Women's Lib: Laura Uhlir and Amanda Farris
Two women behind a lady-centric head shop in Austin are turning weed culture on its head.
Laura Uhlir and Amanda Farris are no strangers to running beloved small businesses. Uhlir’s women’s clothing and accessory store, Olive, outfits the cutest girls in Austin while Farris’s adored coffee kiosk/trailer, Sister Coffee, operates just down the block. The two women are part of a group of burgeoning female-led businesses in the area that have carved out a much-needed niche for the hip, conscious consumer looking to support businesses led by women like them. It makes sense, then, that Uhlir and Farris’s first joint venture, Catch Tilly, would so squarely hit the nail on the head.
Self-described as a “Head shop for the babe that’s down,” Catch Tilly is a diamond in the rough as far as weed culture goes. It’s a specialty store for and by women, filled with glorious treasures any woman who enjoys smoking would fall head over heels for. And there are plenty of adorable gifts for gals who might not consider themselves regular smokers. A quick peek at Catch Tilly's popular Instagram account showcases gorgeous, swirling, pastel-colored pipes in shapes you’ve never seen, including a truly incredible series of Garfield pipes.
There are cutie, gold, pot leaf earrings, nail decals so cute, your head might explode, and wrapping papers with tiny strawberries all over them. The aesthetic is carefully curated to feel bright, colorful, and decidedly inclusive, thanks to plenty of pics of crushes like Drake and the Broad City gals. Also, look out for Farris’s celebrity pug Keanu Reeves, who poses jauntily alongside all the smoking gear.
We’re just trying to fill the void from sad head shops everywhere.
Recently, The Kind chatted with Farris and Uhlir from their Austin store to talk about their new venture, how it’s being received, and how to say no to the Rasta pipe.
THE KIND: How did Catch Tilly happen?
Amanda: I first thought about it a couple of years ago and was just really bummed that it didn't exist. I wasn’t really thinking that I would start it or anything, but kept thinking, There doesn’t really seem to be a head shop that I can go to where I can get all of the pretty things that I want, but where I don’t feel like I’ve made bad life choices that brought me to this point. I like smoking and I don’t wanna feel really creepy about it. So, I kept saying, every couple of months, “Oh, this should totally exist! This should totally exist! Why doesn’t this exist?!” Finally someone was like “Hey, you know what, this is a good idea. Start it!” There was a little pop-up and an online shop. Laura was really excited and supportive, and it was super natural that she came on and then we opened up the shop!
Laura: It happened really organically [and] sort of just fell into place. A unit opened up in my building where Olive is. It was open for a couple of months and people kept asking me about it, like if I knew what was gonna go in and what was gonna happen with it. Amanda had just done a Catch Tilly pop-up at Olive, and I just had a light bulb moment and was like, Oh my gosh! You should rent it! Let’s do it! So we just did. We’re just trying to fill the void from sad head shops everywhere.
THE KIND: The merchandise is so specific and cool, particularly those Garfield pipes! Where are you guys sourcing the merchandise you sell? And are they mostly local designers?
Laura: It’s a mix. It’s a half and half I’d say. I’d say previous connections have helped. I had some designers that I used to sell at Olive that are now at Catch Tilly, but we get a lot of love just through Instagram and the Internet. People find us, and they’re like, “Look what we make! Do you want it?” and we’re just so excited to say, “Yes!” to all these people.
You got a fancy coffee, you got a fancy dress—go get a fancy pipe! You deserve it.
Amanda: Definitely. So many people have come out of the woodwork.
Laura: Yeah it's all coming to us now, which is nice. The Garfield pipes came to us through Instagram. We love those pipes. How are you not insanely happy when you’re holding that thing? We’ve got a couple of the classic head shop-y things too; you gotta have some papers and that kind of stuff.
THE KIND: What is the response like from customers who come into the shop?
Amanda: People are so excited. I’ve had so many people come in who say, “Thank you for opening! Thank you. We are so grateful and we are so excited.” Which is a very weird response and very welcome!
Laura: I work at Olive all the time and just generally, you don’t get thanked for having a store, but people are very appreciative. There was a need for it.
THE KIND: It feels like there’s a sea change taking place right now as far as women and weed are concerned and you guys really have your finger on the pulse.
Laura: Yeah, I think this was something that was really important to both Amanda and I—to put out into the world that you can smoke weed and be a functioning, creative, smart person. You don’t have to be a burner stoner lying on your couch all day eating pizza. Granted, that’s very fun sometimes, but it’s all about incorporating this into your life in a, maybe “responsible” is not the right word, but in a responsible way.
Amanda: Yeah! It doesn’t need to dictate your style. You can be you.
Laura: You can dictate its style!
Amanda: Exactly! You can like everything you would already like, and you don’t need to settle for something that isn’t something that you like. You don’t have to buy a piece to smoke that is ugly and gross and weird. No, you can like every single part of it. You can want to participate in every part of it.
Laura: And you can support small business and small makers. It can be a nice experience, just like everything else in your life. You got a fancy coffee, you got a fancy dress—go get a fancy pipe! You deserve it.
THE KIND: It’s so fabulous that Catch Tilly is specifically for women. Was that a big conversation between you two or more because it was built as an extension of a women’s retail store (Olive)?
Laura: It was super important. It was intentional. In my experience, going to head shops, they always kind of give you the “You don’t belong here,” “You don’t know what you’re doing,” “Can I help you, miss? Are you lost?” And you’re like, “Nope! I know what I’m doing.”
Amanda: “Where’s your boyfriend?”
Laura: “Are you buying something for him?” “No, I smoke weed, too. It’s ok.” So, we wanted to really make a space that felt comfortable for women to come shop in, for sure.
Amanda: Yeah, I mean, look at our logo.
Laura: Yeah, our logo is the lady lips! For sure.
THE KIND: It’s also amazing to see these gorgeous pipes that are in pastels and color combinations you’ve never seen. What a realization that other aesthetics are possible.
Laura: That’s because all head shops buy from like five companies! It’s all the same thing at all of them, literally, because they’re all the same source. We’re trying really hard to go outside of those sources. We send back stuff all the time, like guys, please no more!
Each week "Women's Lib" checks in with amazing ladies and we make them fill out a feminist Mad Lib.