Based in the clean-green Byron Shire, Hemp Collective is a family-run business growing, harvesting and handcrafting ethically made hemp products for a sustainable future. At Hemp Collective, their social and environmental responsibility isn’t taken lightly, which means all of their products are vegan-friendly and plastic-free. With a background in waste and resource recovery, the founders of Hemp Collective know first-hand how waste can impact our society, meaning that when it comes to minimising waste they’ve left no stone unturned.
We sat down with Maxine, the founder of Hemp Collective to chat a bit more about how her inspiring personal story led to the creation of Hemp Collective’s natural products. We absolutely loved chatting to Maxine about all things zero-waste, and why the brand has a particular focus on creating a circular economy throughout their supply chain. Keep on reading to learn more about Maxine and the incredible work she is doing with Hemp Collective!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Hemp Collective?
Hemp Collective started from our own need for natural solutions. Nine years ago, our journey began with the birth of our son who suffered severe eczema. We realised the foods and products we ‘thought’ were safe, were actually doing more harm than good.
About the same time, my health began to decline, with chronic headaches, depression, fatigue and hormonal problems, I was diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumour. Western medicine offered more ultimatums than suggestions. Even though they operated, the tumour kept growing. We wanted to investigate other, less toxic options.
In our research, the Hemp plant kept coming up – time and time again. The statistics and clinical research studies were astonishing, including hemp’s medicinal & environmental advantages, but we struggled to understand why the world had turned its back on such an incredible plant.
As our knowledge grew, so did our love for all things Hemp.
We introduced Hemp into our everyday life and decided we wanted to share this versatile plant with others. That’s when Hemp Collective was born. Our business is built on conscious, sustainable and ethical principles which have been well-received by our community. We do more than sell our Hemp hair, Body & Pet Care products, we are involved in the ongoing education of the misunderstood hemp plant.
We love that you are passionate about creating a circular economy and have a zero-waste focus throughout your supply chain. Why is minimising waste important to you and what does it mean for your brand?
Hemp Collective holds a social and ethical responsibility about how our products and our waste impact our natural environment and our personal health. Having a zero-waste focus on every aspect of our supply chain is integral to creating a happier healthier world for future generations.
I have a background in resource recovery, zero waste, sustainability and our environment and building community resilience, so creating a product that is made partly with some of the oil from our home-grown hemp seed (substitute with Australian grown hemp seed oil) and then producing our products with the people's health and the care of the environment in mind just made sense.
We select and make our products with ethically sourced organic plant-derived ingredients, which are naturally vegan-friendly & help our customers reduce plastic waste.
Our packaging is recyclable and printed with soy inks and FSC certified printing & our Shampoo and Conditioners are housed in a reusable tin, which helps eliminate plastic waste and decrease our customer's environmental impact by getting rid of plastic bottles. The best part of all the bars serves a dual purpose as the conditioner bar is perfect for shaving your legs or face, making it a cost-effective product.
Can you tell us a bit more about how your products are sustainably made?
We handcraft all our products right here in Australia in the Byron Shire! We have created quality natural hemp products using ethically sourced organic plant-derived ingredients which applies craftsmanship and quality above over-consumption and standardisation,
Hemp Collective has a circular business model with sustainability threaded through our products and business practices. We have always lived, learned and taught others about sustainability practices and now have the opportunity to incorporate this into our packaging and products.
We produce zero-waste, microbead free & natural hemp hair, body and pet care products -- handcrafted and packaged with No Issue stickers (they are one of few companies that produce compostable stickers!)
We challenge the current throwaway culture & create consumer awareness of the perils of plastic waste, increasing our awareness of environmental issues and the predominant need for physical and mental wellbeing.
The other part is that Hemp is a wonder plant loaded with many beneficial nutrients. Hemp seed oil (different to CBD oil) is power-packed & highly beneficial when applied to the skin & hair or ingested. Not only that by growing hemp organically we work with nature and the natural cycles of the environment. This helps to preserve natural resources such as water and helps build soil biodiversity. Hemp absorbs CO2 while it grows through natural photosynthesis, which makes it carbon-negative.
We also have a zero-waste focus on every aspect of our supply chain integral to creating a happier, healthier world for future generations.
What do you believe has been Hemp Collective’s biggest success so far?
We believe that we have a product and business that has high ethical and sustainable values and we are proud to have been able to maintain these through challenging times. We have stayed true to our values - Supplying quality hemp products to build a sustainable future!
The other success was that we planted the entire 3ha first crop – by hand! (many would have adopted a more time-saving method but he was adamant to have the humbling experience of ‘slow farming'). Step by step in a labour of love, he planted all three hectares with seed.
The plants grew steadily and strongly and before we knew it the plants were thriving. With fertile ground and a healthy, organic ecosystem working with us, we soon were looking at our very first, lush & green hemp plantation.
Harvest was more than both of us could manage alone. Helping hands extended to us from the community: as we harvested our first ever hemp crop, we shared stories and belly laughs with friends, while children ran around freely on the farm.
It is in these moments we became aware that our vision had become actualised. The roots of Hemp Collective extend so much deeper than merely just a business. We are contributing to the future, community and the earth. In our eyes, there is no greater movement in which to be part of.
With the outdated stigma associated with the hemp industry, we feel a sense of social and moral obligation to participate in the education of hemp and its myriad potentialities.
What does the future hold for Hemp Collective?
We are looking to bring out a number of new products over the year with a bit more of a Native Australian feel, as well as supply our products in NEW physical & online stores around Australia and beyond & we will continue to do more than sell our Hemp hair, Body & Pet Care products, we going to create more content around the ongoing education of the misunderstood hemp plant.
We are working on eliminating plastics in our whole business, but in particular in one of our product lines through cleaver packaging design - watch this space we have some exciting things planned for the future.