With a familiar December chill in the Binghamton air, Just Breathe, Downtown Binghamton’s cannabis lifestyle hub, heralds the holiday season with its anticipated merchandise drop. This month’s drop features a festive crewneck designed by Lauren Walencik, Binghamton University ’23.

Following a successful merch drop in September featuring a Twilight Zone-inspired design and active participation in the LUMA festival, Walencik’s design is Just Breathe’s second merch drop, featuring a nostalgic pin-up girl elf design. Aligned with Just Breathe’s mission, this merch drop intertwines brand promotion with the exhibition of local artistry.

Just Breathe presents cannabis not merely as a product but as a lifestyle that caters to the body, mind and soul.

Olivia Cornwell, Just Breathe’s social media manager and BU ‘23, spoke on Just Breathe’s mission to reflect their ethos in their merchandise designs.

“We like to maintain a fun, relaxed vibe to the brand and try not to take things too [seriously],” Cornwell wrote in an email. “We like to keep that hometown feel without feeling too corporate or disingenuous.”

The brand remains unwavering in its commitment to highlighting the abundance of local artistic talent within the Binghamton area. Just Breathe has a consistent presence in the Binghamton art scene through involvement with the Broome County Arts Council and being a regular stop in the First Friday Art Walk.

Cornwell shared insights into Just Breathe’s brand strategy, emphasizing the significance of incorporating local art.

“In keeping our designs local, not only do we showcase the unique talent Binghamton has to offer, but it also serves as a kind of preservation of legacy,” Cornwell wrote. “We really have a mission to enrich the community we serve and by keeping things ‘in house’ so to speak aligns heavily with those values.”

Walencik, the designated merchandise designer for this month and a seasoned artist, brings a unique perspective to the collaboration. Cornwell shed light on Just Breathe’s decision to partner with Walencik.

“[Walencik’s] work ethic and creative process are amazing, her work has so much heart and personality and she really has a pulse on that vintage vibe we wanted to create for this particular project,” Cornwell wrote. “Her work is so unique because it so clearly has a point of view without compromising aesthetics.”

Walencik’s artistic endeavors reflect a long-held passion for art. Throughout her life, artistic expression has remained her ideal medium to express her feelings and emotions. Walencik spoke on how her emotional connection to art is reflected in her current pieces.

“I always hope that people who view my art are able to feel the heart that goes into everything I make,” Walencik wrote. “I think if I had to describe myself as an ‘artist,’ I would say that above all, I’m just a person seeking to share a little piece of my heart with the world in the best way I know how.”

For her latest design, Walencik drew inspiration from vintage Christmas cards, integrating ideas for elf outfits into the pin-up girl design. Combining self-taught artistry with insights gained from BU graphic design courses, this marks Walencik’s first official merchandise release.

Her design, a collaborative effort with Just Breathe, encapsulates the essence of the holiday season, radiating a whimsical and carefree attitude that the brand aspires to share with the Binghamton community. Walencik expressed her aspiration for audience impressions.

“When people see the merchandise, I hope it gets them feeling a little bit of the laid back, holiday spirit that Just Breathe is hoping to spread throughout the community,” Walencik wrote. “The holidays can be stressful, and I hope that my design can help bring a little bit of levity to the season and get people talking about supporting local businesses this time of year.”

For those interested in staying up to date with Walencik’s future projects and gaining a more comprehensive view of her creative endeavors, she can be found on Instagram @laurenwalencik. Additionally, she is currently updating her website and co-hosts a podcast with her best friend during their free time. More details can be found in her Instagram bio.

As for Just Breathe, Cornwell anticipates a future of continued merchandise drops in partnership with local artists, hoping to expand on their clothing styles and even introduce an entire streetwear line at some point in the foreseeable future. The collaboration between Just Breathe and Walencik not only signifies a remarkable union of artistic talents, but also serves as a testament to the brand’s commitment to fostering and celebrating the vibrant local arts community within Binghamton.