ASHEBORO, N.C. — Sore knees and elbows might be the catalyst that reinvigorate the Triad’s diminished textile industry.
In blending what is new with what is old, Asheboro-based hemp processor Founder's Hemp is partnering with Nufabrx, a biomaterials company out of Conover, North Carolina, to create CBD oil-infused activewear.
Hemp Squeeze is a compression sleeve garment infused with CBD oil to deliver relief over time to the joints.
The hemp industry has been on the rise in N.C. since 2018, when legislation allowing for the crop to be grown, harvested and processed for industrial purposes took hold.
Since then, CBD oils, creams, oral drops and even smokeable hemp products have been marketed as a holistic treatment for everything from anxiety to joint pain and inflammation.
“We’re taking a brand new industry –– hemp, and taking an old industry –– textile and we’re using new technology to help rejuvenate textiles in North Carolina,” said Bob Crumley, founder and CEO of Founder’s Hemp .
“I never dreamed, when we first started this three years ago, that our Hemp Squeeze product would be made in Asheboro.”
Founders, through its retail extension, Everything Hemp Store, and its agricultural side, Innovative AgriProducts, is among the state’s largest hemp procurers and the first to be registered in North Carolina.
Despite the prevalence of CBD shops and the adoption of the hemp industry by farmers and even scientists –– the 2019 Piedmont Triad Industrial Hemp Conference was held at Gateway Research Park inside the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering –– there is still a reluctance by some to differentiate between hemp and marijuana.
“We want to get people thinking more about how hemp can be used to help grow other industries,” Crumley said. “Specialty products, like infused textiles found in Hemp Squeeze, are one way to bring quality textile jobs back to the state.”
In October, Asheboro was awarded a $150,000 building reuse grant through the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority to assist Founder’s in expanding its facility.
Contingent upon the funding –– which will support what will likely be a $430,000 total investment –– is that Founder’s add 15 new jobs and retain its current 62 full-time positions in Asheboro.
Nufabrx, meanwhile, is a Seattle-based company that moved its operation to Conover in 2016, seeking a home that “understood the textile industry.”
The company, under the umbrella of Textile-Based Delivery, Inc., is run by founder John Schindler and is now housed in the town’s Manufacturing Solutions Center.
The Nufabrx technology is patented, and deploys the CBD oil extracted from the hemp plant via the fibers of its Nufabrx yarn. The result is 360-degree relief around the afflicted elbow or knee. The products the company manufactures –– delivering vitamin, supplements, medications –– typically endure for more than 25 washes.
“Nufabrx is extremely excited to partner with Founder’s Hemp to launch an entirely new category of CBD infused products,” said Schindler.
“Health Wear is the next generation of clothing, with CBD and other actives built directly into the garment itself.”