Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Mou.
Angela, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was 15, I smoked my first bowl ever. It was out of a Granny Smith apple in a friend’s minivan. Now I sell ceramic apple pipes in my smoke shop, and it’s all come full circle.
I’m an LA native – I was born and grew up in the suburbs near Pasadena, left for college, and didn’t move back until two years ago when I started Elevate Jane. I spent my 20s in Shanghai and New York City… exploring, trying everything, playing hard, working harder, succeeding, failing, learning all the lessons along the way. I always loved my work. It was primarily with food, wine, and spirits in the ecommerce/tech and hospitality industries. The vast majority of my time was spent with startups, varying from prelaunch to early stage companies, and I also got a taste of corporate life.
I’d always been interested in having my own business, and I began to write down ideas, fleshing out how to start one until a better idea came along. Then I moved onto the next, then the next, until one day I was cruising IG, and came across the most stunning ceramic pipes and bongs.
I’ve been smoking cannabis nearly every day since the first time I hit that apple pipe, and until that day two years ago, I’d never cared that much about pipes or bongs. It’s not that I didn’t like them, it’s just that I’d never loved a piece. I started looking for more pieces that I loved, and I kept discovering artists making beautiful, special pipes that I’d never seen before, and their functional works of art moved me. I couldn’t stop dreaming about putting all these pipes into one shop. I thought about this concept all day, fell asleep thinking about it, woke up thinking about it… and this obsession went on for days, I couldn’t do anything else. And so, Elevate Jane was born.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
During the first year, it felt like I was putting out fires every day, and there will always be an ever-evolving set of challenges, but two of the biggest were the website launch and the general fear of being shut down – by everyone.
Getting a website online is easy, but creating a website that I loved was not. The perfectionist in me agonized over every detail and changed everything twice. I brought on a programmer to help me build my ecommerce shop, and then he disappeared on launch day, never to be heard from again. I later heard through the grapevine that he was in prison. I ended up learning how to do a lot more myself, and I’m grateful for that experience.
Ancillary (non-plant touching) businesses have a slew of issues that comes with carrying ‘prohibited items’, such as pipes or anything deemed ‘paraphernalia’. Two of the biggest challenges that businesses like ours regularly face are banking and credit card processing shutdowns and social media accounts being deactivated. We can’t advertise like traditional, “non-prohibited” companies, and are rejected from events due to our offerings. It’s led to thinking outside of the box marketing and growing very, very organically 🙂
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Elevate Jane – what should we know?
Elevate Jane is a modern smoke shop, a curated collection of smoking accessories with a contemporary aesthetic. We believe that smoking is a ritual with medicinal benefits, and your pipes + accessories are vehicles for accessing plant medicine. When you love what you are smoking, AND what you are smoking from, it makes your ritual that much more meaningful.
We offer unique and beautiful pipes, bongs, joint accessories, and more. Many are made from natural materials – hand-cut crystal pipes and chic ceramic pieces made from clay. We also have classic glass pipes with a twist – cute, intricate emoji-inspired pieces (such as avocado pipe with realistic, bumpy skin), the most beautiful glass bowls with flowers blown into them, or the eggs and bacon pipe, dubbed Wake + Bacon. We offer jewelry for your joint – 14k gold plated and sterling silver joint extenders, or if glass is your preference, we have some in the silhouette of a woman. We are pioneering the #adultbong movement by introducing you to bongs you want to display on your coffee table, that fit in with your décor and lifestyle. We take care to select only items that are nice to look at AND work well. Form + function are equally essential.
We’re so proud that all of the pipes in our shop are made in the USA. All of the pieces are of the highest quality, handmade by artists or produced in small batches by designers. We love supporting creatives and bringing delight into our customers’ homes. I’m constantly expanding and evolving our offerings, and I can’t wait to unveil some beautiful collaborations and our own products this fall.
Elevate Jane is an online smoke shop based in Los Angeles. Our entire collection is available on www.elevatejane.com. To see our offerings in person, we pop up at Smorgasburg LA every Sunday downtown, and we offer a curated selection of products at Allright in Silver Lake (open T-Sun, 11-7).
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Passion. I genuinely love what I do, and that drives my determination and hard work. When you love your work, the narrative changes from “I have to…” to “I get to….” and that gratitude fuels everything.
- Address: Allright
3208 W. Sunset Blvd
Silver Lake, Los Angeles
- Website: www.elevatejane.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elevatejane/
Jen Skog (portrait)