Islander puts creative, coastal touch on cigar boxes
With Jennifer Nichole Head’s hand-decorated cigar boxes, the smokes aren’t the main attraction.
The boxes aren’t anything like what people usually buy off the shelves. They’re often a brighter, tropical color instead of the standard brown, and they’re covered in seashells, sea glass and sometimes starfish — a nod to Head’s Galveston upbringing.
“It’s definitely a rarity in the industry,” she said. “They’re elegant and masculine at the same time.”
Head grew up surrounded by cigars — her parents own Havana Alley Cigar Shop & Lounge, 201 26th St. in the island’s downtown. She’s now a partner at her parents’ shop, and she also is the U.S. brand ambassador for Toscano, an Italian brand of cigars.
Only in the past year has she combined her experience with cigars with her love for the island. On vacations and in Galveston, she would collect seashells. She eventually put them to use by crafting decorative boxes, but only as a hobby at first, she said.
“I’m an island girl,” she said. “I have all these seashells and I have all these cigar boxes. I was really just playing around with it.”
But people started requesting her boxes, and the business took off from there, she said.
“It just became a niche in the industry that no one had touched,” she said. “It became an arsty side of cigars.”
Head has noticed that cigar boxes aren’t exclusively bought by cigar smokers, and many people use them to hold jewelry or other items, or as centerpieces.
“They’re all unique, individual boxes that I thought are worth something,” she said. “The stands make them a piece of art. You can put them on a table and they pop out.”
The boxes are more popular with women, but men have requested them too, such as for bachelor party gifts, she said.
To date, Head has sold more than 100 boxes, she said. Each box takes about five days to make, in part because the decorations are secured to the box with several coats of a sealant, she said.
“They’re all custom, one of a kind,” she said. “It’s really just something fun for me to do.”
The boxes sell for $20 to $40 on Head’s Etsy page, www.etsy.com/shop/IslandSoulCigarCo