When she talks about her new online retail venture, Eviana Hartman has to choose her words carefully due to federal restrictions. She and her partners founded Tetra, a company that sells stylish products dedicated to "elevating the aesthetics of the smoking experience." What kind of smoking? Let's just say Hartman doesn't promote cigarette smoking and consider that "tetra" makes up the first five letters of tetrahydrocannabinol. You may know it as THC, the chemical that causes the psychological effects of cannabis. This season, Tetra has an SF pop-up shop.
Until Christmas Eve, Tetra will have a mini shop in Anaïse, a recently opened designer clothing boutique in the Mission. The shop is limited to a table top, and it carries a tightly edited selection that includes boxes, incense, ashtrays, and lighters. The stylish pipes offered on the Tetra website are notably absent. "We chose objects that seemed to fit the mood of the store," Hartman says.
What you will find are sculptural and elegant items that will appeal to designophiles whether they light up or not. An example: The geometric Platinum Tetra Ashtrays (seen above). They start at $180 and, if it weren't for the name, you'd likely think they were non-functional tabletop accessories.
Hartman, and her partners Monica Khemsurov and Su Wu, are all bi-coastal design/fashion writers whose work regularly appears in the New York Times' T magazine, and we wondered how a trio of journalists came up with such a high-minded venture. Like many great California ideas, it was hatched during a day at the beach—El Matador State Beach in Malibu, to be exact. Few have called reporter and editor profits extravagant in recent years, and during their day on the sand, the three friends started chatting about ways they could make some extra money. Marijuana legalization came up, one thing led to another, and the company opened in September. "We felt there was room in this space for for better designed products," says Hartman. "Being design obsessives, we felt we could bring our curatorial eye to it."
Hartman notes that San Francisco is one of their top markets. "Sophisticated people live there," she notes. "They seem to be receptive to what we are doing."