At just three months old, a new Boise-based online retailer has rallied nearly 10,000 Facebook fans. Its fan base: the idealists among us. The owners of Hippies Hope Shop call their website a “hippie shop” — a place to buy tie-dyed and other hippie-themed gear, with a side of philanthropy.
“Every item sold on our website provides a meal for someone in need through donations to UNICEF,” says co-owner Koby Conrad, a business student at Boise State University who worked as a teller at Idaho Central Credit Union before opening the online store.
The business has three owners. Two of them — Conrad and his girlfriend, Emily Eveland — live in Boise. A third unnamed partner lives on the East Coast. The owners expect to turn a profit by the end of September and to hit $100,000 in revenues in their second year.
“When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor,” Conrad says. “I later changed my mind. Ironic as it sounds, I actually believe I can do more good as an entrepreneur. A doctor is one man and is limited to how many people he can help in a day. As an entrepreneur, the amount of people I can help is limitless.”
The website also includes a “hippie hopes” page where visitors from the U.S. and other countries leave notes stating their hopes for the world.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I took out a small loan for $1,000 and borrowed $5,100 from my parents. Then, I learned how to make a website and how to [do search-engine optimization]. I set up the website, built my social circles and got ranked in Google.
Q: Were there any challenges? How did you meet them?
A: I had a hard time finding a good fulfillment service to help me with shipping my products. I finally succeeded and am now working with Verde Fulfillment in Boise. This was a really good win for us, because we found a fulfillment service that was cheaper than the others, more effective than the others and provided green eco-friendly shipping, which is really important to all of us at the Hippies Hope Shop.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in the next three to five years?
A: I would like to be able to move from giving donations to UNICEF to starting my own separate organization to help feed people. I would also like to start up more online stores to help me with this goal. I would also like to move from merchandise to creating our own brand of clothing and accessories.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448