The Genesis of Be Hippy

Their impact is now felt across the country as Be Hippy continues to expand and make its name known. Their story is set to inspire every entrepreneur who dreams of creating a brand driven by passion and watching it grow to take on a life of its own.

Here at Superior Ink, we're privileged to work with some of the best local brands, with Be Hippy as a cult classic. Leigh was kind enough to sit down with us and share her insights on what growth looks like for an entrepreneur, how to pivot with the times, and why each challenge should be seen as an opportunity for growth.

So, if you're an entrepreneur ready to make a dent in the fashion industry with sustainable merch, it’s time to sit up and pay attention. The journey of Be Hippy is not just inspiring; it’s a roadmap filled with valuable lessons on perseverance, innovation, and the power of staying true to your mission.

The Genesis of Be Hippy

Remember the song; “Don’t Worry Be Happy?”, well in 1988 this song became a hit and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks straight. In it, Bobby McFerrin introduced the concept that we all have a choice. We can choose to worry, or we can be happy.

And who doesn’t want to be happy?

Years later, that song became the inspiration for something that not only evoked the feeling of having a choice but also evoked an identity.

Being happy is a given when you are living your best life, when you are living your best life in Colorado listening to the sweet sounds of jam bands…you are being hippy!

With a fun twist of words and a few sketches of the mountains, a brand was born and Be Hippy was brought to life on the back of a bar napkin.

From Initial Spark To Making It Happen

Of course, it wasn’t just as easy as having a groovy saying and some fun design concepts.

As Leigh puts it, “Being an entrepreneur is about hustle”.

When the idea had taken root in their souls, Leigh and Bart had flourishing careers that didn’t have anything to do with apparel.

Leigh was selling real estate and Bart was in finance, both a far cry from the fashion industry.

But despite all the questions surrounding the next steps, they had the most important quality of all for any business owner.


A sense of “we’ll figure this out”.

They loved the lifestyle that the designs represented, and the fact that they were already living the Be Hippy life.

Others needed this too.

So, they started producing merch. But not just any kind of merch just to get it out there…

From the beginning, they wanted to not just represent where the designs came from, but protect the earth that made it possible.

So, they started to produce small batches of high-quality sustainable merch with local print shops, eventually being introduced to Superior Ink.

Of course, once you have a product you need… customers!

Finding A Market While Celebrating A Passion

Where does one find a large crowd of people who embrace the Be Hippy brand and love life enough to show it?

This question sparked an answer that felt like home to both Bart and Leigh.

Music festivals.

Of course, not just any music festivals, ones that they went to for fun long before they had this idea. Jam bands and grass-roots music festivals with openers like Pearl Jam and Widespread Panic were headliners.

Jam bands had been a passion for Bart and Leigh since their college days when they met on their way to a concert.

It was the perfect fit for the Be Hippy brand and soon the couple was on the road forty weeks a year.

Of course, no Hippy brand can be legit without a VW Bus, and in the case of Be Hippy, it’s a handpainted 1968 VW Bus named Bertha.

It was hand painted at a live music festival in the pouring rain, making it a passion project in true Hippy style!

As the years rolled by, and Bertha put on more miles, the couple was on the road more than they were in Colorado. They missed the mountains and everything they represented. Who could blame them?

When Covid 19 hit, music festivals came to a screeching halt. So, after three years on the road, it was time to find new ways to Be Hippy.

Pivoting With Style

Something that came across so clearly in our interview with Leigh is that keeping an open mind has been a foundational piece of Be Hippy’s success.

So many times as entrepreneurs we can get stuck in the loop of how we “pictured” our brand, our journey, or even the end result.

By allowing the brand to grow a personality of its own, Be Hippy was able to pivot into new opportunities.

At one event, a fellow vendor talked about airport Kiosks and asked if Be Hippy was available at the Denver International Airport.

A kiosk? How would that even work?

Leigh and Bart weren’t about to let their pride get in the way of figuring it out.

In time, they launched three Kiosks in the Denver airport.

Be Hippy was getting recognition and going international.

They let the brand do what it needed to do to survive and thrive in the new global economy. By training their team in the backstory of the brand, they brought awareness and created their own demand.

How’s that for pivoting?

Focusing on Sustainability for Long-term Success

When creating a lifestyle brand, brand loyalty is everything. As we talked to Leigh, it was clear that from the beginning they wanted each customer to have a connection to the brand and what it stands for.

A main component of “being a good human”, to snag a saying from one of Be Hippy's most popular designs, is caring about more than just ourselves.

By creating custom apparel, the last thing that Be Hippy wanted was to be a part of the ravages of the fashion industry.

So, from the very beginning, the type of apparel that was chosen was intentional. It’s nice to have shirts that are soft and hoodies that are cozy… and that is what’s possible when you choose high-quality sustainable blanks.

Leigh says she fell in love with Allmade’s story after being introduced to it through Superior Ink. They often receive comments on the texture and softness of the Allmade blanks.

Leigh shared; “ As a company, we know they can cut costs and get items that aren't the same quality but we aren’t willing to do that. It’s very important to have the very soft high-quality t-shirts and hats as opposed to saving a couple of bucks and getting a cheaper line.”

She continues; “Our customers know they are getting the very best, and we want to honor that”.

Recently, they were introduced to Superior Inks's newest partner in blanks, AS Colour.

What were her thoughts? “We just got our first-ever garment from them last week, and it feels great. The print feels so good and it’s a cotton heavier style T-shirt…and we really like it.”

Trying new brands is just one more way that Be Hippy is staying current and true to its grit.

1% For The Planet + Be Hippy

From the start of their company, Bart and Leigh decided they wanted to have a mission they could stand behind. They wanted to be more than just a “hat and T-shirt company”.

To quote Leigh; “ We don't want to add to the problem of fast fashion and just things going into landfills.”

With this worthwhile endeavor, they partnered with 1% For The Planet, an international organization whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual revenue to environmental causes to protect the environment.

Since their induction into the program, Be Hippy has given over $130,000 to grassroots organizations such as Growing Gardens in Boulder, Colorado, and The Arts Campus At Willits (TACAW) in Basalt, Colorado.

Making a difference is important to the mission of Be Hippy. Supporting the planet that supports us, and giving back to the communities that make it possible.

Crafting a Company Culture Where Every Soul Flourishes

As the company celebrates its 10th anniversary in January of 2024, it's clear to see this is just the beginning for Be Hippy.

The overall vibe of the company is happy, with a distinct passion for staying true to the mission. It’s evident that they’ve found the right people for their team, and have been able to maintain that feeling even through changes.

Be Hippy is supported by a strong team of twenty employees, Leigh describes the team as “small but mighty”.

With the structure of the business having some employees working by themselves at airport kiosks, how does Be Hippy maintain its infectiously fun company culture?

Leigh explains; “To create that culture to keep everyone excited to be a part of the brand they need to feel like that they're part of something cool.”

Even though Be Hippy doesn’t have the traditional business model, culture trickles from the top down, with each “Hippy” dancing to the beat of their own drum but matching the rhythm of the overall company.

Although company culture and brand awareness don’t happen overnight, having the awareness of what the mission is makes decisions easier as Be Hippy grows.

Wisdom On The Journey

Although the path hasn’t always been clear, Leigh and Bart's commitment to lifelong learning, combined with their willingness to embrace risk, sets them apart as incredible entrepreneurs. It's their dedication to continuous improvement, however, that truly defines their success.

Leigh shares a unique perspective; “It's just something that we are learning every day. I mean, we literally just jumped in.”

She continues; “We didn't know where or how to buy blanks for hats or t-shirts but thankfully there were people along the way who answered our questions and we found really good people from the beginning and that's how we found Dom (at Superior Ink).”

By partnering with the right suppliers, listening to the guidance of a business coach, and acknowledging the necessity for a business to adapt, Be Hippy has been able to navigate a global pandemic, a change of sales venue, and a volatile economy.

Speaking of their ability to change course midflight, Leigh commented; “Bart and I are like whatever we need to do to pivot to figure out…pivot is my word for 2024 because you just have to be able to recognize when things aren't working or working as well as they were and it's time for a change. And so what does that change look like?”.

The Future of Be Hippy

In true entrepreneur fashion, Bart and Leigh have big plans for Be Hippy and the future of the company.

Getting the right systems in place to craft a unique experience that will build on the success of the airport kiosks.

Adding an automated store to the repertoire of airport offerings is an anticipated addition, complete with the Be Hippy experience.

“The airport is a proven success for Be Hippy. It’s great foot traffic. It’s great exposure for the brand.” Leigh describes; “We’ve talked about a VW bus shaped as an automated store, playing the music we like, really capturing the vibe of Be Hippy.”

As these exciting additions unfold, we ask if Be Hippy sees its partnership with Superior Ink as a part of its future.

Leigh seems surprised at the question, answering;  “We definitely want to grow and we want to grow with them. I mean to me it just seems natural. Right? I mean, we're both Colorado we're again very aligned in our missions and I can't imagine not printing with them.”

We feel the same way. Be Hippy is a part of our ecosystem here at Superior Ink, and as new designs are launched we love being able to facilitate the production of such an impactful brand.

Be Hippy: A Roadmap to Sustainable Success

In wrapping up the tale of Be Hippy's remarkable journey, we're reminded that the essence of entrepreneurship is not just about building a brand; it's about having a mission that resonates with people's deepest values.

Bart and Leigh's adventure from a simple idea to a flourishing lifestyle brand underscores the power of passion, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Their collaboration with us here at Superior Ink highlights the importance of choosing the right partners and showcases how shared values can amplify a brand's impact.

For every entrepreneur dreaming of making a difference, Be Hippy serves as a vibrant blueprint for how to weave passion with purpose, ensuring that every step forward is a step towards a more sustainable and joyful world.

Let their journey inspire you to embark on your own, armed with the belief that with enough grit and heart, you can turn your vision into a reality that not only thrives but also inspires.

And remember, don’t worry…Be Hippy