The Story Of Matriarch, The Brand That’s Changing How We Smoke


There are two types of cannabis consumers; the kind that likes to smoke alone, and the kind that prefers to share their joint sessions.

Some of us have a balance of both; when we’re by ourselves, we tend to be more introverted, while being surrounded by people, we’re able to share those deep thoughts.

In some cases, like the one behind the birth of Matriarch, it can lead to asking ourselves—and others in our posse—simple questions that end up turning our lives around.

“One day after our many blunt sessions together we arrived back at my apartment and started talking about our passion(s) and what our ideal life/job would be like,” says Eddie Navarro, one of Matriarch’s co-founders.

“After quickly realizing our vision was the same, we wanted to create a cannabis brand that will impact the world”, complements Chuck Shen, the other half behind the company making the most efficacious tray in the market.

Not just because of its functionality, but also due to its design and branding, both of which are Chris Lawler’s contributions.

A designer who grew up building things with his dad, Chris met the entrepreneurial duo in 2017 when Matriarch was still on the hunt for a product designer.

“As soon as we met our minds aligned in the creative process—the rest is history. Originally I worked with them to develop a line of smoking pipes, but a number of obstacles made a pivot to rolling trays a more viable avenue. Once we began down that path, it became apparent to us that it was a better way to connect with our users.”

And it’s not like these trays wouldn’t work for smoking pipes, but it’s better enjoyed by the aesthetics-focused consumer, the one behind the perfect joint in their swaggy elephant-branded rolling tray made from locally-sourced Black Walnut found in North Carolina.

“Each type of smoker is represented in our line,” continues Chris, while pointing out what each of the orifices and dips in the tray is for.

Some of the features include the open corners for dumping unrolled herb back into your stash jar, the media slot where your phone or iPad will rest while you tuck your reefer nice and tight, and the staggered grinder area that will host herb trimmers of all sizes.

There’s even a rig station, designed specifically for a tight seat to let you twirl your nails as fast as you want, while the concentrates evaporate.

“They are incredibly well made and beautifully finished. It was important to us that it felt like an elevation of the form.”

Hearing the leader of this herd (at least when it comes to design) talk so effusively about a tray, one would think that Chris is a long-time cannabis aficionado who one day got very tired of the slippery, disagreeable plastic trays and finally got his break by designing his own.

But the truth is, he only tried cannabis as an adult and became a “full-blown stoner” after he moved to California—an evolution that tends to happen to all of us who make the Golden State our home (regardless of how long).

And it’s not like he had plenty of experience in the industry either: Matriarch was his first job in the cannabis field. 

The design of each tray produces an empowering feeling, but most importantly, it transmits reassurance, the type that lets you enjoy each step of the process knowing you won’t make a mess, getting lost in the wood’s veins, imagining stories across the board.

It took many prototypes and redesigns to get to this point, but we can assure you that the polished finishing was well worth the many times the trio had to go back to the board.

“I have a great appreciation of all things finite. I have worked in many materials, but I think wood is probably one of my favorites,” says Chris, emphasizing this is a purposeful object.

“We love cannabis and the community around it. We don’t think of it as people buying a product, we think of it as growing a family.”


- Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi


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