Evelyn Campbell has been working full time with the Hemp Company for the last number of years but her friendship with Founder Jim McDonald spans decades. We caught up with Ev to have a chat about her hemp journey to date, the things she is most passionate about when it comes to the industry and where she sees things headed over the coming years.
“I first started working with the Hemp Company in 2004 when Jim was looking for a range to be designed for hemp fabrics that he wanted to make in China. He had a direct link to a factory there, so we travelled over and first visited a fabric factory at the top of a very high mountain. We bought cloth which then was sent to be dyed before delivery to the clothing factory in Jinzjou province. I worked there for two weeks collating our samples for our hemp clothing label ‘BLOW’. We launched this range at the exciting First London Hemp trade show. I came back to work for Jim in 2018 when his expanding hemp business needed some advice on marketing and development.
I’ve known Jim McDonald since the late 70’s. My first job while still studying Fashion at the Grafton Academy, was with Jim’s sisters in their wedding dress business Soft Touch Designs. They saw me selling my designs at the iconic Dandelion Market and offered me a job. That’s where I learned how to manufacture clothing from the cutting table to the rail. I was a good pattern-maker, so Jim and his brother John poached me from Soft Touch to work with them on denim jeans projects. Which of course I loved. That was my grounding in the Fashion Industry and started a reasonable career for me as a designer and manufacturer supplying stores such as GAP and AWear until cheap imports more or less devastated the indigenous Irish rag trade.
My initial thought about hemp was that it was a one trick pony – being clothes – until I heard Jim being interviewed at the London Hemp Fair when he talked of the amazing environmental potentials of the plant and its multiple applications.
At that time the list of plastic products that could be replaced by hemp fibre products was at 25,000 different things including CDs. That figure has been growing ever since, especially when you add the rising interest in hemp for human nutrition and food supplementation. As the optimum source of Essential Fatty Acids, protein and numerous vitamins and minerals, you can then use the left-over stalks for industrial purposes like construction and industrial materials. This wonder plant has everything to offer our planet, struggling for a sustainable future.
Our toughest challenges as an industry come from a great deal of ignorance, played on and preyed on, by the corporate giants of the world. As the world looks to hemp to help both our climate crisis, food sovereignty and human health, petroleum and bigPharma use every insidious strategy they can muster to take advantage and manipulate governments and media, so they inherit ownership of all the financial gains.
True hemp pioneers and advocates understand that the plant has so much to offer us all, having been around for millennia as a resource to both planet and people.
Our ancestors were all over it before the deliberate demonisation of all things hemp in the 1930’s by the petroleum and cotton industries. We have come full circle and now they want to take what they once destroyed in the pursuit of greed and destruction of the planet.
Looking to the future, The Hemp Company of Dublin have been holding the hemp retail space for a long time keeping the light of hemp alive and visible. We have a very strong brand identity, and our customers trust us to source and provide best quality and value.
There are very few original shops around the globe that can claim iconic status and we are proud to be among them.
We also have built a strong team of dedicated people who believe not only in hemp products but in the ethos of community and co-benefits hemp can offer the world. We are just going to get better and better as our industry comes into its own.
When it comes to hemp products, I love our cosmetics and body care, especially the Irish artisan Mother Roots face cream, all made from natural pure ingredients without parabens and sulphates which really are NOT ok for the body. Our Hemp Company CBD range consistently delivers whether it is CBD oil for my overall wellbeing, CBG for keeping me focussed, or Active+ for instant calming impact on my mood. But my favourite thing of all is my hemp and Silk smoking jacket which I wear as a dressing gown and doubles up as evening wear when required!”