A conversation with Claire Crunk, health nurse practitioner, founder, and CEO of Trace. As a pioneer 5years in the US hemp fiber agricultural movement, she joins together exciting new practices in healing the earth through hemp and regenerative farming techniques with her knowledge of menstrual healthcare. We talk about fossil fuel-based products, natural fibres, cotton, hemp and maybe the biggest overlooked industry in regeneration: tampons!
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:
Why are fibers so incredibly overlooked when it comes to regenerative agriculture? We always talk about food and sometimes vegetable oil, but we hardly ever talk about fibre. While conventional cotton has an enormously negative impact on the world.
HEMP (NOT THE SMOKABLE VERSION) IS THE IDEAL MATERIAL FOR A TAMPON
According to Claire, today’s customers and administrators understand that their physical health is interconnected with the health of the planet. And younger consumers have wisdom, and there is also a wave of activism and pursuit around where they put their dollars in the market.
”So, it’s really both ends where they hear hemp and tampon, they hear finally a product that’s good for me, that I can trust, and a product that I can trust is good for the environment all wrapped into one. And we’ve seen a desire in this space, tangibly by a shift to reusable methods away from organic cotton tampons, even though reusable methods still have their own issues, and require people to work harder to use them. So there’s enough dissatisfaction with what’s on the market today that people with periods are willing to do more laundry, to sanitize more products, to spend more money upfront, to be inconvenienced, because these generations of buyers are willing to do that in order to live within their values and live within integrity.” – Claire Crunk
HEMP IS A PERFECT CROP TO RESTORE AND HEAL THE SOIL
Some farmers’ ideas are rooted in reconnecting with the land. And understanding that land is the greatest tangible asset in humanity. Investing in soil, in land and using hemp as a tool to do that.
”From an economic standpoint is the same thing. So, investing in soil, investing in land and using hemp as a tool to do that, and restoring soil is a financial investment that has a better value proposition than the year after-year extractive and input purchasing and costs associated with that. So, the ones that are doing really well and hemp fibre, from an economic and profitability perspective, understand that business on making investments here or saving our costs on our water use on our inputs, or improving the yield of our food crops, and looking at the long game of return on that, that said, it’s still expensive to grow hemp.” – Claire Crunk
IT TOOK 5 YEARS TO GET (ALMOST) TO MARKET
For the first two, two and a half years Trace was solely focused on supply chain and fibre production. Fundraising efforts at that time were large-scale manufacturing, and it wasn’t the right time as hemp was new, there was a CBD craze, and there was a lot of irresponsible use of funds by companies that had been over-capitalized in the hemp space that gave hemp investing a black eye. There wasn’t enough knowledge or experience and follow-through on the hemp fibre traction side.
”And there just aren’t a lot of investors with experience there. So, our fundraising so far has been bootstrap, friends and family round, some key angels, and then we recently closed crowdfunding, a regulation CF round. However, the blessing of this taking five years, is that what we envisioned five years ago now is coming to fruition in the minds of the everyday consumer, and investors are understanding that.” – Claire Crunk
”But now that we’re beginning this work to build our own factory, now everything’s starting to click into place, with the way the economy’s going. There are some fear around certain types of investing, looking towards where can we invest in hard assets? Where can we invest in those legacy impact tangibles like land? So now our pitches while we do have our brand and an understanding that the success of the farm, the success of manufacturing depends on the success of the product. So, you can’t invest in one without the other…” – Claire Crunk
OTHER POINTS DISCUSSED
Koen and Claire also talked about:
- What’s going on in the cotton industry today
- There’s no standardization of fibres
- What would Claire do with a billion-dollar investment
- Johannes Quodt on making the first regenerative and biodegradable luxury leather shoe
- Zuzanna Zielińska – Women’s hormonal health starts with regenerative agriculture and the focus on quality and nutrient density food
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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.