Saturday, July 22nd marked the end of an era in WA State with new marijuana advertising rules coming into effect Sunday, July 23rd. There are several new regulations regarding billboards and advertisements, but we're most upset about the ban on Sign Spinners. We talked to Higher Leaf's infamous Shawn The Sign Spinner to learn a little bit more about his philosophy on the art, his thoughts on safety and what's next for this beloved Higher Leaf icon.
How did you get your start at Higher Leaf?
"After not smoking for a couple of years I decided to get back into it again. I just looked it up online and the first thing that came up was Higher Leaf. I came in and met Gabe and Jake and Betsy. I started being a regular customer from early October 2015 to the end of October when I started working here. I had a real small budget to work with and they always helped me find stuff that they really liked and thought was good. I heard the sign guy had just left the position and one day I just started asking about working here."
How has the physical aspect of spinning for Higher Leaf affected you?
"I'd done customer service my whole life, but I didn't mind doing something to just get in the front door. I commuted here every day on my bike and I just decided to pedal every day, it didn't matter if it was raining or not. It was good transportation and at the same time it was healthy. I love riding my bike. When I started here I was 265 and just over time over the last year and a half I've brought it down about 45 pounds. Just riding and doing the sign thing out there."
Do you have a philosophy for sign spinning?
"Not being like your ordinary sign person that just stands there. I have a real passion for it. I didn't think about it right off the bat, but I have my own technique and my own style. I just wanted the flow of traffic to remain the same and stay safe. At the same time I wanted to incorporate what I wouldn't call fancy, but maybe creative?"
What's unique about your sign spinning style?
"I put the sign behind my back when school buses go by, emergency vehicles, police cars, anything that I can think will have kids in it. I just don't think that would be the right thing to do to flash that in their face. And I can control that, kinda tuck it away, and that's what I choose to do. Not everyone does that and to each their own, but that's what I decided to do.
As for the way I hold my sign, I just try to keep the flow of traffic coming toward me and I have a knack for it. I just wanted to create a few things. Like the waggle. Not so fast so they can't recognize it. If I move my sign faster, they will move faster. The light cycle is my best friend. Whenever I recognize cars or see super friendly people I feel like I need to reach out and get energetic. I sort of tend to gravitate toward smiling and friendly people. It's just contagious what a smile can do. In my two years there hasn't been a single accident during my shift and I'm proud of that."
What are you looking forward to about your move into the store?
"The thing I'm most excited about is seeing the customers I've seen all the time for a split second. Literally people will drive by and I'll have just a second to see them. Lately I've been sitting on the sign just so I can wave and give more hand gestures to more people. People go out of their way and stagger so they can wave at me and feed off my energy. I'm excited to come inside and get a sense of it. I'm excited to help them with their needs inside and share with them some things that I think are fun on our menu. My positive energy that I have outside will continue inside and become a bigger part of the team aspect at Higher Leaf."
What are your favorite products at Higher Leaf?
"I really like Avitas and Heavenly Buds. MK Ultra by Avitas is probably one of my favorite Indicas. For Sativa, I tend to lean toward Golden Pineapple by Phat Panda for its energetic traits. Heavenly's Bruce Banner #3 is my favorite of theirs. I'm also a big fan of the Honey Creek Toke Tour and Joint Packs."
Now you'll know him as Higher Leaf's Security Shawn in Kirkland, but he's quickly on his way to becoming Budtender Shawn. Stop by Higher Leaf Kirkland to say hello to Shawn and let him know what you thought about his sign spinning skills. He has tons of great suggestions on products!