Seth Rogen explains how Houseplant promotes cannabis without breaking the rules

For the House and from a Plant

I was annoying Seth Rogen. We had just started the interview, and while he politely answered my questions, he was growing tired of talking about his celebrity status. He was more interested in discussing how Houseplant, the company he co-founded, is succeeding by overcoming countless regulatory hurdles. To him, that success has little to do with the Seth Rogen brand.

“It’s not like I’m a real celebrity. It’s not like Chris Evans is behind this,” Rogen said, laughing. “On the grand scale, celebrities are very low on the pecking order. I don’t even know if I am a celebrity since I haven’t been in a Marvel movie.”

I spoke with Rogen, CEO Mike Mohr and chief commerce officer Haneen Davies at TechCrunch Disrupt. Houseplant launched in March with two product categories: “House,” as in, home goods, and “Plant,” as in weed. One is highly regulated by the federal government and social media companies, and the other is not.

“We approached [building the brand] in a way that nobody else has,” Davies said. “I think the merger of House and Plant is what’s going to help us establish a brand name that goes beyond the limiting restrictions you have to abide by to communicate cannabis.”

From pot to pottery

Look at Houseplant’s Instagram presence, and their strategy is obvious. The company has two accounts: One for the House side and one for the Plant side. One account has ashtrays and lighters, and one account has the pot. The account with just lifestyle items has twice as many followers as the pot account.

The company’s home goods line is expanding, too, and soon it will sell lamps, furniture and more. Why? Because these household items are not censored by social media companies and let the company tell its story without restrictions.

“We’ve sold house goods in all 50 states at this point,” Seth Rogen explained. “That’s us, developing a relationship and trust with customers in places where weed is not legal yet.”

“That’s the ethos of our launch,” said Davies. “You can talk about house goods the way you can talk about any product, and to us, they’re very much linked to cannabis and a cannabis lifestyle. But we can gain the trust of a national audience and be in many homes across the nation while we wait for cannabis to follow.”