b.e. happe designs isn’t just the name of a cute and trendy hat company. It’s also the initials of the founder and creator behind the yarn, Brooke Happe. And yes, it’s pronounced [hap-py]!
While she was working full time as a P.T. and expecting their third child, she decided it was time to find something new so she could stay home with her children. She wanted to keep her hands active and strong during this leave, so she took up knitting. One thing lead to another, and soon after, Brooke realized she had something special. A few years later, she and her husband sold their dream home to travel the U.S. with their three children and live a simpler and happe life. On the road, she knits and ships her product around the country!
An Early Start
Being in business in the midwest–Iowa, where it started– was advantageous for Brooke & b.e. happe designs. Her friends and family saw something unique in her hats and encouraged her to start an Etsy shop. This is where she officially began her company. From there, she was able to get a wholesale account with the department store Younkers. In turn, this brought her company the attention and attraction it needed.
Aside from the connection with Younkers, Brooke was also donating hats to children’s hospitals. For every baby or adult hat that was sold, she would donate one to the hospital. As her company gained traction, 1-1 donations became very time consuming.
Not only that, but after a several-day stay in the PICU for her son, she realized how great a need there is for the children’s hospitals wishlists. This can include things like toys, markers, paper, and more. Ultimately, Brooke made the decision to donate 20% of the proceeds from each hat to the hospitals’ wishlists.
Knitting on the Road
With her husband working full time and having little time together on the weekends, the family sold their home in Iowa and Brooke took b.e. happe designs right along with her. The family of five live in their fifth wheel mobile home. This freedom allows them so much: Brooke is able to homeschool her children each day and provide authentic, meaningful experiences. She shared, “We didn’t want to go off the grid, so to speak, so we planned out exactly how much money we would need to have everyday to live on the road. We budget so that we can stay in locations that have amenities–we want to enjoy our time with each other. That was our number one priority–gaining family time together. ”
Expansion Across the U.S.
Eventually, Brooke reached out to her followers on Instagram and began an interview process to help keep up with her growing order demand. She now has six team members located across the U.S. who help her knit the hats for b.e. happe designs. Brooke shared, “I’m looking forward to the time I actually get to meet these people in person. Some of them are interested in making a large demand in a short period of time. Others work based on how much time they want to spend. I let them know what is needed and we go from there. I love that they are able to support their families financially in that way.”
When asked how she keeps up with inventory on the road she said, “Thankfully yarn is really squishy! We have totes in the fifth wheel and I reevaluate what we need each time we head to a new location.” She also shared that one perk, specifically, about having a mobile home, is that if they don’t like the location, it’s easy to pack up and move somewhere new.
Once they reach a new destination, she and her children bring the items from the wishlist to the local children’shospital together. Her children truly enjoy seeing the joy it brings the kids who are there!
The Knitty Gritty
Brooke is balancing it all: running a business, raising a family, traveling the country, and living the simple life. On a regular day, you’ll find Brooke teaching her kids their homeschooling curriculum by day, and once the kids are in bed, she’s knitting, doing the accounting, packaging, or answering emails. She’s spending anywhere from 4-7 hours a night running b.e. happe designs. The Happe clan hits major cities on their journey to enjoy all of the attractions and sites. This also gives Brooke the flexibility to ship and mail product multiple times a week.
She reflected, “This life has allowed us so much time together. I’ve been able to watch my kids’ imaginations grow, watch them enjoy the things they have (because we had to downsize), and gain these authentic experiences. Because we have a mobile home, I’m able to clean in 15 minutes and still have time for all these other things. It has a 1.5 bath and we painted it white. It’s become our home. It is true that less is more!”
In the end, Brooke stated that, “the fact that b.e. happe started because I am a Mom is because this is even possible. I can put my business off to the side on those days when I’m required to be present. It’s still my number one priority. It has turned out to be such a fantastic learning experience for us all.”
Pair one of these slouchy b.e. happe hats with a pair of Resurrected Leather earrings for a great winter look this year! You’ll be happy to hear Brooke has a fantastic promo right now Buy One, Get One 25% off with the code happeholidays! Starts 12:00 AM EST Thursday, Nov. 28-11:59 EST Sunday, Dec. 1.