When Ruff Hippie owner Becky Talerico moved to Bend from Washington with her husband and three children, she wanted a hobby she could do at home to make some extra money. She was inspired to start making dog bandanas by her own love of animals and the sheer number of dogs she met out and about in her new home. She knew she could start an Etsy store and run it from home while caring for her family, and after months of experimentation, Ruff Hippie was born in 2018.
Ruff Hippie buys all the fabric for each line of their bandanas at once, taking care to choose beautiful, quality fabrics that match the season. Once all the fabric has been used and the bandanas are shipped to stores or customers, Becky looks for new fabrics for the next season. The result is small runs of bandanas that constantly change, so Ruff Hippie fans know to buy a favorite design when they first see it.
During her frequent trips to the lakes and waterways of Bend, Becky noticed that dog owners sometimes had difficulty managing traditional bandanas on their dogs. This was especially true if the dogs jumped in the water with their bandanas still on—all of that wet fabric was difficult to untie! This was the inspiration for Ruff Hippie’s innovative snap closure, which not only allows for easy use and sizing flexibility, it’s also a helpful safety feature—if the bandana snags on anything, the snap will pull open more easily than a tight double knot.
Quality is a cornerstone of the Ruff Hippie brand. From the way Becky sources her fabric to her process for hand-dyeing her leather tags, Ruff Hippie invests in the small details that create excellent products. Becky spent three months perfecting her bandanas by sending different cuts and styles to friends and family for testing. Taking their feedback and suggestions into account paid off— within the first week of opening her Esty shop Becky had over 100 orders. Since launching Ruff Hippie, Becky has worked hard to produce as little waste as possible, even using fabric scraps to fill a homemade dog bed until she perfected her cutting process.
As Ruff Hippie’s success grew, Becky looked for retail partners who had the same focus on quality that she did. That’s why, she explained, Mud Bay was the first retailer she approached about stocking her bandanas. Although she initially proposed offering Ruff Hippie products at only our Bend, Oregon, stores, we’ve worked together to ensure her handmade products are at all Mud Bays. Working with Becky has paid off—her bandanas are incredibly popular and Ruff Hippie has recently moved out of Becky’s family home and into a nearby studio space.