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Inspired living

Handcrafted hemp for our future


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Being magazine chats with Maxine and Mike Shea, co-founders of Byron Bay’s Hemp Collective, about growing, harvesting and creating organic hemp products for a sustainable future.

“People often ask us, ‘Why do you use hemp seed oil?’ It has so many benefits for the planet in many ways. Not only does growing hemp absorb CO2 while it grows through natural photosynthesis, which makes it carbon-negative; hemp seed oil is also packed with omega-3 and omega-6 as well as plant-based amino acids, and is high in vitamin A and E to give you a cleansing, repairing and conditioning effect to the skin and hair (it’s a superfood for your hair).” — Maxine Shea, co-founder Hemp Collective

What inspired you to launch your clean-green business, 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 from severe eczema. We realised that 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 and 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 and pet care products; we are also involved in the ongoing education of the misunderstood hemp plant.

What are the health and wellbeing benefits of including hemp seed oil in body and pet care products?

Hemp is a wonder plant that is loaded with many beneficial nutrients. Hemp seed oil (different to CBD oil) is power-packed and highly beneficial when applied to the skin and hair or ingested. Here are some of its benefits:

  • It’s full of vitamins, proteins and essential fatty acids. These nutrients are good for your health but also nourish your hair.
  • It moisturises the scalp and hair by being easily absorbed and preventing water loss.
  • It’s a natural way to keep your hair clean and your scalp healthy. We delicately blend hemp seed oil, coconut oil and other plant-derived ingredients that are safe for you.
  • It contains omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids, which are building blocks for hair growth and restoration.
  • It can help maintain your hair’s natural texture. It can repair and revive dry, damaged and flyaway hair.
  • It’s free from artificial dyes and fragrances, parabens and sulphates (which are commonly found in shampoos from grocery stores and pharmacies).
  • It’s great to naturally nourish and restore the skin and fur of your pet as well.

Please share a bit about your sustainable farming practices and “good-for-the-planet” ethos.

We know there is a real need for people to hold a social and ethical responsibility to the earth, and how businesses can be takers of resources of our natural environment. Our “good-for-the-planet” ethos approach to our farming is very simple: “Feed the soil, not the plant.” By looking after the soil environment and creating a living soil, most plants will respond in a positive way. 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 to build soil biodiversity. Hemp absorbs CO2 while it grows through natural photosynthesis, which makes it carbon-negative.

Sustainable farming practices affect the environment in a positive way, which in turn contributes to our quality of life.

All of your products are 100 per cent Australian made, organic, cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly, and contain no SLS, parabens or microbeads. Why are these qualities important to you as business owners?

Our business is built on conscious, sustainable and ethical principles,
which help our customers to live happier, healthy lives! Hemp Collective was born out of a need to make natural, high-quality Australian hair, body and pet care products because of my own health journey. We apply craftsmanship and quality above over-consumption and standardisation.

Here at Hemp Collective, it is imperative to hold a social and ethical responsibility about how not only our products but also our waste, have an impact on our natural environment and our personal health. So we have a zero-waste focus on every aspect of our supply chain that’s integral to creating a happier, healthier world for future generations. From the seeds we plant to the products stocked on our shelves, Hemp Collective is 100 per cent dedicated to ensuring that every facet of production is conducive to a healthy body, healthy planet and healthy future.

What advice would you give to readers of Being about introducing more hemp products into their lives?

Just do it! Hemp can replace or improve almost everything — from plastic to concrete, cars, shoes, cotton, body care, hair care, skin care and nutrition, and it even improves your health. Hemp could improve the world, as we know it. Don’t get fooled by “green-washing” when it comes to hemp products though … make sure to look for high-quality products. You might pay a little more but you know it will be good for you and the planet!

For more information about Hemp Collective, visit hempcollective.com.au