Five Minutes with Blackwood Hemp

February 09, 2021
Five Minutes with Blackwood Hemp

Made from naturally grown ingredients from their family farm on the Blackwood River in Western Australia, Blackwood Hemp offers a range of natural, organic and vegan, hemp based skin care and grooming items.

We sat down with Leah, the Creative behind Blackwood Hemp, to chat about why “kindness to mother earth” is the founding principle behind the brand and why using hemp products is beneficial for both our skin and the planet. Keep on reading to learn a bit more about Leah and the amazing products at Blackwood Hemp!

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Blackwood Hemp?

Growing up, Mum was always deeply passionate about natural products and making her own skincare and cleaning products to make sure our home was chemical-free. I certainly did not expect to be founding a natural skincare company with Mum and promoting the use of natural alternatives but it’s really important to me now that my lifestyle is simple and real. It’s also built a beautiful mother-daughter bond and helps me feel connected to home and family since moving to Sydney.

Many skincare brands market themselves as organic and many consumers trust the brand image and won’t look at the ingredients, they put on their face every day. It’s been an interesting and unexpected journey learning about sustainable farming and skincare formulation but I truly love being able to create these wonderful products and sharing them.

Mum has always been incredibly passionate about Hemp and natural products and started out making them for friends and family as a hobby that gives her great joy. I initially started helping her to turn these into a product she could sell and now I’ve taken the reigns and end up micro-managing her most of the time which she doesn’t mind.

She’s happy that it’s organically turned out that way because she just wants to grow and make the products because it’s what she loves. It’s really nice to have this partnership with my Mum because since moving to Sydney I do feel a bit disconnected from my family, so it helps me feel grounded to my roots.

In the earlier days, I was playing around with the different ingredients we had from the farm for use on my hair and skin. I was also studying at the time using the University research databases to analyse the emerging scientific studies specifically looking at the benefits of Hemp for skincare due to its high protein, omega and anti-inflammatory properties. I ended up falling down a rabbit hole and soon began designing products from start to finish.

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Can you tell us a bit more about the benefits of using hemp, and how your products are made?

Hemp doesn’t require any pesticides and uses very little water compared with cotton and other plants used in primary production and also helps to restore the earth from ongoing crops that have used chemicals or strip the soil of its minerals.

For skin, hemp seed oil has the highest absorption of any natural oil and is now commonly used as a carrier for other ingredients to deeply penetrate and nourish the dermis layers of the skin.

Hemp oil contains linoleic acid and oleic acid which can’t be produced by the body but have an important role in skin health and anti-ageing especially in the deeper layers of the skin and also act as a barrier to free-radicals and pollution.

It’s also a powerful antioxidant and moderates oil production which controls and prevents acne while it’s anti-inflammatory properties are a therapeutic treatment for anyone who suffers from skin irritations.

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We love your founding principle of “kindness to mother earth”. Why was creating sustainable, eco-friendly skincare products important to you?

Living in Sydney during the bushfires of 2019 also made it front-of-mind for many people but I think consumers often don’t think about the origin of the items they use and how that contributes to carbon emissions. Our farm has suffered droughts in the past and experienced the devastation it can cause to farmers and families when their entire livelihood dries up.

“Kindness to mother earth” is the founding principal at Blackwood Hemp Farm, ensuring sustainable approaches along the entire supply chain from seed to our fellow hemp-lovers with the gift of hemp wellness products.

Over many years exploring alternate sustainable farming and horticulture we experimented with the concept of micro-farming using crops of a broad variety of plants allowing us to cycle different plants through our fields and allowing the earth to regenerate each season.

This micro-farming cycle allows the earth to regenerate and continue to give our plants the best nutrients to harvest outstanding crops each season. With a variety of crops in any one season we’re able to yield only the best of each crop for our hemp-based products infused with hand-made essential oils with scents and flavours inspired by the Australian Bush.

I’ve been working with industry partners to promote sustainable hemp crops because it is one of the most versatile plants that can be used to make nearly any fabric, fibre, food and biofuels. People are become more conscious consumers which is so important. I hope that the government does more to incentivise producers to be growing these types of crops.

What do you believe has been Blackwood Hemp’s biggest success so far?

We’ve been very resourceful in our journey and have always put our grounding principles before profit which is hard to do in a tough economic environment but that’s certainly what I’m most proud of.

It’s meant that we’ve learnt many new skills to keep everything in-house and make sure we don’t compromise on cutting corners or outsource parts of the production. Things take a bit longer for us when developing a new product or sometimes have to compromise between have a product ‘out-of-stock’ to make sure that we have the right packaging from an eco-friendly supplier. It makes it incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, knowing that you have created every aspect from the ground up from literally nothing. I do have to pinch myself sometimes!

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What does the future hold for Blackwood Hemp?

The more I learn the more inspired I am to create a larger range of sustainable products. In the short-term we will be launching our range of Hemp Living products with natural cleaners and products for use in the home.

In the longer term I want to explore manufacturing hemp fabrics here in Australia and the different use of these natural fibres as an alternative to cotton and synthetics because the textile industry is the second biggest contributor to global carbon emissions. I think there is a lot more in our control when it comes to carbon emissions and that’s definitely a focus.

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