By Gabrielle Enfield, November 26, 2018
By Gabrielle Enfield, November 26, 2018
It was fall 1994. Ellensburg, Washington. I met Robert Jungmann, who later became my roommate in our college pad, “The Friendship House.” Even then, Rob had a vision the effects using hemp as a textile could have on improving sustainability and industry’s carbon footprint. We proudly wore one of his first products, The Chenga, to our graduation ceremony (see photo below – wow.). Fast forward to today, and Robert’s company, Jungmaven, is recognized for its fashion-forward collection, and its resilient and somewhat controversial fabric. Let’s not forget the visionary founder who is breaking down barriers for hemp to be widely used in manufacturing. It’s exciting to see Rob and Jungmaven branch into home goods, so I thought I’d let you, fair readers, know about this terrific brand on one of the biggest days for online shopping.
Rob and I sat down for a little Q&A to help you get to know more about hemp, and Jungmaven. Hopefully it inspires you to give someone a hemp tee-shirt or cozy up in hemp bedding. Be sure to sign up through the Jungmaven website to get 20% off your orders!
Gabrielle: What inspired you to start Jungmaven?
Robert: I started Jungmaven in 2005, I had been living in Costa Rica for five years and was looking to create the next company that would change the world. I still had some of the Hemp Tees we had made at Manastash Mountain Products back in the 90’s (college days!) and how incredible they had held up in the jungle. I realized the best way to introduce everyone to hemp was to make the greatest tee in the world and in the process get more hemp in the ground. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”― Buckminster Fuller
Gabrielle: What’s your company ethos?
Robert: This planet belongs to everyone, it’s our generation’s responsibility to make decisions that will keep it healthy. It’s why we make products that last a long time and get better with age. It’s why we use hemp — a natural fiber with the potential to change the world. Growing hemp has a positive impact on the environment. It requires no irrigation, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds. A phytoremediation plant, hemp restores balance to environments by cleaning the soil, air and water. Choosing a hemp t-shirt is a small, simple act, but it’s one that benefits people and the planet.
Gabrielle: Break down the misperceptions of hemp and why we should care about it as a sustainable product.
Robert: Hemp is not marijuana, you can’t smoke hemp and get high. Hemp has the potential to mitigate climate change by absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than trees and other plants. Hemp has over 25,000 reported uses. It can make textiles, rope, beauty products, paper, building materials, biofuel, foods and more. It’s one of the world’s oldest crops. Remnants of hemp cloth from 8,000 B.C. were found in Mesopotamia, where it was used to make tunics and sailcloth. And for textiles it’s a natural fiber that thrives almost anywhere, with very little impact to the environment and requires no irrigation, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds. Many hemp-made materials are naturally resistant to mold, mildew and insects.
Gabrielle: Why did you decide to get into housewares/linen?
Robert: We branched out to bedding just over a year ago. My first night sleeping in 100% Hemp Sheets I felt like I was King of the World protected in the most sacred of textiles. It was as if my skin was saying a thousand thank you’s for re-introducing it to an old friend.
Gabrielle: What’s home mean to you?
Robert: Home is everything to me. It’s my energy source, it’s where I recharge, relax, nourish my soul, brainstorm ideas and entertain. I am a minimalist, preferring well lit homes with lots of open space and high ceilings and healthy Feng Shui. The USA needs more hemp homes!
Gabrielle: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Robert: Completely get rid of greed, hate and racial bias in the world.