Hemp gets Legalized
2019 was a pivotal year for hemp following the federal legalization by the Farm Bill and is where our story began. Marilyn, a student at Oregon State University, learned of the wonders of hemp fiber due to the newly revitalized Hemp Innovation Center on campus. Simultaneously, McKenna was attending San Diego State University was studying environmental science and was involved in practically every sustainability club, project, and internship on campus.
After realizing the performance, health benefits, and eco-friendliness of hemp, we sensed an opportunity to bring something truly revolutionary to the market.
The Birth of Hempress
Being young women who used period and cosmetic products daily, we were aware of the toxicity of traditional products for our bodies and the planet. Most period and personal care products are filled with toxins, synthetic materials, and are a huge contributor to waste pollution containing 4 plastic bags of plastic and taking 500-800 years to decompose. Due to this most products are bulky, artificial feeling, and can cause severe health concerns like toxic shock syndrome. We quickly realized this was an opportunity to create the first-ever hemp-based period and personal care products that could solve all of these pain points. The decision was clear: we had to make a difference in this space, to showcase that products can be healthy, sustainable, and maintain performance, and we could do this through utilizing the benefits of hemp fiber.
Navigating the College Start-Up Journey
Our college start-up journey was marked by constant activity and effort. We engaged in accelerator programs, applied for grants, competed in entrepreneurship competitions, and attended numerous events—all while diligently balancing our academic and work commitments. As time passed, Marilyn graduated and began working full-time at Bank of America, still dedicating evenings and weekends to working on Hempress. Meanwhile, McKenna was navigating her senior year juggling school and work and club commitments.
Raising Our First Round and Confronting Challenges
After nearly two years of bootstrapping, we had both graduated and reached a significant milestone when Hempress became a finalist in the San Diego Angel Conference. Our first round of funding, sourced from friends and family, granted us the opportunity to dive into Hempress full-time. It allowed us to solidify our supply chain and finalize our proprietary product specifications. However, we soon faced the classic start-up hurdle: underestimating our funding requirements. This miscalculation led to delays and mounting legal fees, threatening to undermine our progress.
A Transformative Partnership
Our pivotal moment arrived when we forged a game-changing partnership with our manufacturer. This alliance elevated both our company and product offerings to new heights. With a new round of meticulous refinement and rigorous testing, our long-anticipated launch was finally on the horizon, August 1st 2023.
Hempress is Live!
Today, we are delighted to announce that Hempress is live! Our extraordinary hemp-based period and personal care products are readily available to the world. You can discover our exceptional offerings on our website, Amazon, and at local grocery stores near you.
The Journey has just begun!
Our journey, from college students with a passion for transparency and sustainability to the founders of Hempress, has been a remarkable rollercoaster of growth, learning, and unwavering determination. We extend an open invitation for you to join us on this exhilarating adventure as we continue to innovate, craft sustainable products, and champion transparent practices within the personal care industry. We thank you for being an integral part of our story. Together, we're shaping a brighter, more sustainable future.
Marilyn & McKenna