Given its title, the 199X Collection, we challenged ourselves to create a miniature time machine that served a dual purpose of displaying our limited edition collection of ceramic colored tips for BUDDY, as well as serving up heaps of nostalgia. The decision to convert double cd jewel cases into packaging for our complete collection was a no brainer.
We sourced the cases and tore out the guts, retrofitting them with velvet flocked cushions trimmed with cutouts that neatly fit all six colored tips, Matador (fire engine red), Borscht (moody mauve, Pantone's 2023 color of the year), Ghost (blizzard white), Surf (deep teal), Limelight (kiwi green *glows under blacklight), Hibiscus (pepto pink - *glows under blacklight) a perfect way to encapsulate the 90's.
The outside needed to be instantly eye-catching, dare I say, inimitable. The trend the past few years in design, especially in the cannabis accessories space, has leaned toward the amorphous shapes and pseudo-retro vibes embraced by Gen Z and passed off as "90's" when really it was a loose interpretation of early 2000's Disney channel / Angelfire / pre-Myspace era. In short, it was hardly the gut punch I was looking for. The 90's were raw and uncomfortable and I wanted that front and center on our cover art.
In addition to giving Terminator vibes, the cover image and type treatment is a nod to the seminal album “Bleach” by Nirvana. If you’ve never heard the story of how that came to be, it’s a fun little nugget of both rock and graphic design history. The image gracing our cover, that landed us in Forbes a second time and earned us a Clio Award, is indeed real. That's my neck. Also, my broken collarbone. And a shoulder that got dislocated and the underside got ripped from my body like a smiley face and sewn up shortly after this photo. Ouch. As I have learned time and again, you can’t control what happens in life, you can only control how you react.
Shortly after pandemic hit, when we were all just about getting the hang of our “new normal,” some guy rear ended me at a stop sign in broad daylight (while on his phone, of course). I wrote off the searing pain as whiplash at first, because I simply didn’t have the capacity to conceive of it being worse. But it was worse. Much worse. The crash had herniated a few discs in my neck, but I was still determined to take the most conservative approach to care possible. I had lost a dear friend to a failed battle with back surgeries and back pain and I was fine taking the long route, if it meant I would stay alive.
I was convinced I could find the right therapeutic approach to manage it. Two years of chiropractors, medical massages, dry needling, TENS units, cupping, acupuncture, physical therapy, and regular epidural injections, I had to face the reality that not only was the pain not getting better, but I was increasingly losing function in my right hand from the spinal compression. Last year a new set of X-Rays revealed that my neck bones were beginning to fuse themselves together in an attempt to provide the stability that my spine needed. If I didn’t proceed with surgery, I would be looking at a much different type of procedure, and I may not have the options that were being presented at that time.
So I made the decision to voluntarily agree to pay someone money to slit my throat open and have metal parts implanted into my spine. That wasn't on my bingo card for 2023. My surgeon was excellent. Recovery was brutal. They go in from the front and sort of pull all your soft parts to the side. You lose your voice for a while and, especially for a singer, that part is borderline terrifying. Once you stop moving like an android, you eventually forget that there are plates in your neck.
Because the universe is hilarious, two months into recovery, I broke my shoulder, which sent me on another extended journey of surgery and rehab. It would be sad if it weren't so ridiculous. Again, it's all about how you react.
Our entire brand story is one of resilience. We're built on bouncing back. One day about eight years ago my best friend died and I realized "Oh shit, there's a giant clock ticking above my head and only I am in charge of how I use every second." And that's what gets me through. That's why I don't phone it in. That's why I keep going. That's why I am hard to kill.
Sara / Founder
++ The title of our "album" bears no relation to the TNA Wrestling event Hard to Kill at the Palms, Las Vegas, where I once had an extremely memorable weekend with my gay boyfriends back when I had caramel colored feathered hair.