“It was early ’95 that I decided, okay, we’re gonna do a promotional piece and then we’re gonna create a product that never existed,” Greg Herriott, the founder of the Hempola brand, says of his first foray into the world of hemp. “We didn’t exactly know what at the time, but we made the decision to move forward with it.”
Hempola was founded by Herriott as a family owned hemp food product brand, the first of its kind in Canada. In 1993, around the same time that the Canadian government was looking into lifting their ban on hemp, Herriott began researching its uses. This research included legendary hemp activist Jack Herer’s treatise on the subject, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.”
He credits his wife, a physical therapist, with doing a large amount of research on the health and nutrition aspects of hemp.
Herriott obtained some cold-press hemp oil from a source in the U.S. and packaged it up with a pamphlet that told about the health benefits that hemp provided.
At the time, he owned a graphic design business having nothing to do with hemp. “In the design business we would do our own in-house promotional projects at least once a year,” he says.
The marketing campaign that Hempola launched to coincide with the release of the oil made the brand’s first product the talk of the industry.
“The response was phenomenal.” Herriott remembers with pride a periodical called Nutrition Post, which is delivered to every doctor’s office in Canada. The paper had Hempola as a front page story.