The Creatives: Cypress Hemp
BLAKE BILGER & KRISTY HEBERT
When the 2018 Federal Farm Bill lifted hemp from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, LSU grads Blake Bilger and Kristy Hebert were ready.
Having founded Cypress Hemp in 2017, the couple released a line of health supplements infused with CBD—the non-addictive, non-psychoactive natural compound found in cannabis that is known to reduce pain and anxiety.
Having served in the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation, Hebert has been working at the forefront of a new hemp boom since a car accident left her needing full pelvic reconstruction surgery. The entrepreneur who spent her youth living on a farm in rural Cut Off was appalled by morphine and sought more holistic forms of pain management as she relearned how to walk. Her research led her to CBD, and she eventually switched her major to biological and agricultural engineering.
Now Bilger and Hebert are regulars at local markets, pop-ups and healthcare events, selling essential oils, salves and roll-ons, and doing their best to dispel decades-old myths about hemp.
“This is a new industry for Louisiana, and it takes a lot of education, but we’ve created exactly what we want, and that’s what motivates us,” Bilger says. “Even our packaging is compostable, and so having the ‘why we do it’ as part of everything we make is what people have responded to. It’s authentic.”
While the Virginia native is more analytical, Hebert is creative and intuitive. She develops the brand and the company’s colorful and informative website with flow charts, third-party lab results, and tabs labeled “Hemp Science” and “Hemp 101” that collectively make what amounts to a large data dump a joy to read.
“This business is a huge, living, breathing art piece,” Hebert says.
This summer, the pair will expand their clothing line and move more into the food industry, selling organic hemp seeds and developing CBD-infused menu items for Sukha Café and other culinary destinations in Baton Rouge.
As the company’s offerings grow fast, the couple has cut their leisure time to almost nothing. And both admit that can take a toll if they aren’t careful. Bilger and Hebert do everything themselves, and such a large undertaking is not one they would have committed to if their relationship was not solid for several years beforehand.
“It really takes obnoxious levels of openness,” Bilger says with a laugh. “But the truth is that being able to work so much and still be happy together because we’re working at something we both really believe in, that is the most beautiful thing.”