Diana Russo

Hemp Horizons | Email

Where and what did you study and what year did you graduate?
Bachelor of Arts Honours (First class), 2003, James Cook University.

Where did you head after graduating?
I attended university as a mature age student because I wanted to study the environment. My previous work experience had been diverse – hospitality, advertising, and tutoring, as well as taking time off to raise three children.
After exploring environmental science, I completed Honours in English in 2002 and was offered a scholarship to do a PhD. However, at the same time I had the chance to distribute for an environmental company making high quality, organic hemp products.

When did you launch your own business?
In 2002.

What motivated you to start your own business?
I wanted to promote hemp in Australia. I knew that if I could educate the market about the environmental benefits of hemp I could help to create a market in Australia.

How would you describe your business to someone who didn’t know you?
My business revolves around the promotion and education of hemp textile products through ethical and fair trade business practices. At the moment it is mainly a distribution and wholesale business which is transforming into a design and manufacture business.

How would you describe the products you design to someone who hadn’t seen them?
My products are functional and visually appealing natural hemp textile products that draw on the vast amount of creative energy that makes up our community.

What are the most challenging parts of being a designer running a small business?
Finance and being responsible for so many aspects of the business.

What inspires your design projects?
The passion to promote hemp as a preferable alternative to growing cotton in Australia because of its amazing qualities.

What are the next steps for you?
I would like to be able to update the equipment and the production of products that we create. I would also like to employ local people for work outside of the current work opportunities.

Published 14 July 2008.

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