LA Metal Icon Expands His Cannabis and Design Brand into Nevada, Arizona

Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man recently launched a cannabis brand, "Taking Into Consideration All Lives," that will highlight racial injustice..

Former Disney star Bella Thorne has a brand called Forbidden Flowers that she will use to talk about the flower's healing powers, the original puffer Snoop Dogg has partnerships with Canopy Growth and billionaire rap mogul Jay-Z became the chief strategist for Caliva last year giving the brand an edge.

Celebrities are cashing in big on California's green rush and putting their own signature on it.

Shavo Odadjian, bassist for L.A. metal giants System of a Down is trimmed from the same mold. His 2018 startup, 22Red, celebrates creative minds and has a music production wing. He sees 22Red not just as a purveyor of cannabis, but of music, art and fashion. And it's just getting started.


"It's not just about getting high," Odadjian tells dot.LA at 22Red's minimalist headquarters, where glass garage windows and French doors separate conference rooms, offices and studios — far removed from its prior calling as a place of worship in downtown Pasadena.

Shavo Odadjian, bassist for L.A. metal band System of a Down's cannabis startup, 22Red, celebrates creative minds and has a music production wing.

The company is working with HEX, a boutique accessories designer with a flagship store in downtown Los Angeles, to launch backpacks, bags and other products.

Each run is limited and marketed as exclusive with high quality stitching and material. "We're going to do custom stuff," Odadjian says. "I don't like too much branding."

Another collaboration is in the works with renowned L.A. tattoo artist Chuey Quintanar, whose realistic inks have been featured in museum exhibits. Quinatar, a master of the black and gray style that has roots in Chicano culture, is now vaunted by celebrities and high-end tattoo shops.

"What I believed in was creating a whole lifestyle brand that is beyond cannabis," says 22Red chief executive Harry Kazazian, who joined the company about a year ago. "It's bigger than Shavo. It's more about the arts, socializing and enjoying life."

Kazazian, a fellow Armenian who played in heavy metal bands, has known Odadjian for more than 25 years, travelling in many of the same circles. He was an early seed investor who helped the brand raise more than $1 million from friends and family.

"I've always looked up to Harry. He's an amazing person and a kind soul," Odadjian says of Kazazian.

"I needed someone that I could trust."

Kazazian brings not only a track record in outdoor sports and consumer goods to the operation, but deep knowledge of distribution and supply chains that can be leveraged. One of the company's brands, Hex, is producing 22Red gear. Kazazian co-founded Colorado-based Exxel Outdoors more than 20 years ago and remains the CEO as the company has grown. He wants to create a similar path for 22Red.

"My goal has been more about building a solid business foundation," Kazazian says of his new role. "My management style is more about longevity."

The brand is personal to Odadjian. He wants to build 22Red up in the very neighborhoods where he grew up and where System of a Down grew its audience in the '80s.

22Red launched in November at cannabis retailers, including Dr. Greenthumb's in Sylmar and City Compassionate Caregivers downtown. A small run of hoodies and t-shirts were produced at business partner Mike Basteguin's factory in Hollywood.

Odadjian attended the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School in East Hollywood, along with System band mates Serj Tankian (lead vocals, keyboards) and Daron Malakian (vocals, guitar), though at different times.

"It was the hood. That's where I saw poverty, that's where I saw hookers, that's where I saw gangs, that's where I saw drugs," says Odadjian in a cadence as frenetic as his bass guitar. "I would go to sleep with the sound of helicopters, ambulances and police."

Drummer John Dolmayan's family was also part of that mass migration in the 1970s and 1980s to Armenian enclaves in Los Angeles, particularly Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley and Glendale, where the band ultimately formed.

"I could have gotten into anything. I could have been a gangbanger. I could have gotten into drugs. I could have died," Odadjian says. "I chose skateboarding and guitar."

When creating the brand, he drew inspiration from his life. Born on April 22 and married on May 22, he was 22 when System signed with American Recordings. His first two sons were also born two years, and 22 days apart.

The number resonated deeply with him. Twenty-two led to the color red.

Odadjian has synesthesia, a neurological condition that causes him to see colors with numbers, letters and even music.

"It's an association thing, and I associate things with color," Odadjian says, which causes the brain to process data through several senses at once.

22Red fit together in his mind.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Faraday Future Reveals Only 401 Pre-Orders For Its First Electric Car

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Faraday Future Reveals Only 401 Pre-Orders For Its First Electric Car
Courtesy of Faraday Future

Electric vehicle hopeful Faraday Future has had no shortage of drama—from alleged securities law violations to boardroom shake-ups—on its long and circuitous path to actually producing a car. And though the Gardena-based company looked to have turned a corner by recently announcing plans to launch its first vehicle later this year, Faraday’s quarterly earnings report this week revealed that demand for that car has underwhelmed—to say the least.

Read more Show less

Meet CropSafe, the Agtech Startup Helping Farmers Monitor Their Fields

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Meet CropSafe, the Agtech Startup Helping Farmers Monitor Their Fields
Courtesy of CropSafe.

This January, John McElhone moved to Santa Monica from, as he described it, “a tiny farm in the absolute middle of nowhere” in his native Northern Ireland, with the goal of growing the crop-monitoring tech startup he founded.

It looks like McElhone’s big move is beginning to pay off: His company, CropSafe, announced a $3 million seed funding round on Tuesday that will help it develop and scale its remote crop-monitoring capabilities for farmers. Venture firm Elefund led the round and was joined by investors Foundation Capital, Global Founders Capital, V1.VC and Great Oaks Capital, as well as angel investors Cory Levy, Josh Browder and Charlie Songhurst. The capital will go toward growing CropSafe’s six-person engineering team and building up its new U.S. headquarters in Santa Monica.

Read more Show less

Cedars Sinai Health Ventures’ Maureen Klewicki on How Tech Is Changing Health Care

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Maureen Klewicki
Image courtesy of Maureen Klewicki

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Cedars Sinai Health Ventures’ Maureen Klewicki talks about price transparency for health care, the labor shortage crisis and emerging payment models.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending