There has been an increasing interest in hemp products in recent years. If you were around during the 90s, you are likely already familiar with some hemp-based products like body lotions, clothing and bracelets. The product is environmentally-friendly and sustainable. The seeds have health benefits that include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The oils can have anti-aging and hydrating properties on the skin. Despite what you may be thinking, hemp is not illegal and it doesn’t get you high.
I had the chance to interview Jake Browne from The Hemp Box this week. This new subscription box will be launching soon and featuring hemp products. Here’s a look into our Q&A:
Please tell us a bit about The Hemp Box.
There’s a big movement toward hemp-based health right now in the U.S. From skin care to boosting a smoothie, there are a lot of great ways to incorporate hemp products into healthy lifestyles. These items are overwhelmingly environmentally friendly and organic, so people can feel good about treating themselves. Our team hand-picks from not only great national brands, but also cool small businesses we feel meet our standards.
What made you decide to start a subscription box service?
We feel like the whole hemp industry has been stuck in limbo for a while. It’s not marijuana, it doesn’t get you high, but there’s a lot of stigma still surrounding it as a plant. We thought that if we could show people first hand that it works, then we can open up a a real discussion about hemp. A subscription box service seemed like an obvious fit to get a variety of unique and fun items out to consumers that might not be familiar with them otherwise.
How did you choose your subscription niche?
We’re based in Colorado, which kind of has a reputation for all things “cannabis”. Because of that, we’ve been exposed to a lot of different hemp products. I was skeptical at first, but now they’re some of my favorites. We don’t think everyone needs to switch to all hemp everything, but there’s at least one product for everyone. For example, it’s so dry here, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve turned on to The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector.
How will you source the products that will be included each month?
Our team is serious about what products make the box. Each product is quality tested, including laboratory drug tests to ensure it’s legal to ship, and passes our guidelines for packaging requirements. There are so many product partners that have approached us already, it gives us the ability to say “No” when we feel we need to. This is also a quickly expanding industry, so there are great new brands to discover all the time.
What marketing avenues are your using to get the word out?
The biggest asset so far has been social media, talking to not only people who are (obviously) fans of hemp, but also people who are looking for natural products without chemicals you can’t pronounce in them. Our Indiegogo has been another strong avenue for people to connect with us. We’ve been scheduled to do some fun press, as well, with an interview with ABC Australia lined up. They’re big fans of hemp down under!
What was your biggest surprise – good or bad – with your new business?
On the good side? We couldn’t believe how many people wanted to invest in the company from week 1. We set a pretty lofty goal for our crowdfunding phase (500 subscribers) when our launch would have been sustained with only 100. Now, the money isn’t the issue. It’s a huge relief to know we’ll be able to get a box to everyone who committed to helping us.
What would you change if you had to start over?
I don’t think we had a clue all of the different ways people crowdfund. We’d probably want to put out some advance notice, but we took this from concept to crowd in less than 60 days. We’re proud of that fact, but it’s definitely something we’d change.
Where do you see your business five years from now?
Part of the core of a still emerging industry, connecting farmers and entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of hemp products in this country. Ideally, we’d have expansion into the clothing market as well, as hemp fashion is already moving past the necklaces we were all wearing in the 90’s.
Thanks to Jake for the interview! You can sign up for a launch notification on their website. You can also contribute to the IndieGoGo campaign and reserve the first box for just $20. Keep up with Team Hemp Box on Facebook and Twitter.