Meet Kiva's Edible Homage to the Drag Queen Community
Tropical Punch Camino is a proud labor of love from the Kiva community. Our lead product developer Silva Yaacoubian spearheaded the project to create an edible homage to her LGBTQ+ family, and specifically honor the iconic drag queen community. We sat down with Silva to ask her about the product’s unique development process.
Can you tell us about how the idea of Tropical Punch came about?
Silva: I wish I could say it was my idea but I believe it came from our founders, Scott and Kristi. Back in January we were discussing new launches for the upcoming year, and doing a special project that would give back to the LGBTQ+ community during Pride season was brought up. One of them mentioned partnering with drag queens and I was like “Yasss let’s do this!” You should have seen my face.
How was the development of this product different than other Kiva flavors?
Silva: They kind of let me have free reign with this one! I was brainstorming with our Marketing Director how we could tie Camino flavors to the drag queen community and nightlife. Ok- so what does that entail? You go out to a bar or club, you’re having drinks, you’re dancing with friends, maybe you’re chatting with the hottie you spotted when you first walked through the door. And I think it both hit us that we should do fun cocktails. Once I got that basic direction, I started looking up fruity cocktails for inspiration. With our other Camino flavors, we have more of a landscape design but Tropical Punch is very SF-focused and there are small details you may not initially pick up on first glance. It includes Sutro Tower in the distance, the rainbow crosswalk in the Castro, Hot Cookie, and Twin Peaks bar and restaurant. One side of the street has the Castro Theatre which is home to most of the Peaches Christ productions and the opposite side pays tribute to SoMa and Heklina’s nightclub Oasis. And of course the SF hills are in the background.
How did the collaboration with Heklina and Peaches Christ come about and how involved were they in the development of the product?
Silva: My partner, Sarah, and I are pretty involved in the SF drag scene so when the team said they wanted to honor the SF Bay Area and local drag queens I immediately blurted out the name of Peaches and Heklina- they were a definite given when I thought about legendary SF queens. I was so excited when we were able to solidify the partnership. In my head I was like, “I’m going to become friends with Heklina and Peaches, this is happening.” They collaborated with us in deciding the color and lustre of the gummies as well as the design of the packaging- the figure depicted on it, the locations in the background, and they even gave us their blessing for the fun copy on the back.
What is the message of the product in your opinion?
Silva: To let yourself be fierce, fab, and wild! Drag queens have a decades-long history of activism and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community and we wanted to honor them in a fun, unique way. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots- there are so many other pioneers in the LGBTQ+ activism community I wish we could have honored, but you have to start somewhere.
Can you talk about the Effect of Tropical Punch- Fierce- and how the product is tailored to provide that experience?
Silva: Tropical Punch was formulated with a blend of natural terpenes to provide a highly tailored cannabis edibles experience. We combined accredited terpene research with a lot of consumer feedback to hit upon the product’s formulation, which includes Limonene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool and Pinene terpenes in it. This blend provides a hyper-uplifting, energizing effect that the word ‘Fierce’ nails perfectly.
Were there any concerns about how the product would be received?
Silva: As a lesbian, I wanted to ensure we were appropriately highlighting drag queens without missing the mark. I think we’ve achieved that with our collaboration with Peaches and Heklina.
In your opinion, what did Kiva get right in creating a product for this particular audience?
Silva: We always kept our true focus for this project in mind. We wanted to celebrate Pride in a way where Kiva could give back to the LGBTQ+ community and we’re doing so by donating to charities that Peaches Christ, Heklina, and LA based drag queen Laganja Estranja have chosen- The GLBT Historical Society, Harvey Milk Center For The Arts, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
What has been your friends reaction to the product and experience?
Silva: Everyone loves the concept! They were like “Is this your dream come true?” Umm yes. I think most, if not all of them, really appreciated that we went a step further with our unique collaboration, flavors, and packaging design.
What is your hope for Tropical Punch?
Silva: My hope is for the LGBTQ+ community to have a fun, safe Pride season enjoying this product. And for folks to see that I and the Kiva team wanted to honor the community in a fun, playful way.
What does Pride mean to you, and how will you be celebrating Pride this year?
Silva: To me, Pride is a celebration of love, the freedom to be who I am, and a sense of belonging. We will be celebrating the same as we do every year- an afternoon in Dolores Park with friends nibbling on Kiva goodies (they were a hit last year) and maybe hitting up El Rio for one of their Pride parties.
We hope you enjoyed this peek behind the curtain at the process that went into making our new Tropical Punch Camino gummies. While Tropical Punch is available for a limited time only, Kiva's respect and appreciation for our diverse California community is boundless. To all of our fans, thank you for choosing equality, inclusion and love at every opportunity. And thank you for choosing Kiva.