Hip on hemp: Kristin Davis

Kristin Davise
Kristin Davis

Kristin Davis’ green lifestyle has its roots back in high school. She could no longer eat the juicy pot roasts her mother had prepared. She called the sight of chicken veins and fatty meat “unbearable,” and decided to be vegetarian. “I’m a strict vegetarian and lazy vegan,” she laughed.

Growing up in the farmlands of Maple Grove, she naturally transitioned into a “green” way of living, and as a fashion designer, her clothes prove it. Davis is hip on hemp, and recently started working full time in her home-based clothing business, Hemp Queen. Davis designs all of the apparel she sells on the Hemp Queen website, at events and in a few boutiques and co-ops.

Designs come easily for her. When she’s exercising on the treadmill, her brain is flooded with ideas. “If I just had time to bust out half the stuff I’m thinking,” she said. Davis wants to design more, so her next step is finding people to help her sew.

Quality fabrics with older qualities appeal to her, and Davis hates good cloth to be wasted. She “treasure hunts” through thrift stores, yard sales and secondhand shops. “I’m a thrifter,” she said. “I call myself the bottom feeder. I like to go and dig.” “Treasure hunting” is just one way Davis finds fabrics. Friends donate jeans, drapes and anything interesting and recyclable. She cuts up old clothing and reuses pockets and zippers. Hemp she buys from a dealer.

Davis dislikes mass consumerism, another reason why her business is focused on recycling. “There are too many products, and things just get left by the wayside,” she said. “Americans have so much, and so many things go unappreciated.”

Davis attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, but her major of fashion and apparel came from sister college the College of St. Catherine. Davis then attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and received her associate’s degree in fashion merchandising management, and completed the apparel design program at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

For the first five years, Davis operated her business part-time as a hobby. She now lives in Becker, Minn., and sells her wares at music festivals and art shows.

Dresses were her specialty this summer, but she makes a wide variety of clothing, as well as accessories and bags. Hemp wedding dresses are on her to-do list, and she said they are becoming more popular. “Because of the green boom, a lot of people are doing their weddings green,” she said. Davis added that hemp has beautiful sheen and drape when processed correctly.

Locating in an area with more opportunity for her business to expand has also been on her mind lately. Oregon, maybe. But for now, she’s focused on her philosophy: Work smarter, not harder. Balancing time and money to make her business profitable has been a challenge and priority. Nothing will happen overnight, she admits, but her passion for design and a green life allow her to joyfully give 100 percent to her work.

“Now that I’m sewing for myself, it’s around the clock and I don’t mind,” she said. “It’s different when your goals are your own.”

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