Hemprino™, where heritage meets innovation
In this week's episode, Mark catches up with the three co-founders of Hemprino™; Siobhan O'Malley, Paul Ensor and Harriet Bell. As the name suggests, Hemprino™ is a luxurious blend of the two heritage fibres; hemp and merino wool.
The trio met as Kellogg Rural Leadership Scholars and share a huge passion for innovation and challenging the way we operate.
The Hemprino™ journey began in 2018 with a curious question, which was, thanks to funding from AGMARDT, soon followed by a trip to Shanghai to investigate the complexities of Siobhan and Paul's vision.
The research and development phase began abroad, but production delays associated with COVID threatened to halt progress. So, the decision was made to bring all manufacturing and R&D back to New Zealand, where it proudly remains!
As you'll hear in this episode, all three co-founders wear a lot of hats! Aside from trying to get Hemprino™ off the ground, Siobhan O'Malley is a full-time teacher, a share-milker, and a co-founder of the charity Meat the Need. To top it all off, she and her partner have just purchased their first dairy farm!
Paul Ensor is busy running his family farm up the Rakaia Gorge. The property is a bit over 1000ha and runs around 7500 stock units. He is in the process of transitioning their ultra-fine ewes to a poll flock with high fertility genes. As well as being heavily involved in Hemprino™ since its inception, Paul also sits on the board of the NZ merino company.
While on Maternity leave from Farmlands, Harriet Bell jumped at the opportunity to join the Hemprino™ team in June 2021. Since coming on board, Harriet has played a big role in the marketing side of the business, as well as overseeing and fast tracking production throughout the supply chain.
After a long R&D process, the trio have settled on an 80:20 mix of Merino to hemp, and the beauty of this product is that it only gets softer with every wear!
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