I met Alex and Amanda from the new Oakland-based design studio Aalchemy, back in May when they reached out to me on Instagram. They were a power pair of designers looking to branch out into the cannabis industry, and wanted to lead a re-brand for a new cannabis brand to use as a basis for their portfolio. After chatting with them online, and then meeting them in Oakland in June, I knew I had met the right designers to take my vision for Flower & Freedom into a visual reality with a logo to match.
Fast forward a few months and we have just received the final version of our new logo and couldn’t be happier! I was so excited that I had it printed on a few pieces of clothing overnight in time for our most recent fitness class. More clothing in the works, but in the meantime I sat down with Amanda and Alex over Skype to ask a few questions and to give you a peek behind our logo process!
What drew you to the cannabis industry?
Alex: Once I moved to California, in an area that embraced cannabis more than the east coast, I finally felt I was home. It wasn’t till 2017 that we became more immersed in the industry. We started to think, how could we bring what we love together… creativity.. design.. aesthetics.. cannabis.. We could really do something in this industry. We want to partner up with people who are willing to take a risk in this industry. I’m an early adopter, and Amanda is a new consumer, so we feel like we’re perfectly matched to be on this path of passion, love and commitment to something bigger than us.
What made you want to reach out to me at Flower & Freedom?
Alex: We started to follow people who we felt were channeling this new lifestyle and culture of cannabis. I reached out and we had our initial conversation, and I thought, “Here’s someone who cares beyond just being in the industry for money, someone who cares about people in the community. She’s doing it in a cool way.” We saw that there was so much potential for what you are doing.
Amanda: We were enamoured with Flower & Freedom’s focus on community and outreach, which is what inspired us to reach out. After emailing back and forth with Beth the first couple of times, it was her genuine warmth and generosity that made the rest history.
How does cannabis work for you as far as creativity and graphic design?
Amanda: I’ve been a Creative my entire life, but it was only until this year that I’ve begun exploring Cannabis as part of my creative process. Ideation and design as I knew it blossomed into something magical. Cannabis enables me to think beyond surface level which in turn, inspires quicker problem solving because it eliminates mental blockage. Introducing Cannabis into my work for the first time felt as though I was opening creative floodgates within myself I never knew existed.
Cannabis also gives me confidence. As a designer, I present my ideas, thoughts, skills and work to different types of people every day–I live in a constant state of vulnerability. Though this is just a normal part of the job, can be extremely brutal on the ego. Cannabis is great for realigning my state of mind and helping me stay confident throughout the week despite the challenges.
Alex: I start every project with cannabis. If I’m at my desk I have my vape and I’m taking microdoses through the sketching through to the competition phase. It’s great to open the mind to flow and get into a creative state. Cannabis is an elixir to allow us to go where we want to go creatively.
How does cannabis bring you closer together as a couple?
Amanda: We are a couple who live, work AND own a business together (on top of mutually eating and breathing design). Naturally, we face many moments of tension and stresses outside the relationship norm.
At the end of each day, it’s extremely important for us to take a moment to relax, decompress, reflect and appreciate each other regardless if it felt like a success or not. Cannabis helps us spend quality time together outside of the discussion of work–which is extremely difficult for us to do–so it’s been vital to us feeling recharged and energized each day.
Alex: Without cannabis we wouldn’t be able to handle all the stresses that come along with being a design studio. And in the cannabis industry. Without cannabis there wouldn’t be an Alchemy…
What does Flower & Freedom mean to you?
Alex: Using flower and bringing that freedom to anyone who needs it. Because we’ve kind of stolen this right, and it’s a flower . and we didn’t get that ability.
Amanda: The name kind of evolved as I was working on the logo… I think of the freedom that you get while you use the flower. How it opens up so many unkown doors, allows you to be your most genuine and authentic self. It’s working on taking away that stigma and not feeling ashamed. It’s the freedom you get from taking the leap of giving yourself the care and love you and your body deserves.
How did you choose the name Made by Aalchemy?
Alex: When we were still just friends, I leant her the book The Alchemist. That book really left an impact on both of us.. We are creating that magic, that gold, with our talents. Manifesting something out of nothing besides your own creativity…
What projects would you like to be designing in the future?
More full rebranding projects for cannabis lifestyle brands, as well as product lines. And as well as with the mom and pop shops. We have a heart and soul for the small guys too. You can never predict where a company will end up.