Sustainable fabric and yarn company, Canvaloop prove running a successful Kickstarter campaign can be a start in changing an entire industry
Kickstarter may not be the most obvious place to look for funding but Canvaloop is an example of how it can change everything for an independent brand with a strong idea.
Global warming has meant we have all had to change the way we approach our shopping habits. Although we are much more conscious about plastic use or single-use objects, there are still plenty of hidden environmental horrors in our daily lives. One of the ways we can practise more environmentally friendly shopping is to examine our wardrobes.
Consumers are looking for more alternatives to traditional fabrics such as cotton, creating a new industry that start-ups are prime to provide for.
This is in mind, there has been a rise in the number of companies offering hemp products from underwear and socks to knitwear. But the path to funding in the hemp clothing industry can be tough. One way in which start-ups are avoiding the heartache of funding rounds is to apply directly to the consumer through crowdfunding apps such as Seedrs or Kickstarter.
Canvaloop is a success story when it comes to taking this path.
The company launched their first-ever campaign in December 2020 at the height of lockdown. They decided to start with a line of hemp denim products that came in three colours.
Shreyans Kokra, founder of Canvaloop said: “In December, we concluded our first-ever Kickstarter campaign, Slow, which was our jeans line. They are the world’s first jeans made from the wild-growing cannabis in the Himalayan region. Our team started work on the campaign in April, during the lockdown. Canvaloop is a B2B company creating alternative textile fibres and yarns from bast crops using proprietary technology.”
Their campaign proved to be incredibly successful by raising thousands of the $10,000 proposed. This was raised by 86 backers across 20 different countries who were promised some of the first pairs of denim jeans when the company went into production. It has subsequently paved the way for the company to put more items into production.
Shreyans said: “We started with a blank canvas, a novice team with no direct experience and a beginner product photographer. We managed to raise $14,000 which was funded by 86 backers across 20 countries. Our team at ‘Slow’ had an amazing time running the campaign. Despite the challenges that come with running a successful Kickstarter campaign, we believe that using a crowdfunding campaign is one of the best ways to launch a brand or novel product. It helps to build a strong community for your products.”
So what are the environmental credentials behind using hemp?
The fashion industry is notoriously bad for using a large amount of water. It’s accountable for 20 per cent of all industrial water pollution. When it comes to denim, Levi Jeans claim that it takes more than 3000 litres to make just one pair of their iconic 501s. This breaks down to 49 per cent used in growing cotton to make the denim than a further 45 per cent used by consumers in washing their jeans. The final 6 per cent is consumed during manufacturing.
Hemp offers a way out of all the wastage.
It takes on average 50 per cent less water to grow hemp in comparison to cotton. Hemp is able to bioaccumulate pulling carbon out of the air as it grows to help areas that struggle with pollution. This is why it was planted during the 1990s in areas such a Chernobyl to help decontaminate the soil. It is also a notably durable fabric that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
For their ‘slow’ denim, hemp was an obvious choice for Canvaloop.
Shreyans said: “There are so many materials claiming to be sustainable but hemp stands out. It requires significantly less water to grow, no insecticides or fertilisers of any kind. It rejuvenates the soil that it grows in and probably has the lowest carbon footprint among textile fibre crops. It solves many problems that the fashion industry is infamous for.”
One of the performance benefits includes how naturally antibacterial it is due to the high lignin and pectin content in the fibres. This means it has less odour, reduced chances of skin infection, can withstand multiple wears without washing and has natural anti-UV properties that act as a natural shield for your skin against harmful rays.”
He concluded: “It is also one of the strongest natural fibres and is at least three times more durable than cotton. The porous structure of the hemp fabric means its extremely breathable keeping sweat away. It makes it more comfortable to wear the jeans for long periods of time.”
When it comes to sourcing hemp, Canvaloop turned to Himalayan hemp which grows naturally in the mountain ranges of India and Nepal. It has been growing without interference from humans for over 5,000 years. Natural rainfall is the only source of water the crops receive. The seeds are not sown by anyone either but by nature twice a year. The hemp takes just 90 days to grow in comparison to the 160 days that cotton needs to be ready for harvesting.
As a result, the crop grows faster, can be harvested quicker and has a better turnaround time than traditional fabrics.
Demand for denim will never slow down. It is estimated that on average, women own seven pairs of jeans each while men own six. However we only really wear four of these items on a daily basis. Most fashion houses such as Tommy Hilfiger or Armani moved into the industry making it more commonplace for designers to have a denim line.
As well as water wastage, denim is also responsible for a certain amount of microplastics being released in the environment along with dye spillages which have destroyed drinking water in areas of China.
Chemicals turn up in water sources near denim factories. This includes the synthetic dye needed to make the indigo blue colour. The Xintang river in China is now a permanently dark blue shade as a result of the dye in the water. The factories there produce about 300 million denim items per year.
It’s becoming more difficult to ignore the damage we are doing to the environment when confronted with blue rivers, microplastics and pacific garbage patches. This is why Shreyans wanted to work in something sustainable in order to make a difference.
“I got three degrees in finance by the age of 24 and went to the US for a Masters degree in entrepreneurship. I had a clear plan of starting a fintech venture or working for one. But, as they say, life is what happens when you are busy making plans,” Shreyans said.
“The idea of sustainability stuck with me in the US and I wanted to do something about it. We clearly see air pollution by the burning of fuel and the enormous impact of plastic pollution on the plant and Surat, my hometown is the hub of synthetic textiles.
In 2016, I started on a journey to make the most sustainable textile or fashionable material. This is how our core business of sustainable fibre began. We asked ourselves, what do we love as much as being sustainable? The answer was denim and that’s what started our line.”
It’s not just hemp that the denim is made from but nettles too.
Another sustainable fabric the company works with is Himalayan stinging nettles. Which grow wild in the same area as the hemp. It has similar but not as many benefits as the hemp does including being adaptable to different weathers due to being a hollow fibre and being microbial as well. The quality of the Nettleloop improves with washing.
Other fabrics include Banloop which is extracted from the stem of the banana plant which was considered a waste product prior to this. It is then processed into textile grade fibres and yarns using green technology. The company also use Pineloop which is made from pineapples although this isn’t launching until quarter 1 in January. Pineloop may present as an alternative for silk.
Shreyans said: “We are growing across all segments in both the fibres and our denim brand. We will be expanding our fibre operation in the coming months and also launching the denim line across the globe within the next 60 days. We will also be coming out with interesting denim options including hemp and bamboo blended denim and also a Hemp Yoga Mat.”
Cannaray: “We aim to become the leading medical cannabis player in Europe”
Cannaray recently closed a £10 million funding round to expand its medical cannabis arm.
Cannabis Wealth caught up with Cannaray CEO Scott Macguire to hear about the company’s plans to expand its medical cannabis division following a £10 million funding round earlier this year.
In April this year, Cannaray closed a £10 million funding round that included a significant investment from Channel 4 Ventures. Cannaray believes the investment was a first of its kind in Europe for a major TV broadcaster.
“We were delighted to close on an amount above our initial targets, considering the difficult capital markets,” Cannaray CEO Scott Macguire told Cannabis Wealth.
“It was a great sign of confidence in the company to see existing investors come back in for this round as well as welcoming major new investors such as Channel 4 Ventures. TV advertising has taken Cannaray to new heights, so we’re thrilled to be able to partner with Channel 4 to continue to drive rapid growth of the brand.”
Other participants in the round include Three Bridges Private Capital, Alpha Blue Ocean and a mix of new and follow-on private investors.
Cannaray’s group of companies spans both medical cannabis and CBD wellness brands. Its CBD brand is already well-established in the UK. In the summer of 2021, Cannaray launched the UK’s first major brand campaign for CBD on TV. In addition to a high-performing B2C site, the brand is also stocked on Amazon and in over 1500 retail outlets across the UK including Tesco, Superdrug, ASDA, Waitrose and Harrods.
Now, the company is turning its focus to medical cannabis. The majority of the recent raise will be channelled into Cannaray’s medical division Therismos as it seeks to scale and expand its footprint in Germany and the UK.
“Our aim is to become the leading medical cannabis player in Europe,” Macguire said. “We have significantly strengthened our position over the last year to cover supply, distribution and prescription of cannabis-based medical products (CBMP) across Europe.”
In Germany, Cannaray recently embarked on a “transformational” partnership with Alliance Healthcare Deutschland – a division of Walgreens Boots Alliance – to help establish the brand’s presence in the German market.
The German federal government announced it would be putting plans in motion to legalise adult-use cannabis in November 2021. After a number of delays, Germany’s health minister Karl Lauterbach announced that the legal process for cannabis legalisation would begin this summer.
“[Germany] is the largest CBMP market in Europe and where AHG has a significant footprint,” Macguire added.
“Our medical cannabis division Therismos will be activating the partnership with AHG with the aim of becoming one of the leading providers of CBPM in a market growing at 13 per cent year-on-year.
“Our pipeline plans include product innovation, new presentations [and] galenic forms and novel technologies that will step change a market that is in its creation phase.”
Cannaray is also looking to tap into the medical cannabis sector in the UK. While only 30,000 patients have access to a medical cannabis prescription currently, there is huge potential for growth with an estimated 1.4 million people self-medicating with illicit cannabis, according to YouGov statistics.
The firm will soon be opening a medical cannabis clinic with the help of leading pain specialists in the UK.
“The UK is our second priority since this market represents the greatest growth opportunity in Europe,” Macguire said. “The UK is a small market relative to Germany and even smaller still when compared to North America.
“The prevailing challenge in the UK is the cost of the medication, as the NHS does not cover the cost of the medication. Estimates put the cost per patient per year at over £3,500. There will be a cap on the growth of CBPM in the UK until the NHS covers the cost and GPs are allowed to prescribe.
Macguire said Cannaray is now exploring additional acquisitions in its efforts to position the company as a leader in the European medical cannabis market.
Curaleaf appoints new chief people officer
Tyneeha Rivers will take on the role.
Curaleaf Holdings has appointed Tyneeha Rivers to the role of chief people officer (CPO) – a new position within the company.
Rivers will be taking on the role following the announcement of Matt Darin being named CEO. Darin will be replacing Joe Bayern, who will be launching a new CPG-focused division of the company.
CEO of Curaleaf, Darin, commented: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Tyneeha to join us and I am thrilled to welcome her to my executive leadership team.
“With over twenty years of global Human Resources expertise in senior positions for distinguished organisations, Tyneeha has a proven track record of building winning team cultures that positively impact business results.
“This is a critical focus for us at Curaleaf as we move the company forward. My goal is not only to be the leading global cannabis company, but also the place to be for the most talented, motivated, and passionate team members in the industry, bar none.”
Rivers will lead the Curaleaf’s Human Resources department and help advance strategic HR operations, talent acquisition, talent management, diversity, equity and inclusion, leadership development, training programmes, employee relationship management, compensation and benefits, job design and succession planning.
Rivers stated: “I am honoured to join the Curaleaf team at this exciting time in the company’s evolution and rapid growth.
“Curaleaf has established itself as a leader in the cannabis space, not just in revenue or retail footprint, but in talent and commitment. I look forward to partnering with the entire Curaleaf team to continue focusing on strategic HR operations and the investment in the Company’s people, without whom this exponential growth would not be possible.”
Rivers brings over 20 years of experience in corporate human resources, leading HR for various prominent organisations such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Properties, The Galman Group, Philadelphia 76ers, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Greater Philadelphia YMCA, and most recently, CPO at Curio Wellness.
Rivers currently serves as board president of Second Chance Mission, an organisation established to help survivors of substance abuse, domestic violence, bullying, life-altering illness and other hardships.
Kendra Mark appointed as director of product at Tenacious Labs
Mark has a passion for health and wellness.
Kendra Mark is joining UK-based CBD company Tenacious Labs as its new director of product.
International consumer products group championing emerging plant-based ingredients, including CBD and Psilocybin, Tenacious Labs, has welcomed Mark to its team.
Mark joins Tenacious Labs with industry-leading expertise in new product development, significant experience in the CBD and hemp sector, and a passion for health and wellness.
COO of Tenacious Labs, Susie MacArthur, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Kendra to the Group. With considerable industry experience, both in senior leadership and new product development roles, her expertise will be invaluable as we look to scale up, launch our brands around the world, and become a leading consumer products group globally.
“We believe this is the start of a really exciting period for Tenacious Labs, and we’re pleased to have Kendra join us on our journey.”
Director of product at Tenacious Labs, Mark, commented: “I am hugely excited to join Tenacious Labs, a Group which I have admired for some time.
“Like me, the team have fantastic ambitions to create an industry-leading Group that harnesses the natural power of CBD and other emerging ingredients. I am looking forward to getting stuck in and doing what I love most: creating natural products that support the day-to-day wellbeing of consumers around the world.”
Mark most recently co-founded natureofthings, a wellness brand focusing on natural ingredients, minerals and elements, including hemp. She has also served as VP of product development at Hemp Depot, a specialist hemp wholesaler, and led 2Rise Naturals, a consumer brand specialising in high-quality CBD.
In her role at Tenacious Labs, Kendra will be responsible for creating unique and differentiated products across the Group’s portfolio of brands, such as Press Pause and HOO RAA.
Mark will also work closely with TL Manufacturing — Tenacious Labs’ wholly-owned production facility based out of Colorado, USA — to launch products in new and emerging categories. This will support the group’s broader strategic goal of becoming a leading consumer products group globally.
Kendra, who is based in Arizona, joins Tenacious Labs’ predominantly female management team, which includes its chief operations officer, Susie MacArthur; chief financial officer, Sally Hayes; and head of lifestyle brands, Dawn Fable, at the start of its next growth phase.
In addition to Mark’s role, the Group is also actively hiring for several new roles as it looks to scale up and launch its brands around the world.
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