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How Little Hippie Started and Where We Are Heading Next

by Taylor Swope June 02, 2015

20150428_GreatfulDeadLotusStealYourFaceLongSleeveT-2When I was 23 years old I started my own business as an artist. You’re looking at it right here at

My business grew out of a love for live music and a desire to create. Little Hippie was born within a music festival scene that was just then starting to emerge, where I was drawn to the community that was growing with it. Now I have over a decade of experience successfully living life according to my own rules.

I didn’t set out to create a Grateful Dead brand, but when I was offered a licensing contract just a year after getting started, I knew enough to accept the opportunity. Over the years that followed, I evolved my illustration style, creating many designs using the band’s iconic imagery. I developed an original line of merchandise for people of all ages, but particularly for the tiniest among us.

I learned more from the Grateful Dead than any other band out there. Who else has so spectacularly broken the rules and succeeded so gloriously at doing so? They taught me that I could remain independent if I continued to think differently, be innovative, and follow my passion. They taught me that business can be as creative as any art, and most importantly of all, they provided a framework in which I was able to become a professional artist.

redheadsAs Little Hippie gets deeper in to our second decade, and the Grateful Dead prepares to broadcast their swan song this summer, I’m left wondering what’s next. I spent this past winter studying the F&%$ out of e-commerce, and overhauling to become a platform to power the next phase in our development.

Working with our devoted programmer, Mike Schwab, for the last two and a half years, I’ve diligently brought Little Hippie into the new digital economy. Mike and I have made great strides in social media marketing innovation, integrating the site with Facebook in ways that we’re pretty sure Facebook hasn’t even thought of yet. We’ve written every line of code ourselves, and we’ve built a platform we can scale in many directions. If you have ordered from our online store, know that it was built with love, by us.

In the process, it became clear I needed to add this blog, and I enlisted Nicole Brydson and Misfit Media to write and strategize with me. She is a perfect fit, and together we have several exciting projects in the pipeline in addition to our ongoing coverage of the Grateful Dead Archive and the band’s literary history and influence.

While Nicole and I were developing the blog, I brought in a handful of other talented freelancers. The brainstorming that has since ensued with this newly established creative team has been very exciting. Watching these women work together has pushed me to work harder than ever, and it’s made me realize how much we’re capable of when we collaborate.

This is all in service of Little Hippie’s mission to design for you and with you. We want you to love the things Little Hippie creates and feel like you’re a part of our community. We’re now working on a new collection of apparel drawing on our shared roots in the music festival culture which we’re excited to share with you.

Look for Little Hippie this summer at Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, the Fare Thee Well shows, and the Gathering of the Vibes and check back with us at as we roll out more gear for you and yours. Stay tuned for more from your favorite Little Hippies.

With gratitude,
Taylor Swope
Chief Executive Artist

Taylor Swope
Taylor Swope


As the creative founder of Little Hippie, Taylor specializes in illustration, licensed merchandising & experiential design, being both an expert in the art of the counter culture and a figure in it. Taylor’s artwork has become iconic in its own right, and many of her images are now being riffed on by other artists as part of the ever evolving Grateful Dead lexicon. With over twelve years experience as an apparel licensee with the Grateful Dead, Taylor is well familiar with the ins and outs of licensing contracts, merchandising deals and artist agreements. Not only does she have the ability to create imagery that is at once classic and timely, but she can manage your entire project. A strong leader with a highly capable team behind her, she is always ready to take on new opportunities to grow Little Hippie. Having moved frequently as a child, Taylor developed a love early on for new places paired with an amazing ability to keep in touch with people from everywhere. After graduating at 20 years old with a BA in French & English from Skidmore College in 1999, Taylor spent much of her early adult life on the road traveling to countless concerts and music festivals to promote her business and sell the products she designs. She now splits her time between Brooklyn, the Connecticut shoreline and Northern California. In her free time you can usually find her somewhere outdoors swimming, running, yoga-ing, and riding things down hills or otherwise playing on this big bright blue ball spinning freely in space.

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