Meet the Village Grannies
5 min read
by Team Thinx | January 23, 2019
It’s not new news that women are mostly considered invisible as they age, and everything from how you dress to what you do for a living is supposed to be defined by how many years you’ve spent on the planet. That’s why the existence of Vered and Zviah, 56 and 60 years old respectively, feels like kind of a big deal. They’re the founders and owners of Village Grannies, a smoke shop in the East Village (please visit the site, where you can play dress up with a bong), and they could pretty much care less about the haters.
The shop is kind of like walking into an art gallery, which makes sense given their creative backgrounds. But it’s their shop name and logo—an illustration of their faces—that represents what makes their business unique. Yes, it’s a beautiful space to buy a truly one-of-a-kind pipe, but it’s also a brick and mortar representation of two women rejecting cultural ideas about what “acting our age” should mean (if anything). I chatted with Vered and Zviah about how they got into this line of work, what sparks a career shift in your 50s, and why representing themselves exactly as they are is the foundation of their business.
how did you settle on the name “Village Grannies”?
Vered: Zviah came up with the name which we thought would represent us best. We wanted to create curiosity. Our store is in the East Village which has a young vibe, and we wanted the name [and logo] to reflect our age and gender.
Zviah: I think we really see a response from the customers that come in. Some of them come in because of the sign outside, and the curiosity it brings. Mainly, the idea was: Let’s put who we are and what we are out there, and not hide it. It may give confidence to our customers, and that was the main thing. That’s who we are. We’re not ashamed of it. We’re not ashamed of our age.
It’s a fact.
did you ever think you’d run a smoke shop?
V: Not in our wildest dream, we could never imagine a smoke shop being mainstream.
This must’ve been a significant career change for both of you. What sparked making the leap?
Z: I was a creative director, from my early 20s until we opened the store. I still do some creative directing, but mainly I wanted to shift my career after my kids finished college. I just couldn’t take the 24-hour a day workload. So, you know, I’d been thinking about it for a few years— how to shift, what to do after the kids are all grown up, and all the loans and the college payments were paid off. I wanted to see what I could do in the next stage of life. Vered is a good friend of mine for many years, and we both wanted to shift our careers, so we decided to see what we could do together. And here we are!
so the career shift seems like it was partly circumstantial, but something like this takes courage, no?
Z: It was always in the back of my brain, but also I think being friends—really good, good friends with Vered and trusting her— I think that gave me the confidence to decide: Let’s go together, rather than go it alone.
V: Well, for me, it wasn’t about courage. I think it’s very kind of you to say courage, but for me it was just… my life. I get bored with doing the same thing again, and again, and again. So it came from looking for excitement in my life.
I think many women dream of making a big shift, personally or professionally, at some point in our lives. Any advice you want to offer?
V: My advice is really out there and very clear, and I express it as often as people give me the stage: don’t listen to anybody, only to yourself. Other people are very quick to kill a lot of ideas, for whatever reason. If you’re interested in doing anything — and you’re passionate about it — go for it! The worst that will happen is that it’s not going to work out. But chances are that it will. Be brave, be brave, be brave. Don’t listen to anybody.
Z: And I think passion brings you a long way. If you’re really passionate about something, whatever anybody says — all the negative comments — will just be in the background. For me, if somebody says no, I look at it as: how can I make that a yes?
by Team Thinx