“So how was it?!” Mollie asked me excitedly as I walked through her doorway.
“It was cool…It was really cool…” I said, trying my best to not think about how much I would love a delicious Strawberry Kiwi Breeze from the Smoothie King right down the block from her apartment.
“Well, what was he like?” she prodded.
“He was cool…He was actually really cool…” I muttered, my mind still on the smoothie.
“Wait a second,” she said, how stoned are you right now?”
I didn’t know what to expect as Alex, my photographer, and I walked into Comet Ping Pong. It had been almost a baker’s dozen of weeks that Davis Clayton Kiyo and I had been playing phone tag trying to find a time to get together for me to learn more about him, his Fogpen, and his new Stashtray.
Davis, as owner of Myster, is a purveyor of high end smoking and vapor accessories and after being introduced to him by a mutual friend at a show at The Lot last summer, I had become incredibly fascinated by the wax vaporizer pen that he had been using, especially the smoke chamber right below the mouthpiece. It was like seeing a magic trick, watching it appear almost instantaneously as he pressed the small button on the middle of the device. And when he told me that he invented it himself, I nearly fell out of my chair.
I knew even back then that I wanted to interview him about this amazing product, but when, a few months later he told me that he had developed something even better, the Stashtray — essentially everything a regular “enthusiast” might need in one handy, idiot-proof case — I made sure to lock him down for a chat.
While I had met Davis before and we had played email and text tag for a bit, I still wasn’t sure what kind of guy he was. He has an inherent casualness which makes him immediately charming, but there’s a sporadically noticeable gruff and grit behind his smile that causes him to ring to mind someone in between Jay Gatsby and the cast from Alpha Dog.
But like he says, “I heard the Kennedy’s made their money bootlegging.”
And if someone’s going to be profiting off this renaissance, why not let it be him, someone who never went to college but whose $54,000 in pre-sales of Stashtrays in 40 days he describes as “Pretty good, but not as much as I think we should have gotten.”
He had the idea almost four years ago, “one of those ideas you have while talking with friends while you’re getting high,” but it wasn’t until about 18 months ago that Myster fully hit the ground with the Fogpen in hand. “The part that I designed and developed was the Fog Chamber, then the first innovation was a top that looked like a pen. I was just like, ‘How did no one thing of that?’ The Fogpen really does look like a pen.
Yep. The ideas we’ve all had millions of times? He’s the kind of guy that does something with them.
“I’m an entrepreneur; I always have these stupid ideas floating around,” Davis remarks before grabbing the salt shaker from our table and bringing it close to his face. “And I’m constantly inspired by what I see; when I look at a salt and pepper shaker, I look at all the thought that went into it to make it as efficient as possible.”
And it’s that kind of thinking that led to a Fogpen that has, Davis claims, survived police inspections and even airport security. And it’s what led to the game-changing Stashtray.
“When I first thought of it, I had all these crazy ideas, like a spring that would pop up and there would be LED lights. And they were cool, but then you realize that you start with all these ideas and then you whittle it down until you have the most efficient, effective product possible. As simple as possible. As clean as possible.”
And the result is a smoking station that has everything you would ever think to need in one place.
It’s got a rolling tray, a storage container, a grinder, an ashtray, a bowl stand, and a lighter case, and the stainless steel tray allows for all the parts to magnetized to the tray. It even comes with a discrete box that looks like a leather bound book, allowing you to pack up everything, flip it on its side and place it on your shelf if say your boss comes over for dinner (that still happens right?).
Most importantly, the Stashtray looks good.
Its clear that a lot of thought was put into the aesthetics of this thing. It actually looks like it belongs on an expensive coffee table.
It’s not surprising to find out that Davis worked with an industrial engineer who worked for OXO — that company that makes all the fun kitchen equipment that you wish you could afford — when designing the Stashtray, as it’s almost unfairly practical and easy to use.
And the well-polished final result makes it even funnier when the occasionally goofy Davis admits as he finagles a bit of loose pizza cheese into his mouth, “Making something out of nothing is really fucking complicated.”
“Marijuana is causing the new Wild West. It’s going to be a gold rush soon.”
Davis can’t hide the sparkle in his eye as he says this, because he knows I know it’s true.
In the past year, Colorado and Washington have made major headlines because of their success with legalizing marijuana, and more and more states are beginning to fall in place. But Davis is more than happy to watch from the sidelines and sell his wares to a more universal clientele: “I don’t want to get in the weed game itself; I think truthfully there’s a better opportunity here.”
And he might be right.
He’s got wholesalers clamoring to stock his products, he’s got people begging to be middle-man distributors, he’s already selling up to 20% of his products internationally, and most importantly, he understands how this new industry works right now:
“Sure, I’m going to spend some money on marketing, but a good product sells itself in this market. And since people want to shop and buy these kinds of things anonymously, the internet is your best friend. It will judge you truthfully. Because of that, I’ve been really focusing on the customer service aspect. In this industry, people fuck over other people a lot, and I wanted to make sure people knew that wasn’t what Myster was about.”
In fact, it wasn’t until the Reddit community nearly universally embraced Myster that Davis was sure he had a winner. “Reddit validated it,” he says. “When it got positive reviews there, I knew we had something good with this brand.”
And that brand, Myster, is just as important as any of the products for Davis.
He asks me, while I’m mid-bite, to name all the enthusiast brands I could. Between the pizza in my mouth, being put on the spot, and only a casual working knowledge of smoking accessories, only a few words mumbled out of my mouth before Davis interjected, “See? There’s a huge gap in the market! What are the brands that people know? Roor? Maybe a couple little ones? There are no high-end, luxury brand names for this type of stuff.”
That’s where Myster comes in.
“What I’m trying to do with this is the opposite of stoner bullish. The people I’m going after are successful and well put together.. They’re not the classic hippie, live with their parents, not giving a a shit about their life burnouts. We’re talking about successful stoners.”
As he hits his main points, Davis excitedly begins speaking even faster, barely taking the time to wash down his pizza with the beer in his hand that he keeps gesturing with. “I look at who is buying these, and it’s doctors and lawyers. It’s not fringe bullish anymore! Middle class, successful people are smoking, and I think it’s crazy that all these people have to keep it a secret.”
But maybe it won’t be for long.
DC has opened its first medical dispensary, small amounts have been decriminalized, and pro-marijuana voices are being raised louder and louder both on the Hill and off.
It’s like Davis says, “When people ask me what I do, and I tell them I own a smoking accessories company., everyone seems crazy interested in it. Maybe they don’t want to say it to my face, but everyone wants to know more.”
And because BYT knows that April 20th is right around the corner, we struck a deal with Myster. Just enter BYT in the promo code when you checkout and you’ll get 15% off everything on the site, including Stashtray pre-orders.
Who loves you baby?