Hemp Collective – BizCover Customer Spotlight

2020 continues to be a tough year for the Australian small business community. Here at BizCover, we saw our customers struggling to keep their doors open and so did what we could to help defer their insurance payments and continue to keep their livelihoods protected during the pandemic.

We are also using this time to feature some of our customers in the hopes we can get the word out about the awesome work they do and turn some heads their way. We spoke to Maxine and Mike, the co-founders of Hemp Collective, an Australian family business located in clean-green Byron Shire that grows, harvests and makes quality hemp products for a sustainable future. 

To get started can you please give a brief description of your business?

We are Maxine and Mike and we grow our own hemp in rich volcanic soil with organic and sustainable farming practices near our home in the Byron Shire, Australia.   

We use some of the oil from our seeds and only supplement it with Australian grown hemp seed oil to hand make our unique hemp body care products. These include solid shampoo and conditioner bars, hemp soaps, natural pet shampoos and pet balms. 

As a business, it is integral to hold a social and ethical responsibility about how our products and  waste impact our natural environment and  personal health. Having a circular and zero-waste focus on every aspect of our supply chain is integral to creating a happier, healthier world for future generations. ⁠ 

One of the many ways we have achieved this is with our product range. We have created quality natural hemp products using ethically sourced organic plant-derived ingredients. They’re naturally vegan-friendly, contain NO SLS or Parabens and are perfectly housed in a reusable tin. This also helps eliminate plastic waste and decreases our environmental impact by getting rid of plastic bottles. 

Most importantly, we want to be able to build a sense of empowerment and community and provide ethical consumption and cause-related purchasing to our customer base and support hemp production for the future. 

What is your favourite thing about your job?

My passion is educating people about hemp and about how we can feel empowered about our health through the power of nutrition, work life balance and thought processes.  

I love the people side of things when we help others by giving them our time to talk about health and hemp. We don’t make money out of doing this but as an ethical business which isn’t focused on profits, we know that all it takes is an attitude and you will earn the riches that come with kindness.  

What’s your secret to keeping your customers/clients coming back for more?

Our products provide ethical consumption and cause-related purchasing to our customer base and supporting hemp production for the future.  

It’s the personal touches we do for our customers such as how we personally write a note with every order, hand package the products and use compostable mailers and no plastic packaging.  

Our story and our quality products are what our amazing customers keep coming back for. 

How has the business been coping in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 has thrown a little spanner in the works for us but we seem to have picked up on sales again. Because we were already online and sold in 150 stores across Australia, we managed to do okay. 

Social media also used to be a driving factor in our growth but unfortunately Facebook recently decided to disable our account. They have done this to many hemp businesses in America and sadly the same has happened to us here in Australia. By not having Facebook as a marketing tool we lost 50% of our revenue as our customers connected with us on there. Instagram is still going but we are not sure for how long for. 

However, we are optimistic about the future because we think our business can easily diversify into other areas. 

Lastly, what advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Having or loving a product or idea is always great but always start at the end and work backwards. In other words, ingrain yourself in the market by attending industry events and get to know the people in your industry by asking a lot of questions. 

Market research is integral but try not to listen to the noise! Have a plan so that you don’t get pulled into another area and be ready to adapt to change in the times ahead.  

There are many great resources in our region  but we would recommend Sourdough Mentors and Build, Grow, RunThere are also plenty of great government resources online 

Finally, having a good mentor who you can trust is super important and only surround yourself with the people that bring you up and not down.
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