iHemp issue #13 Nov 2020 | Page 16

Hemptastic is one of the oldest hemp companies in NZ

My name is Richard Barge and I am a hemp consultant and entrepreneur .

The hemp journey for me , started in 1994 when I read Jack Herer ’ s book - The Emperor Wears No Clothes .
Hemp became my passion and I made up my mind to become significantly involved in the re-emerging hemp industry .
A group of mates and I started Hemptastic in 1997 and I first joined the NZHIA in 1998 , when I meet Mack McIntosh - the God Father of the NZ hemp industry .
After being the Secretary / Treasurer of the NZHIA since 1998 I became the Chair in July 2019 , when Mack retired after 22 + years of service to the industry .
Hemptastic started with a range of clothing - mandarin collar shirts and vests , in a summer weight hemp cloth . But as Hemptastic was a 100 % hemp 100 % NZ made , we quickly priced ourselves out of the market . Not to mention everyone wanted a different size and colour , so we pivoted and went into hats , bags and wallets which were smaller and had less sizes .