exist. How would you suggest combating this? What is your six month plan? One year?
JK: Being a west coast brand at heart we feel a strong synergy with the U.S. cannabis culture especially in California. More than anything our aesthetic and international eCommerce platform speaks to the rich culture in the U.S. as well as Canada. In the next 6-months we plan to slowly and strategically enter the California market through key collaborations, stockists and partnerships and as for a year down the line we are looking to have some massive collaborations under our belt with prominent figures in the music and entertainment spaces as a way to further engage our community on an international level.
We have also launched a podcast called “Light Culture” hosted by Paper Magazine co-founder David Hershkovits in which we have leading creative voices speaking on cannabis and their respected industries which transcends our retail arm. Already having interviews with hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, journalist Abdullah Saeed, activist and investor Steve DeAngelo we plan to continually provide a platform for these stories to shine through and reach people in a different way. In terms of combating this on a legal level, the states have to permit inter-state and international export to get more of that plant to other areas and people who could really benefit from it. Long term its federal legalization – no question – I’m not sure about the pathway there though. More studies, less stigma and better politics. These things take time..
WB: What is your favorite food? Do you cook? Who taught you? What is your favorite restaurant?
JK: I’m a sucker for Italian – my wife is obsessed with a restaurant called Nook located in Kitsilano – an area of Vancouver. Authentic pizza and the right personalities working there. My wife says I cook great when I cook – which is very rare – i blame too much work and the ease of takeout with door dash/uber eats. I used to play in a rock n roll band and we all took turns cooking on the road… because you don’t make any money on the road and you can’t afford much. I also eat sushi everyday because there’s an awesome spot next to our Burb flagship in BC.
WB: If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would that be? Doing what?
JK: On the Amalfi coast, listening to the latest episode of Light Culture podcast while smoking a J….