Interview with Mr Arpit Agrawal – Co-Founder of Hemp Affair
By Behnam ghasemi – Kohan Textile Journal
1. Give us a brief background about yourself and how you started Hemp Affair?
My name is Arpit Agrawal and I am the Co-Founder of Hemp Affair. I have a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a master’s degree in business administration and management. I have over 5 years of experience as a Senior Software Engineer.
It’s interesting to talk about how I started with Hemp Affair because it was simply another day when I was reading an article on an online portal called “your story” about hemp which was a complete eye-opener for me. I had no idea there exists a plant for almost every aspect of our social, environmental, and economic world.
2. Currently, there’s a lot of buzz about sustainability in the textile industry. Why has sustainability become such an important aspect than ever?
All the processes of a textile manufacturing company harm the environment in some way and now is the time when we adapt to sustainable methods to see a happy/green future. Some of the numerous strategies that we have personally chosen to preserve our sustainable environment range from procuring raw materials without fertilisers to applying dyes without chemicals.
The world is evolving so rapidly concerning trends and choices that many of us are overlooking the importance of climate change. In school we are taught about utilising the 3 R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but how far have we understood its importance?
3. How did you get the idea that you want to manufacture fabrics with hemp, and not enter into biofuels or other industrial products?
When we speak about biofuels we need to understand that there are many factors and procedures to consider and not everyone can do it. So it is not as easy to get into that sector as we usually think. There are lab procedures, machine technicalities and in-depth knowledge of science needed to work with biofuels. And I have a masters degree in business administration, so I’m aware of the market trends and how I can cater to them within different market fields.
I also met my co-founder of Hemp Affair during my last job and realised that textile is our strength and we together have end to end solutions from fibre to fabric. The demand for textile products in the market is easily measurable and known. The fact that India ranks second as the textile hub of the world also pushed us into this field. India has outstanding recognition for its handlooms and we felt that this is what we can give out to the world at large!
4. What are the special characteristics of hemp textiles? Why is it a good choice for sustainable fabric lovers?
Hemp textiles have proven to be UV resistant, 3x times stronger than cotton and the strongest and long-lasting fibre ever. The lifespan of hemp fabric is more than 10 years
because it doesn’t degrade as much as other fibres do. It can be blended with all types of natural and synthetic fibres which makes it even more useful. Hemp production doesn’t require many chemicals which helps in increasing its durability.
These are some of the major characteristics which might make you think of an eco-friendly shift.
5. How will you evaluate India’s Hemp Fibre production?
Hemp fibres were used for the production of huge boats, ropes, paper and lamp fuels in the 16th century, however, it was banned due to its famous brother marijuana. But with the increase of climatic change, many scientists have come forward to introduce hemp once again as a very crucial plant.
Looking minutely into the Indian hemp production, the government of India has given legal growing rights to certain states to continue using it for medicinal purposes. However, with the global interest in the economic sector of hemp, India too has started to understand the importance of hemp and increase its production capacity. The evaluation is steady but it definitely is seeing the daylight.
6. As you know, 2020 was a nightmare and the pandemic is still dominating the whole world. How will you define the evaluation of the Indian Textile Industry during this pandemic?
Honestly, before the pandemic occurred, we were just a regular startup struggling our way towards growth. But with the rise of infected covid-19 patients, the lockdown was declared and during the lockdown, more and more people started approaching and demanding us for our product.
It took me by surprise at first but we soon had to buckle up and deliver to everyone! In a year’s time, we are a team of 5 to 20+ members catering to the market demands. So yes business is impacted positively and we are confident in paving our way towards the growth of our company.
It is said that Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I feel 2020 was one of those difficult roads for the textile industry but we have tried our best to utilise these days and there is a beautiful destination waiting for all of us in the near future.
Also, the Indian textile sector has a very strong fight back power and we all will see that it will definitely bounce back with a good trade number along with a very positive approach to growth.
7. What according to you is the reason for the increase in exports of Indian textiles in the previous decade?
India has always been a major supplier of fine quality textiles to the world. With the fulfilment of the demand and supply gap, we have been able to rise above most of the other nations. Looking back a few decades, it is easy to say that the Indian Textile Industrys’ growth has been phenomenal.
Many historic policies and reforms have been made in the past, which have eventually brought us here today to grow our market even more.
The adaption of digitalisation has helped the textile industry to be globally available and has brought the market closer to the manufacturers