New clothing joint. The owners of Kush Groove, a pot-themed emporium on Tremont Street in Mission Hill, hope to change people’s views on stoners.
Mike Pires: entrepreneur, designer, tastemaker, concert producer, stoner.
After more than a decade of selling cannabis culture- themed T- shirts and other goods online, Pires and three of his closest friends this week were prepping to open a storefront in Mission Hill for Kush Groove, an apparel and goods company Pires said aims to reshape people’s ideas about tokeup culture.
“Our lifestyle is pretty much the urban stoner: young, educated folks who have a fashion savvy,” Pires, the company’s 33- year- old CEO, told Metro on Tuesday while unpacking boxes of freshly printed shirts in the shop he helped renovate by hand. “We want to use the clothing as an avenue to kind of change people’s perceptions, especially older folks who think people who smoke weed are lazy, delinquents, criminals. That’s not the case.”
First dreamed up when Pires designed a shirt labeled “West Side” that was a hit among friends in Cambridge, Kush Groove caught on in a big way over the last few years.
Some big names in hip- hop — Waka Flocka stuck together to run the company, Pires said.
“This is really an iteration of a family business,” said COO Marcus Johnson- Smith, 29, who like Pires is a Northeastern grad. “That’s kind of how we approached it.”
A kickoff party for the new store on Tremont — which will offer shirts, hats, shoes, glass pipes, custom pot accessories such as grinders and rolling papers and, soon, handmade jewelry — was planned for this weekend. near $ 75,000, Pires said.
The designs, co- produced by Pires and local graffiti artists, are funky and playful, like one that spells out “munchies” in an array of half- eaten donuts and candy bars, or one that reads “Penznoil,” a send- up of the motor oil company and a nod to oily concentrated pot products, smoked with a special heat- up pen.
They’re also more “classy and tasteful” than most shirts in the pot enthusiast market. With one small exception, none of the company’s 60 T- shirt designs over the years have pot leaves on them.
But the company does more than just print graphic T- shirts. Concerts Kush Groove has organized at Boston- area venues for local artists have attracted as many as 200 people in a night.
The young entrepreneurs are also cooking up an event they want to call the Stoner Awards, recognizing local music, activists, dispensaries and the like. We are “highlighting the cultural elements of the cultural ambassadors of the city who are really tied in with the cannabis movement,” Pires said.
Through it all, the four Cantabrigians have Flame, A$ AP Rocky — have worn their shirts. Sales online, at local concerts ( many of which they organized), Boston’s propot Freedom Rally, and at pop- ups in select cities on both coasts have climbed
From left Marcus Johnson-Smith, F. Matthews, and Mike Pires, co-founders of the Kush Groove store on Tremont Street in Boston.
Co- founder Marcus Johnson- Smith sets up the Kush Groove store on Tremont Street in Boston.