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New hat label Goodlids hope to mobilise the hemp movement in New Zealand

For too long, hemp and marijuana have been considered the same thing: green plant that gets you high. In actual fact, they are completely different.

Although cousins, the primary difference separating the two is the percentage of THC they contain, which is the psychoactive ingredient that gets people high. As hemp holds less than 0.3 percent of THC, it’s not classified as a drug and should not be referred to as marijuana. In other words, there’s no family resemblance.

Unknown to some, hemp is the strongest natural fibre in the world and has more than 50,000 different uses. It has the potential to replace black oil and carbon fibre, and unlike concrete and plastic, hemp is carbon sequential and reduces greenhouse gases. Used for food, rope, clothing, housing material and more, hemp is beneficial for both the environment and the economy.

Someone who is making the most out of hemp’s abilities is Goodlids founder Dane Watson.

After leaving university, Watson entered the world of marketing through a role at Vista Drinks, a Kiwi beverage company started up by three young males. Admiring the passion and the work that drove the company to success, Watson developed his sustainable lifestyle brand Goodlids.

Providing Kiwis with groovy hats and caps, Goodlids uses hemp as their source of textile, which offers both functional and sustainable properties. Similar to merino, hemp is anti-microbial, highly breathable and due to its strong fibre, it wears in, not out. Watson says Goodlids has no reference to cannabis culture.

“We are purely focusing on the sustainable features of the crop, trying to make hemp mainstream.”

The primary focus behind the headwear label was to help mobilise the hemp industry within New Zealand and reduce the negative stigma surrounding cannabis species. To enforce this, the process of branding and design was extremely important to Watson and the team.

“An issue that we feel that other hemp clothing brands have, is that their branding is very in your face with reference to marijuana culture,” he says.

With the help of designer Sam Baker, Goodlids products were brought to life through quirky designs that focus on the sustainable purpose of the label and not the cannabis plant itself.

“We felt that there was a definite need to move away from that kind of branding with hemp, to help capture a more mainstream market.”

Creating hemp hats has been a simple process for Goodlids so far, however, as the hemp industry is in its infancy in New Zealand, the team has limited options to process hemp fibres.

Dane Watson.

“Everything has gone really smoothly in these first few months of launch and validation. The big challenges lie ahead.”

Following the sustainable trend, Watson also hopes Goodlids can lead to better purchasing decisions for the planet.

“Pollution and climate change are some of, if not the biggest issues of our generation. If we make better products for the planet, we are handing back the power to the consumer to decide our future.”

Looking forward, Watson plans to diversify the Goodlids product range for winter and increase the distribution throughout the country. As they prepare to launch into an overseas market, the team hopes to pioneer a movement from New Zealand and create demand for hemp products globally.

“I think we can do it, and that the world will be a better place because of Goodlids.”

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