Cigar boxes have been around for hundreds of years. During that time, they have evolved from very utilitarian to resembling works of art. Some smokers covet the beautiful packaging the cigars come in more than the cigars themselves. Demeatria Powell, the owner of Smokin Lashes, LLC and creator of the original Boxbags, saw the opportunity in creating something beautiful and fashionable for sisters of the leaf.
What Happens to Empty Cigar Boxes?
Cigar boxes, which are often made of cedarwood, have a sturdy design. So, cigar boxes have long been good places to store odds and ends of all sorts. That includes paperwork, baseball cards, photos, and just about anything else. For competitive and aesthetic reasons, cigar boxes have grown more ornate. This only increases the desirability to keep them around the house long after the cigars are gone. In fact, some boxes have even risen to the level of collectibles. eBay has thousands of listings for empty cigar boxes for sale, but that’s not all. Cigar boxes have also been repurposed into completely different items, including guitars and now handbags.
One Sister of the Leaf from Atlanta, Demeatria Powell, has taken cigar boxes to a whole new level. She repurposes them as “Boxbags” or fashion accessories that might replace a purse or handbag. Demeatria has turned Boxbags into a business and developed quite a following. So, Cigar Life Guy caught up with her in the following interview.
Cigar Life Guy: What is a Boxbag?
Demeatria Powell: A Boxbag is a sophisticated version of a woman’s purse made from an authentic cigar box. Like many women’s handbags, Boxbags come in different sizes, styles, and designs. I also designed an Ashbox. It’s basically the male version of Boxbags, but it’s tailored to BOTL.
CLG: How did you start Smokin Lashes? Is there a story behind it?
DP: I started Smokin Lashes LLC in February 2018. It originally focused on makeup and eyelash installation. However, once COVID-19 hit, I had to reinvent my business. I wanted to find a way to capture the growing presence of women in the cigar industry, which has become such an integral part of my life.
I have to give special thanks to my Leaflife Network family, especially two of the owners of Leaflife Lounge (Ellenwood GA) Kelvin Robinson Sr and Calvin Robinson. They encouraged me to use my creative talents and allowed me to utilize the increasing number of cigar boxes on hand at the lounge. That’s how the Boxbag started!
Smokers Like Boxbags from Favorite Brands
CLG: Have certain styles proved to be more popular? What makes a good Boxbag?
DP: I’ve found most of my customers, which are predominately Sisters of the Leaf, like a Boxbag with additional accessories. That might be a scarf, sparkling stones, sequence, beads, or jewelry that makes it stand out. The Boxbag carries a unique design from the handle or strap chosen to the clasp used to open and close it. It also includes custom lining and various decorative flare inside.
The cigar box itself is important. It should be sturdy and eye-catching. The brand of the box is very important to many customers wanting to represent the brand they are loyal to. I’ve started the hashtag #️carrywhatyousmoke on social in response to the desire ladies have to carry their brand as a bag. Simply put, the Boxbag is beautiful inside and out. It’s definitely a conversation starter and compliments the inner “Boss Lady” in all of us.
CLG: How many Boxbags are custom requests vs. premade from inventory? How long do custom orders typically take?
DP: Seventy-five percent of sales come from premade Boxbags. I use my creative talents to ensure each Boxbag is desirable. It typically takes 7-10 days to complete and ship a custom Boxbag.
BoxBags on Social Media
CLG: How do you market your business or how do your customers find you?
DP: With social media at everyone’s fingertips, that is the main source of my marketing. Additionally, I receive customer referrals, which is at least 30% of my new customer orders. It is exciting is to see Boxbags are attracting ladies across age groups. That includes women who do not regularly smoke cigars.
CLG: Where do you get the empty cigar boxes you use as your raw materials?
DP: The popularity of cigar lounges in the Atlanta area has left no shortages of cigar boxes. I travel near and far to collect potential boxes for my creations.
Want to learn more about Smokin Lashes LLC? Reach out through social messaging:
Facebook: Smokin Lashes LLC
Disclosure: From time-to-time, Cigar Life Guy will highlight innovative businesses in the cigar community. This is not an advertisement. Cigar Life Guy is not affiliated with Smoking Lashes LLC. It receives no compensation for any products sold or referred by this article, nor is it responsible for any purchases made.
Photo Credit: Smokin Lashes LLC