Come aboard the daring and vibrant realm of Pirate Girl Smoke Boutique, a one-of-a-kind retail experience where intrepid captain, Nicole Treantaful proudly hoists the pink flag to celebrate the empowering fusion of femininity and badassery.
“At Pirate Girl, my mission is to de-stigmatize smoking for women by providing products geared towards them and their wants,” says Nicole. “No longer do you have to choose between form and function. When you shop at Pirate Girl, you can have both.”
As a long-time cannabis enthusiast, Nicole, 38, reflects on a decade ago when people generally viewed smoke shops as a “guy thing.”
“You were lucky if you found one pink pipe in the entire place,” she says. “I visited shop after shop and was met with nothing but ‘blah’ and disappointment.”
On the occasion that Nicole found smoking accessories that met her aesthetic preferences, she immediately took to bedazzling them, the results of which she shared on her Etsy store, as well as at festivals and rallies. The success served as a revelation; women are an underserved demographic in the cannabis accessory space—and they want cute and functional. Armed with this knowledge, she opened Pirate Girl Smoke Boutique in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Step into Pirate Girl and you’ll be swimming in a sea of pink. Here you’ll find Nicole steering the ship with the help of first mate, Lulu, her yorkie/chihuahua mix. Nicole’s mom, Dianna, also helps a few days a week. Generous windows allow for natural light, handily illuminating the vibrant array of plants, artwork, and locally made glass. Meanwhile, the Captain’s Lounge offers customers a place to chill and try out new products. It also serves as the venue for such events as Puff-Puff-Paint Night, as well as movie nights and tea parties.
“I’m passionate about normalizing and de-stigmatizing cannabis smoking for women,” Nicole says, “especially mothers, teachers, nurses, and professionals who are looked down upon for their lifestyle choices. It forces people to be closet smokers and I sympathize with them about how they’re treated when they’re simply trying to make their lives better.”
Nicole knows what it’s like to take heat for consumption choices typically prefixed with terms like “recreational” or “medicinal.” Before venturing into the world of smoke shops, she worked in human services. She was ultimately fired, simply because she unapologetically embraced a 420-friendly lifestyle. “They made me feel like a criminal,” she recalls. “That experience served as a turning point, motivating me to never allow anyone to treat me that way again.”
She is now focused on offering women-centric products while fostering a supportive environment where questions about cannabis use can be asked freely, without the apprehension of judgment or criticism. Pink takes a prominent role in this endeavor, as it symbolizes love, kindness, and femininity, creating a calming and inviting ambiance. Among the renowned brands at Pirate Girl, Blazy Susan stands out with its popular line of pink rolling papers and smoking accessories. Other brands that appeal to female customers include KushKards, Ooze, PieceMaker silicone pipes, Wild Berry Incense, and Smoke Odor Eliminator candles and sprays.
Even in this era of high-tech smoking and pre-rolled goods, Nicole suggests that women still enjoy the art of joint rolling and the je ne sais quoi it brings to the smoking experience. Papers and cones that boast vibrant designs and colors, such as those from Beautiful Burns, have risen in popularity for precisely this reason. Moreover, Nicole underscores the charm of matching lighters, grinders, and odor-proof pouches as stylish accessories that enable women to express their distinct fashion sense.
Although we must be mindful of not resorting to gendered stereotypes, the strong inclination towards fashion observed among women is difficult to disregard. Nicole’s summer collection brims with standout pieces—from on-trend booty shorts showcasing stylish marijuana leaf designs to graphic tees and cropped hoodies that instantly command attention. She also offers tops adorned with the Pirate Girl logo, allowing customers to proudly display their affinity for the brand. “When people genuinely like a shop, they want to represent it,” Nicole remarks.
Pirate Girl’s nationwide e-commerce site and monthly subscription boxes contribute significantly to their sales. Nicole goes the extra mile to offer a personalized shopping experience for those who cannot visit the physical store. She assists customers through video chats in which she answers questions and helps them discover their desired items. That need for personal touch and connection, Nicole observes, is one difference in shopping behavior between the sexes. “Guys tend to come in, make their purchase, and leave,” she says, “while girls take the time to explore every single item in the store.”
“I enjoy my life,” Nicole enthusiastically expresses. “The cannabis industry has always been really positive and welcoming and I love to share that sentiment with my customers.” For women considering a venture into the cannabis and smoke shop realms, her counsel is to chase a path that genuinely sparks their passion. “Position yourself as a leader in your niche,” she advises. “Don’t be afraid to be the face of your business or brand. People want to see who is behind the scenes. They want to connect with someone they can relate to and trust.”