Suppliers of Fine Hemp Products
Hemp Traders was founded on the idea that hemp can guide us towards a sustainable future. We have been supplying hemp fabric and products since 1994. Today we have inventory in stock and require no minimum order to make hemp accessible to all. We envision a future where hemp will be processed locally to meet our needs for building materials, paper, plastics, and textiles.
THE IDEA TO START A HEMP BUSINESS
Lawrence Serbin made the decision to start an environmental business when he graduated from college in 1990. He felt compelled to pursue hemp after reading The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer.
He began his career by volunteering his time at the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp. This was an organization focused on educating the public about the industrial aspects of the hemp plant. Within a year he became the national director. During that time Mr. Serbin made numerous connections within the hemp industry and made the decision to start his business with hemp fabric.
HEMP TRADERS IS BORN
Lawrence Serbin founded Hemp Traders In 1994. At the time, everyone was talking about hemp fabric and how wonderful it would be if we could start using it. Working from a studio apartment and using a small amount of money left to him by his grandfather, Lawrence imported his first 1,000 yards of hemp fabric from China.
The early years were difficult. Most of the textiles were similar to canvas cloth, they were initially lower-quality, and prices were high. There was less interest in sustainability and continued resistance from anti-drug hysteria. But Lawrence persevered by selling hemp from other importers and continuing to promote its advantages.
FIRST TRIP TO CHINA
Lawrence took his first trip to China in 1999 to see firsthand the hemp fiber and textile industry. He wanted to learn more about hemp cultivation as well as locate new suppliers of various hemp products. Since then, he has visited China more than 20 times, and is familiar with the entire process from plant to finished product.
By the early 2000’s, Hemp Traders had increased their product range to include hemp knit fabrics, hemp twine, hemp rope, hemp yarn hemp bast fiber and hurds.
MANUFACTURING PARTICLE BOARD
It had always been a dream of Lawrence’s to find an agricultural substitute for lumber. In 2004 Hemp Traders began manufacturing hemp particle board in China. This became a continuing endeavor where we contracted with six factories over an eight year period to produce our boards. The hemp boards produced were extremely popular, with each batch selling out as soon as they were delivered. Unfortunately this was a time of consolidation in China. Several factories who made the boards for us ended up going out of business right as we were ready to go into full production.
In 2019 Hemp Traders began production of hemp board in the United States. The response was considerable with production orders being placed. The COVID pandemic forced the factory to halt their manufacturing of hemp and focus exclusively on their core business.
INVOLVEMENT IN HEMP ORGANIZATIONS
Hemp Traders has always been active and supportive of the hemp community.
1995: Hemp Traders joined the Hemp Industries Association the first year the organization became active.
2011 - 2018: Lawrence joined the board of the HIA. Lawrence served on the board during a transitional time in the hemp industry as CBD began to take center stage.
2016-2017: Lawrence became president of the HIA. Lawrence successfully updated all the the organizational finances and transformed the HIA nto a modern industry association.
2019: Lawrence formed the California chapter of the Hemp Industries Association.
2017 to 2019: Served as the chair of the California Industrial Hemp Advisory Board. Mr. Serbin helped guide industrial hemp policy with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
MANUFACTURING HEMP TEXTILES IN LOS ANGELES
Hemp Traders has always had customers asking for American made hemp fabrics. Hemp Traders began importing yarns and knitted their own hemp textiles in the Los Angeles area. For the first time U.S. made hemp fabrics were available for commercial sale. The quality of these materials is better than many of the imported fabrics due to using improved machinery.
GROWING HEMP IN CALIFORNIA
Industrial hemp registrations in California first became available in the spring of 2019. For two years, Lawrence gave away several hundred pounds of seed to see how well these fiber varieties would grow. Unfortunately none of the recipients followed through with their sewing or harvesting of their crop.
Lawrence realized that if he wanted information on growing hemp for fiber, he was going to have to \provide the seeds and pay someone specifically to grow and harvest the crop to his specifications.
In 2021, Lawrence teamed up with a farmer in California’s Central Valley and agreed to cultivate industrial fiber hemp. The goal was to conduct experiments on growing hemp to determine how to maximize output and determine actual costs. The results were spectacular. The greatest yield of hemp ever produced were recorded, proving that it is possible for hemp to replace petroleum for synthetic fibers and trees for lumber.
PROCESSING HEMP IN AMERICA
Hemp Traders sees a growing future for the hemp industry. Utilizing modern farming methods, we plan to contract farmers in the United States to grow hemp commercially for fiber and hurd. We will utilize our experience in the industry to increase crop production and value. Markets will open up as costs drop, providing more demand. Once again, hemp will take its place as the premier fiber crop.