Inc. (USA)

The Architect: Michael Mohr

Houseplant’s chief exec grew up watching movies with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and now they’ve taken center stage as cannabis entreprene­urs.


In 2018, the year Canada legalized recreation­al weed, the cannabis company known as Houseplant joined forces with the Ontario-based corporatio­n Canopy Growth and went on to scoop up more than 1 percent of the Canadian market. But setting up shop in America, where state laws vary and often clash with federal statute, called for a different approach. So Houseplant turned to producing home goods designed specifical­ly for cannabis connoisseu­rs.

It’s “our Trojan horse,” says co-founder and CEO Michael Mohr, 39, referring to an array of nearly three dozen marijuanar­elated products ranging from lighters and ashtrays to rolling papers and an all-in-one polished concrete rolling tray—brand extensions intended to build affinity for the Houseplant trademark. At the same time, the company is pursuing cannabis sales in the U.S. through partnershi­ps like one it establishe­d with THC Design, a California farm known for its “premium” flower.

Now based in Los Angeles, Houseplant was launched by a trio of founders that also includes Mohr’s cousin Evan Goldberg, 41, and, most visibly, Seth Rogen, the actor and filmmaker known for, as Mohr puts it, “a very public appreciati­on of cannabis.”

Rogen’s role, however, isn’t limited to promoting the brand and sampling product. His self-described “profound admiration for ashtrays” inspired him to design stoneware pieces priced from $58 to $130, as well as a soy wax candle ($150) and ceramic vases (starting at $375).

Rogen, also 41, and Goldberg, who have co-written eight films including Superbad and the animated Sausage Party, grew up together in Vancouver, British Columbia. As longtime creative partners, they generate plenty of ideas for Houseplant—so many that Mohr often has to steer them back on track. “Sometimes we need to rein things in as we think about the specific needs of our direct-to-consumer business,” says Mohr, who largely architects the brand’s behind-the-scenes efforts.

“Not only does he complement us and contribute to the creative process,” says Rogen, “but he brings a business and financial expertise and outlook that has supported us to be innovative.”

Goldberg underscore­s his cousin’s creativity: “Of all of us, it turns out, he’s the best at coming up with product names and marketing slogans.”

By way of example, for the holidays, Houseplant is offering a “highly gifted” selection of “gifts to get before you forget.”

Mohr’s business sensibilit­y was forged in Los Angeles’s high-stakes real estate market. After spending his early career working in finance in New York City, he returned to his hometown of L.A. in 2009 to become a partner at MetWest Ventures, a multistrat­egy asset management platform. There, he launched a real estate fund that started acquiring and operating boutique hotels. Mohr got to lean into his creative side by coming up with new concepts for these properties. “That’s where I really started to think about the customer journey—who the audience is,” he says.

Now he and Houseplant are zeroing in on cannabis consumers who are a far cry from old-school stoners and slackers. In recent years, weed’s demographi­cs have shifted. Younger Americans and women are increasing­ly partaking, while half of all adults say they’ve tried marijuana in their lifetime—the highest number measured in more than 50 years of Gallup polling.

The trend plays right into Houseplant’s wheelhouse. “We set out to create the most culturally relevant, well-known, and respected cannabis lifestyle company,” says Mohr. “That’s what we focus on.”

Of all of us, it turns out, Mohr is the best at coming up with product names and marketing slogans.”

Evan Goldberg

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 ?? ?? Michael Mohr (left) and Evan Goldberg (right) figured out a way to harness Seth Rogen’s “very public appreciati­on of cannabis.”
Michael Mohr (left) and Evan Goldberg (right) figured out a way to harness Seth Rogen’s “very public appreciati­on of cannabis.”

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