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The Merry Hempsters – web business review

Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

Just this week, I made a wonderful discovery at my local Whole Foods market. It’s been an incredibly hot summer in northern California, and chapped lips had become a way of life for me over the past few months.
The problem – all of the lip balms out there have beeswax in them; a no-no for vegans like us. Imagine my delight while weeding, once more, through the lip balm section and locating the Vegan Hemp Lip Balm manufactured by The Merry Hempsters.

A Minor Miracle

The fact is, this was not an unknown product for me. I had first used it about 5 years ago, and want to share a little story about that. I love to cook, and have a penchant for burning myself in the process. I gave myself a serious burn on my lower arm while pulling a pan off the oven rack. The burn simply would not heal, even after weeks had gone by. It was a weeping, burning wound. Then, one day, I decided to put some of my Merry Hempsters lip balm on the burn, and I am completely serious when I say that in 3 days, the burn had diminished to a dull discoloration that no longer hurt. I continued to apply the balm, and after about a week, the burn had utterly disappeared, leaving no scar. That was when I became aware of the healing properties of hemp oil, and I was really unhappy when this product disappeared from the market shelves at my local grocery stores.

Fortunately, it’s made a reappearance, and I’ve got the Peppermint Vegan Hemp Balm sitting right here next to my computer. It’s already helped my chapped lips a great deal and I’m just delighted to think I can benefit from this great product once again.

My take on the website

The Merry Hempsters is located in Eugene, Oregon. View their website. From an SEO standpoint, I’d like to see them change their navigation menu to HTML for greater search engine friendliness, and from a marketing standpoint, I’d like to see them move their branding away from tattooed people to more average folks. The fact is that ‘hemp’ continues to connote ‘drugs’ to many people, despite the fact that hemp plants do not contain the psychoactive properties of the plants sold as marijuana in the drug trade. I’d like to see this company promote the fact that hemp oil is a powerful medicine for healing hurt skin. At present, the rotating gifs on their site strike me as appealing to a culture that thinks it’s ‘cool’ to use something from the controversial cannabis family of plants, rather than appealing to people like me who are looking for natural methods of treating our aches and pains. After all, people whose lives revolve around the ‘coolness’ of marijuana are unlikely to have the stable buying power of the drug-free sector of the public, and I do believe that by taking a more mainstream approach, The Merry Hempsters’ line of products would have more appeal to the middle/upper class folks who shop at Whole Foods, rather than the druggies who patronize smoke shops (the company vends at both types of businesses). For those of us who view the drug-related use of marijuana as a terrible killer of the self-esteem, and ambition of young people, there’s simply nothing nifty about it.

If I were to manufacture hemp-based products, I’d be tempted to target my graphics/branding toward an American Colonial feeling. After all, our forefathers grew the hemp plant for many reasons including the making of incredibly strong rope. I know that I am instantly drawn to products that have that ‘back to the basics/natural” approach, and this would be my take on marketing hemp to a public that’s really looking for a useful medicinal item, not a ‘cool’ one.

How does Google rank The Merry Hempsters?

‘Hemp Lip Balm’ – Not in Top 30
‘Vegan Lip Balm’ – Not in Top 30
‘Hemp Balm’ – #9

So, they are coming up for a very specific search, but I would never think of looking of for them this way. If I was their webmaster, I’d be changing that nav. menu, and really starting to boost the content of the site. They are offering a really good thing here, and I would like more people to know about this small business, because of my great experience with their product.

Do you use any of The Merry Hempster’s products? What’s your opinion?