Not everyone can (or is even willing to) brag that they once sold dime bags in the halls of their high school and have now sold them in nearly every zip code in the country. Tim Morrissey on the other hand is proud to say he’s done it —- of course, with him we’re talking about protective cases and pouches, backpacks and accessories for the 420 lifestyle and beyond.
“Dime Bags is without question one of the strongest brands that’s an ancillary product to the cannabis space. We’ve been around for 18 years and have put bags in over 6000 stores in 14 countries,” says Morrissey, the company’s founder and CEO.
When Dime Bags started out, the idea was to make pouches specifically for protecting glass pipes. The first were five and eight inches long and proved so popular that within just a couple of months the line expanded to 14 different products. According to Morrissey, Dime Bags is still the U.S. sales leader in glass protection accessories with sizes ranging from five to 30 inches.
If you’d asked retailers back then if bags would sell, they’d have said you were high. The reason, according to Morrissey, was that most bags were cheaply made and only good as giveaways with the purchase of a pipe — the reality was that retailers were right.
“We thought, why not make a high-quality bag that you didn’t have to give away — ones on which shops could make a profit and that we could build a brand around,” Morrissey says.
“Back then very few companies in cannabis were even thinking about brands — they were focused on making a quick buck,” Morrissey adds. “Honestly, because of the scares of the industry, not many companies were putting their names on things.”
Dime Bags was one of the first cannabis-centric companies to come out of the closet, so to speak, and blast their name into the alternative market space. Their products were far superior to anything similar at the time. One big difference was that they contained enough padding so your pipe would survive intact if you accidentally dropped it.
Sustainability was, and still is, a big draw — inside each bag is the slogan, Made on Earth for Earth. The first Dime Bag, a simple grey pipe pouch, was made from 100% organic hemp with a 100% cotton lining. The shell was eventually upgraded with a revolutionary blend of hemp and recycled polyester. Not only was “Hempster” more durable, but it allowed for more color choices.
Dime Bags was also the first to include a smell-spill-proof-pouch with their products. They’ve since expanded to offer the Omerta collection, smell-proof luggage ranging from 5-inch pouches to full-sized duffle bags and backpacks, that use carbon-filter technology to literally lock the smell in — and the curiosity out.
Along with robust zippers and secret stash pockets, another popular component of Dime Bags is that owners can personalize them with a variety of hook-and-loop-backed patches in hundreds of designs from state flags to cartoon characters. There’s even a patch stating, “Come back with a warrant!” that corresponds with the copy of the Fourth Amendment included with each bag.
“It’s a calling card that says, ‘Don’t judge me,’” Morrissey says. “The beautiful thing about being an American is that you can put whatever you want in your bag, and you should have the luxury, the safety and the secure feeling of knowing that you can go anywhere you want with it and not be checked.”
Ironically, only 45 percent of Dime Bags’ business comes directly from the cannabis sector. The brand has crossed over to become part of popular culture, as evidenced by its hundreds of thousands of monthly social media engagements, and is hugely popular within the surf, skate and alternative sports arenas — of course, as Morrissey points out, “Lots of surfers and skaters smoke cannabis too.”
Dime Bags recently sold their three-millionth bag. Some of those sales are from online shoppers, but Morrissey points out that brick and mortar stores need not be worried because internet prices are kept 20 percent above suggested retail. Even customers who find their way to the Dime Bags website are encouraged to #shoplocal. The company goes one better, offering an unparalleled guarantee to stores that if they’re unable to sell the products they ordered, they can simply be returned or exchanged. The policy also allows shops to easily accept customer returns — a rare thing in the “you bought it, it’s yours” smoke shop world.
Purses, wallets, messenger bags, and even fanny packs are now also emblazoned with the distictive Dime Bags logo. While the seven-inch pipe pouch, available in 18 colors, holds the most-sold spot in the Dime Bags catalog, backpacks are the current best seller – in fact, Morrissey says Dime Bags moves more backpacks than JanSport, a mainstream brand that touts itself as the “original” backpack company.
“We have great products and are constantly striving to be a better bag company than we are — that’s what continues to keep us on the forefront,” Morrissey says. “Ultimately, what we have is an extremely solid brand. Dime Bags has grown very organically — there weren’t any grandiose ideas of world domination, the brand just has a mind of its own.”