BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO
Shopping and supporting local is something we feel is so very important in our community. When we first met Leigh and Bart of Be Hippy at Firefly Handmade we fell in love with their kind messaging. All Be Hippy goods are designed in Colorado, and these two makers live in Wash Park, so you can’t get much more local than that. We were so excited when they decided to open a brick and mortar space on S. Broadway, so now we don’t have to follow them around like the Grateful Dead when we want to gift someone with a Be Hippy hat or sticker. Their shop is full of light, and love. Inspired by their love for taking the road less traveled, their unique, high quality apparel and goods act as a reminder to choose happiness.
1. Let’s start at the beginning, tell us how be hippy began.
We love music festivals! To be outdoors with like-minded, music-loving folks is such a REAL experience. It was in August 2013, early morning in a Colorado campground. We were having coffee, walking and talking. Discussing our current situation and contemplating the idea.. HOW CAN WE MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE?… HOW CAN WE CHANGE THE WORLD? WHAT’S OUR PURPOSE?… That’s where BE HIPPY originated. Simply a play on BE HAPPY! It’s truly amazing the impact those two words have on people… BE HIPPY is movement! It’s about having a positive impact, creating positive change, enjoying life and doing the things that make you happy. And the world can use a little more happiness (HIPPINESS)…
Shortly after introducing the brand in January 2014, we quit our day jobs and hit the road. For 4 years we sold our goods at music festivals, farmers markets, house parties and street corners. It has been an amazing journey. The people and the experiences along the way have helped shape BE HIPPY into what it is today. We partnered with 1% for the planet because we want to have a positive impact! We truly want to change the world. After introducing the brand, we partnered with 1% for the planet. Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia Founder) started 1% and is one of the most respected environmentalists on the planet. We are huge fans and want to touch the world in very similar ways. BE HIPPY gives 1% of gross sales to grassroots environmental organizations.
3. How do you come up with your designs?
We are inspired by music and the outdoors. The two things that drive most of our decisions, as they relate to BE HIPPY designs, are music and the environment. Also, our 1968 VW Bus (named Bertha) has definitely inspired some of the BE HIPPY designs. It’s about evoking emotion, most importantly, positive emotions. Things that make us smile and designs that inspire us to think… maybe differently than we thought before! WE hope our designs inspire positive change.
It’s amazing the impact a few words can have… “Make America HIPPY Again” is a powerful, positive statement. It’s a very exciting time to be alive. Many of us are a bit exhausted by the left, right… up, down… my side is better than your side political grand standing nonsense! We are all humans. Maybe designs like this one will help to spark positive change. Yes, it has been one of our top sellers for almost three years.
5. We love your passion for the outdoors and appreciate your gypsy souls. What are your favorite places to travel? Any “must-see” places in Colorado that we may not already know about?
It was September 2013 at the New Sheridan Bar, in Telluride, where we started seriously discussing the potential and the ultimate future for the brand. Telluride holds a special place in our heart. All music festivals in Telluride are a must! Folks Festival & Rocky Grass in Lyons are absolutely amazing. The MISHAWAKA located in the Poudre River Canyon is such a unique music venue, plus great rafting and backcountry hiking. We are so thankful to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
6. You are both passionate about music, if you were stranded on a dessert island, what three albums would you have to have with you?
These types of questions are so difficult… but anything by Jerry Garcia, Widespread Panic or Van Morrison.
7. How long have you been in Wash Park and how did you land here?
About 8 years… because it’s the most beautiful park & neighborhood in the city!
8. Denver is a thriving state for entrepreneurs, what about our city inspires you?
Most people want to be here (in Colorado). For the most part, people are open-minded, love to be outdoors and are environmentally conscious. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving. There is an incredible energy here! Colorado is the center of change in this country. We feel extremely fortunate to be living right in the middle of it all. It’s an exciting time to be alive. Denver, Colorado is the first place we have ever felt like we truly belonged.
Spinster Sisters, CLP Jewelry, Smart Cookie Barkery, Baba & Pop’s Pierogis, Denver Beer Company, EcoVessel, EcoEnclose, Kastlfel, Topo Design, Climax Jerky, Cervantes Masterpiece, Adelitas, Cream City Market and Sanchos Broken Arrow. Denver has so many amazing small businesses that we love to support!
10. What can we expect from Be Hippy in the future?
Our goal to become a more positive and productive piece of the Colorado fabric, a destination. So BE HIPPy will continue to be an active participant in this amazing marketplace. A more sustainable, mindful line of goods with a message that evokes emotion and hopefully a SMILE! There can never be too much happy or too many smiling faces. BE HIPPY… BE HAPPY!
Thank you, Leigh and Bart, for giving us a glimpse into your journey. We are once again inspired by our neighbors and their efforts for positive change. So if you’re looking for good vibes, go visit them at 1462 S. Broadway St.!