A Whanganui-based hemp company is on the verge of revealing its latest product range and has big plans for the future.
NZ Hempress is set to release its first cosmetic line in the coming weeks, called Herbeauty.
Company owner Lisa Gadsby is keeping the finer details under wraps for the time being.
"We are about three weeks out from launching a face mask and will be moving onto a couple of other additions to that range," Gadsby said.
"The first range had more of an emphasis on holistic health, whereas this range will be more of aesthetic, like beauty, but done naturally."
NZ Hempress was founded in 2018, after Gadsby discovered the plant and its benefits after going through a personal battle.
"I basically had a bit of a health crash, mentally and physically. A friend of mine put me onto a hemp product that was not on the market. In short, it changed my life.
"It really helped me get my mental health back in check and feel like I could tackle my days a lot better.
"I got stress-induced psoriasis basically, and the hemp healed me within two weeks. That really threw me into learning about the plant. Why is it not everywhere? Why does everyone not know about this?"
Inspired by the impact hemp had on her life, Gadsby began discussions with Nick Thompson, her accountant at the time, and his wife, Tarryn.
"They came on board after having outstanding experiences themselves with friends and family. Taz had a similar background with network marketing and Nick had a strong sense with business, so together we were the perfect fit."
Gadsby and the Thompsons now run the company.
"We are just two Kiwi mums on a mission to educate New Zealand and to free people from mental and physical barriers through hemp.
"We are in our third year now and we are going really strong."
NZ Hempress started its range with hemp oil with terpenes and used that as the base to expand into other products and ways of applying hemp to the body.
"That is our foundation product, and everything we build off that. From there we launched a balm, which is the topical application of that oil. It is very popular; it is making waves at the moment."
NZ Hempress' product range is in more than 200 stores around New Zealand, and they have just done a South Island tour to educate people about the plant and its benefits.
"One of the first stores we were in was Wild Oats on Victoria Ave. The owner, Joe, has just been amazing," Gadsby said.
"It's only just getting started. We go into stores and educate staff so they can deliver the product with education, as opposed to just selling the product. We do have that strong emphasis on being educational."
Gadsby said some ingrained, pre-conceived ideas about the plant had changed in the past three years.
"Paddy Gower bringing out his documentary definitely hit a lot of the older generation. That is obviously marijuana, so a totally different ball game, but just the plant in general being under the cannabis family.
"Then the referendum I think. Hemp is a non-psychoactive plant, it is for everyone from babies to the elderly. It's just really breaking the stigma between the two plants because they look so similar."
Hempress has big plans in the future, including creating a "hemp hub" where they can grow, produce and educate people about hemp and its benefits.
"I've got really big dreams and goals for Whanganui. I love this place, born and raised here. We have so much potential here in terms of location and weather. I want this to be a real hemp hub of New Zealand."