My Story; The birth of Too Loud

It was the year 2010 in the month of February, on a cold afternoon in an Amsterdam coffee shop.

I had just purchased some of the coffee shops finest flowers; I then began to proceed in the ritual of building a spliff (building being the street terminology for rolling your own)

I searched my pockets for some papers, damn! I had run out. Across the bar sat and an elderly gentle man enjoying his roll up, in which I noticed was a tanned colour rather than the white I was used to seeing in the UK.

My curiosity now aroused, I lent across the bar and politely asked this old guy for a few sheets of Rizla (Being from the UK the term Rizla is actually used to define rolling paper itself, no matter the brand in the UK, it’s a Rizla).

The papers he handed me was of a light brown colour and a lot thinner than the usual blues I used.

I asked if I could look at the packet, as the papers intrigued me.

This lightly tanned paper was in packaging of a similar hue, on the front flap read in big red and bold writing Raw!

What a sick name, a perfect definition of the paper themselves, unbleached chemical free no animal by product, these are in fact Raw!!

I had no trouble in rolling my spliff, the hemp gum stuck nicely and as the paper was a lot thinner to what I was used to I was expecting them to be fragile and maybe rip, they didn’t.

Light it up! Instantly I noticed the difference, wow the taste! I could taste every last bit of the herbs, no funny paper taste, no chemical taste over powering and no dryness on the back of my throat.

I had to have my own pack! “Boss man where you get these from, can I get a could more sheets please?”

I got a couple more sheets but amongst the excitement I forgot where he told me I could find them.

I left the coffee shop in pursuit of these new papers; I wasn’t smoking another roll up without a full pack. I could no longer ruin my herbs with the papers of old!

Find them I did!

I found them in one of those overly expensive tourist shops on Dam square.

5 euros for a pack of Rizla! “5 euros!” are you mad? Yes, I am. I had to have this smoking experience again. I told myself it would be worth it, plus you got roach on the packet, which I’d never seen before.

On my return to the UK, the sad stoner that I am all I could think about was finding these papers in Nottingham.

Drawing on the powers of the universe, I found them, not in Nottingham, but in Donnington on the Sunday market.

I spotted the same brown packet with that bold red writing from that coffee shop in Amsterdam, this time on a vendor’s store. He had all sorts of papers and blunts, they didn’t interest me; “how much for the Raw Rizla boss?” (Remember in the UK every brand is a Rizla).

“£1 mate”, that’s more like it I thought. “You know what sell the entire box at 50p a pack?”

He agreed, of course he did I was being ripped off (I wasn’t in the business yet).

The price didn’t matter too much it was a lot cheaper than on Dam square and I knew these weren’t being sold in shops around Nottingham or on my estate.

I thought I had hit the jackpot, I was selling packs at £2-£1.50.

My friends loved them and so did the youngers, it took a while to convince the older guys of the change; they seemed to like that chemical and chlorine taste.

It became tiring and long selling packs individually; I needed to get boxes so I could go direct to shops.

I spoke to a few shops on my estate and they seemed interested, so I went about trying to contact HBI international (the company that owns Raw).

I wanted to be a distributor in the UK, I had no registered business and wasn’t a wholesaler. As you can guess they never returned my emails.

My dreams of being a distributor died very quickly, I never returned to Donnington market and before I knew it Raw was everywhere.

Fast-forward to 2013, I took an interest in Instagram; it opened up a new world for me.

As much as you can get consumed in the memes and half naked women, it was the explosion of the cannabis scene in North America that drew me in and caught my attention.

By picture and video you could see a whole new industry being formed.

The gram made it live; even from the UK we could see it unfolding.

In my mind all I could think is, this is going to happen in the UK, it’s not a matter of if but when, and I wanted in!

But how can I become a part of something that isn’t even happening in the UK (but it was happening here just an unregulated market). I wanted to be involved in a legal capacity.

It became clear what I would do. I thought back to my days selling Raw, they wasn’t interested in me being a distributor. Why not start my own rolling paper brands?

Then came the doubt. Could a young black male from the estates of Nottingham really contemplate such a grand idea and execute it?

Research, research and more research. I spent the next two years and even now still researching the history, the production and the many brands in the rolling paper industry.

I found a lot of U.K brands existed but were confined to the head shops and online space, going to your local corner shop to buy papers doesn’t seem to be going out of fashion. I learnt people still like the personal feel of choosing your papers from a shop shelf.

Corner shops are like a cup of tea deeply embedded in British society. Even with all the big supermarkets corner shops are still plastered all over British housing estates.

Growing up on one of these estates I felt annoyed that there wasn’t more local shops supporting these British brands!

I wanted to make a brand that changed this.

After falling in love with the unbleached paper it was only right I sought them, so the search began.

Raw was a game changer it disrupted what was a stable industry its market leaders

Being the same for decade’s even centuries.

Too Loud hasn’t the history and prestige of some of the brands in the industry, but we have started the idea became a reality, that will be history in itself!

We are a peoples brand made by the people for the people.

Too Loud I hope will be an inspiration. When you purchase a pack I hope it inspires you to want and do more in life to broaden your horizons and place no boundaries

On your dreams! Live Life Loud

All views are personal.

Too loud do not promote or advocate the use of any illegal substances.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

Actually, who are you not to be?

Marianne Williamson