It’s Hemp, a start-up that is changing people’s mindset around Cannabis. Its Hemp believes Cannabis can transform who we are, how we live, and the way we experience. Its Hemp will help you discover and adopt a lifestyle where everything is made of Hemp.
Incubees: Introduce us to your journey as an Entrepreneur.
Srijan: I have been a creator for as long as I remember. Working on creative ideas with the capacity to create change at a large scale is where I find my true calling. I’ve started and run projects in the fields of design, e-commerce, drop-shipping, digital marketing, event management, & community-based learning. Before Its Hemp, I’ve worked with 40+ organisations as a consultant for various roles. I am actively involved with organisations like TEDxDharamshala, Global Shapers by World Economic Forum, Start-up India Program, and more.
My journey with Its Hemp has been particularly rewarding and equally challenging. Being one of the first people in the country to enter the space, we have had a large empty canvas to work with. From educating thousands of people all over the country about hemp and providing access to much-needed Cannabis medication to hundreds of patients suffering from chronic, neurological, and terminal diseases to helping many new entrepreneurs join the Hemp Industry, Its Hemp has been pivotal in the adoption of legal Hemp and Cannabis products in India.
Incubees: How did you come with the idea of selling Hemp-based products?
Apurva: The versatility of Cannabis has always fascinated us. Being brought up in the Himalayas, we’ve witnessed its varied uses first hand. From building houses to clothing to some really healthy and tasty food items and even medicines, the mountain folks have been using Cannabis for thousands of years.
The final trigger however came in when we were doing a market-research project for an International CBD brand in India. It was then that we realised, India needs a platform to learn about the wonders of this amazing plant and get a chance to adopt hemp products in their daily lives.
Incubees: Since hemp-based products are not legal in India, tell us about the route you took and how?
Srijan: Actually, it is a misconception that Hemp Products are not legal in India. India has always had a positive relation with Cannabis so much so that when International regulations forced the Indian Government to curb the use of Cannabis in 1985, the NDPS Act was created with provisions to allow the industrial, research-based, and medical use of Cannabis/Hemp. As of today, any hemp product manufactured in India without using the flower/bud of the plant is legal given that you source the raw material with proper documentation.
Incubees: Hemp can do wonders if its potential is recognized, what are your thoughts on the legalization of Cannabis?
Apurva: As mentioned earlier, Cannabis has always been legal in India, except for some restrictions on its recreational usage. Decriminalizing the flower of the plant will definitely boost the adoption of Cannabis as a regular use item. However, I believe that the real value would be in government-aided research projects to understand and utilise this amazingly abundant natural resource that we have in India.
Incubees: Tell us about the kind of products you sell and their advantages?
Srijan: “Cannabis has the potential to replace 95% of our daily use consumer products with healthier, earth-friendly alternatives.” I think you would have already heard or read somewhere that Hemp can be used to make 25000 different products. Cannabis is one of the most versatile and useful raw materials that I’ve ever come across.
We sell all kinds of consumer products that are currently being made from hemp. Our product range has 1500+ products covering health and wellness products like CBD, medical cannabis products available to patients on prescription, grooming, and personal care products, eco-friendly paper products, food and nutritional products, sustainable clothing, accessories, trinkets, shoes, and more—all made from different parts of the Hemp plant. In short, anything and everything made from hemp in India is available on Its Hemp.
Incubees: Do you grow the plant by yourself or do you outsource it?
Apurva: No, we currently don’t cultivate the Cannabis plants ourselves. We work with various manufacturers and brands all around the world to bring high-quality Cannabis products to Indian consumers. We are, however, working with the State of Himachal Pradesh to develop a policy around Cannabis and have concrete plans to start cultivating Cannabis in HP for medical and industrial use soon.
Incubees: Tell us about your team and the motivation they have towards the startup.
Srijan: At this moment we have a team of 5 people working at Its hemp and we’re always looking for more people to join us. All of our team members work out of our office in Dharamshala, HP.
I like to believe that the thing that motivates us the most is the amount of love our customers have for us. To be able to help people in dire need with something that can change, and sometimes save, their lives are a crazy strong driving force in itself. The fun part about all this is that, just like me, all of our team members are tea-tootlers. All of us use Cannabis as a wellness product and rarely (if ever) engage in its recreational use. It may sound surprising to a lot of people out there but that’s the magic of Cannabis right, you can choose to adopt it any way that you want without giving in to the taboos and misconceptions that exist out there.
Incubees: Tell us about the branding and marketing of ‘It’s Hemp’?
Srijan: I think I said a very interesting statement in my TEDx talk “Cannabis has the potential to replace 95% of our daily use consumer products with healthier, earth-friendly alternatives. The only thing that it needs in good marketing.”
Through our marketing and branding activities, we aim to humanize hemp and promote its adoption. We play on everything from informative marketing to taboo marketing. Most of our marketing activities are focused on organic and sustainable growth.
Apurva: Our blog is probably the most popular resource for Cannabis-related information in the country. Additionally, we have great word-of-mouth publicity going on with our customers being our primary promoters.
From time to time, we launch crazy and innovative campaigns that boost the adoption of Cannabis and help us reach new customers. Some of our more popular campaigns include hosting a nationwide Secret Santa event where people gifted Hemp products to random strangers; our ‘Ye saal bhaang ke naam’ helped hundreds of people adopt at least 20 Hemp products within a year.
Srijan: We also hosted a wildly popular 420 Quiz in April 2020 to educate 50,000+ people about Hemp within 20 days. Recently, we have partnered with Indian Hemp companies to host a monthly giveaway called ‘The great Indian Cannabis Giveaway’ which receives thousands of entries each month.
Incubees: How do you think Cannabis can transform people’s lives and their experiences?
Apurva: Cannabis can completely transform how people manage their health and bodies. Regular consumption of cannabis’ products helps our body be in a state of homeostasis—the state of ideal physiological and biological processes we need to maintain stability while adjusting to internal and external changes.
Srijan: The compounds present in the cannabis plant help our body maintain, repair, and heal itself. It is also known to be immensely helpful in dealing with physical pain, neurological disorders, skin problems, and various terminal illnesses.
A number of people have been using hemp seed products as a source of their daily nutrition and it definitely qualifies as a superfood. Apart from this, products developed from the cannabis plant are considerably more eco-friendly than the current raw materials being used. The cultivation and processing of Cannabis is a carbon-negative process and requires very less water to grow.
Apurva: So, adoption of a Cannabis-focussed lifestyle is not only healthy for you but also for the environment, and what better place to start your cannabis journey than itshemp.in.
For more details, visit: https://itshemp.in/about/