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Luxe Branding Haus Founder Kelly Dooley on De-Stigmatizing the Cannabis Industry & More

Kelly Dooley 2
Kelly Dooley is the founder of Luxe Branding Haus.

Kelly Dooley is a force to be reckoned with in the hemp and marijuana industries. A serial entrepreneur with extensive knowledge in cannabis, she is the founder of Luxe Branding Haus, a business focused on innovation in branding and creating marijuana products through partnerships and in-house production opportunities. She is also a domestic violence activist/survivor and strives to help those in need to better their mental health and get them out of troubling situations they may be in.

Kelly Dooley is also helping to normalize the perception around cannabis and how marijuana and mental health correlate. Home Business Magazine had the opportunity to catch up with her and get the exclusive inside on Luxe Branding Haus. She goes on to share insight on why the stigma surrounding cannabis will disappear, her other fashion projects (including making a sports bra for Britney Spears!), and her artistic process.

HBM: Tell us about your company, Luxe Branding Haus. How is it changing the face of the cannabis industry?

KD: “At Luxe Branding Haus, we cultivate brands that attract an audience, whose eye of substance, style and storytelling is defining lifestyle as true luxury. Branding and de-stigmatization are absolutely critical to the evolution of the cannabis industry, which will first become federally legal and eventually on a global scale. Very few brands that currently exist within the cannabis industry resonate with the sectors of the market that we’re targeting. Our design approach caters to the national market and to different demographics within each category, whether that be CBD infused skin care products or THC concentrates. Branding, communication, de-stigmatization, innovation, and luxury are the pillars of Luxe Branding Haus. Each brand that we have created illustrates the importance of strategic consistency and sticks to their respective brand DNAs. The cannabis industry is incredibly complex, and my hope is that Luxe Branding Haus will not only beautify the cannabis industry with our luxury approach but will also normalize cannabis, which is God’s panacea for virtually every ailment.”

HBM: What inspired you to launch Luxe Branding Haus? 

KD: “My unique background inspired me to start Luxe Branding Haus. I was born and raised in Orange County, CA, but I graduated from Boston University in 2005 with my B.S. in Print Journalism and from New York University in 2008 with my M.A. in Media, Culture and Communication Studies with an emphasis in Social Media and Luxury Consumption. I had the privilege of studying abroad in many countries, including Australia, China, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, and Wales. In 2010, I started an activewear company called BodyRock Sport that was designed to fuse fitness and fashion in a way that had not been done before. I achieved a tremendous amount of success with BodyRock Sport, not only dressing virtually every celeb that a young woman could dream of, but also getting selected for Oprah’s O List, being invited to do a Ted Talk, being featured in Forbes, and so on.

When I first entered the cannabis industry, I almost immediately spotted the white space in the market and told myself that I’d create the LVMH of cannabis. Branding is integral to longevity in both the cannabis and the fashion industries. I have essentially combined all of the skills that I acquired throughout my education and by working in the fashion industry to offer a fresh take in the cannabis industry, though we also take on projects outside of cannabis. Just like in fashion, cannabis consumers often base their decisions on design, dreams, and symbolism—namely, aspects of their identities that brands can convey more poignantly than ever with the social media juggernauts that are ruling the world, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, to name a few. Thus, as a branding aficionado, the opportunities to make a ding in cannabis are absolutely endless.”

HBM: Where do you usually find inspiration for designing with your company Luxe Branding Haus?

KD: “The vast majority of my inspiration comes from architecture, interior design, and luxury fashion.”

HBM: Do you think the stigma surrounding the cannabis industry will start to disappear as it becomes more accessible and prescribed more often for mental health reasons? 

KD: “Yes, I believe that decriminalization, education and powerful branding are the keys to de-stigmatizing the cannabis industry as a whole. I am vehemently against big Pharma and their campaign against cannabis has been very successful to date. Ultimately, once cannabis becomes federally legal, the same companies that have campaigned against cannabis are going to be the same ones that commoditize this miraculous plant, which is truly a panacea for humankind. Thus, education is more important than EVER.”

HBM: You also have done many exciting projects in the fashion industry. What was it like creating a bra for superstar Britney Spears? 

KD: “The moment that I found out that Britney Spears was rocking my $20,011 Eternal Love Sports Bra from my most popular Zip’ Up Collection with The Jessica Moto Leggings from my Show ’em Some Swagger Collection in her comeback ‘Twister’ music video was absolutely surreal.  My baby, BodyRock Sport, was on fire, and I was breaking all the rules and taking names, one celeb at a time, empowering women to love the skin they’re in, while pursuing my dream with reckless abandon in the heart of New York City.

I neither made the sports bra nor the leggings specifically for her, but due to the intricacy of the design—which included black and silver French silk, a diamond-eyed skull tassel attached to a solid gold zipper pull, and based on the purposely inflated price, I knew that the design would inevitably adorn an A-List celebrity. Britney was on my manifestation list and my dream came true with Godspeed.

She also wore several other pieces from my SS2013 collection, including The Amanda Bra from The Zip ‘Em Up Collection. It has been exciting to see her wear these items repeatedly since then!”

HBM: How did you feel when you first found out about the project?

KD: “My publicist worked with Britney’s stylist.”

HBM: What is your artistic process in creating a new piece, and more specifically, how did you come up with the design for the iconic bra?

KD: “My creative process is very Faulkerian in nature. I instinctively follow a stream-of-consciousness approach for everything in life when it comes to creativity, whether that be a sports bra design, a customized piece of furniture or a lavish dinner for a loved one. I go with and grow the flow. My overarching objective in creating extravagant sports bras was two-fold.

On the one hand, I knew that I capitalize on the white space in the activewear industry by targeting my demographic, which had been egregiously disregarded for so long. I could not comprehend why bras like the one I envisioned in my head had not yet existed!

On the other hand, because I got my M.A. in Media, Culture and Communication Studies with an emphasis in Social Media and Luxury Consumption from New York University in 2008, I knew that I could strategically leverage social media at a time when Instagram was still in its infancy and when Facebook was ubiquitous, the epicenter for digital communication. Therefore, my ridiculously expensive bespoke sports bra designs had viral appeal that would boost my website traffic, thereby introducing customers to my other eclectic yet more affordable designs that ranged from $44-$85, which, at the time, was considered outrageous since the median sports bra price industry wide was around $30 on the high-end.

Each design that launched was inspired by women who have inspired me, including my Mom (who is my hero) and my bestie Jasmine Kingsley, who is a Queen in her own right currently dominating as a lawyer for HUDL in Lincoln, Nebraska, and raising two beautiful mixed children with the love of her life. The ZuZu Bra is also named after my beautiful hair stylist and make-up artist, Zuleika Acosta, who now owns her own hair salon in Brooklyn called ZuZu Studio, whom I am so proud of for all of the dreams that she manifested with unwavering intention since the second I first met her while getting my hair styled at Bumble and Bumble’s styling bar at Bloomingdales on 59th in New York City back in 2010. I was even inspired by Angelina Jolie when she starred in Tomb Raider sexily clad in black leather.

Each and every creation that I created was different, just like the plethora of exceptional women who inspired the design, thereby empowering women to love the skin they’re in whilst encouraging them to fully embrace their femininity with just enough bite to remain authentic in a society that has successfully brainwashed females into idealizing an unrealistic standard of beauty and thus exacerbating mental health issues worldwide by diminishing self-esteem. This has proven to utterly detrimental globally.

There were seven staple collections based on women’s respective needs, dubbed: (1) Dim Your Headlights; (2) Keep ’em In; (3) Lock ’em Down, (4) Show ’em Off; (5) The Empower ’em Collection, which was marketed as the world’s most fashionable mastectomy bra endorsed by Giulana Rancic; (6) Yogansita; and (7) Zip ’em Up. I also had an assortment of booty shorts, capris, cycling shorts, gloves, leggings, moto jackets, swimwear, and tops.

The Zip ’em Up Collection was hands down the most popular collection. The star of the show in that collection was The Sophia Bra, which was a pink ditsy floral Supplex adorned with a gold zipper and embellished with a combination of gold studs and Swarovski Crystals on the piping. The same month that Britney Spears reminded the world of who she was by wearing The Eternal Love Bra, The Sophia Bra got confirmed for Oprah’s O List, which was another goal that I was determined to manifest.

The Eternal Love Bra was the result of wanting to outdo The Trenta Bra, aka The World’s Most Expensive Sports Bra, that I launched in June 2010, and that went viral. PINK ultimately purchased that bra for one of her music tours. The Eternal Love Bra was $20,011 because I designed and launched the design in 2011. At the time, Alexander McQueen was very popular, so the skulls that were on the zipper pull combined with Swarovski hearts was not only meant to pay homage to him but was also meant to represent the concept of ‘eternal love,’ which when a couple gets married, is ’til death do us part.’”

HBM: Do you have any other exciting projects you want to discuss to our readers?

KD: “I am the lead investor and Chief Visionary Officer for a technology company called Maven’s List, which is essentially a B2B platform that connects brands with celebrities and influencers, thereby eliminating the middleman whilst ensuring that the brand gets exactly what they paid for and the talent actually gets paid for their work! I have a plethora of projects that I am silently working on in both cannabis and in fashion, all of which will forever change the cannabis industry as we now know it. I ascribe to the philosophies of ‘silent moves, loud results’ and ‘Some people are so poor that all they have is money.’ Stay tuned!”

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