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Wishing you a wonderful winter!

As we're wrapping up the last of our holiday order packing here at Little Hippie, I am taking a moment to reflect on the past year. This is my typical winter solstice routine, as the postal deadline for Christmas packages always falls on or next to the darkest day of the year. Winter is always my most creative season. As the light returns, so too does the inspiration.

In many ways, this year was like every other year with the usual flurry of increased activity that accompanies the holidays. Since early November we've been going all out every day to offer you the best possible options for you to gift to your friends and family. It's always a ton of fun to think of those presents being opened all at once all over the country by Little Hippies big and small. With the addition of Officially Licensed Greeting Cards this year, we had the added thrill of imagining the notes of love and cheer that were being sent in those cards all month. Stay tuned for more cards soon for other special occasions!

For every way this year was routine, there were so many ways in which it was not.

To begin with, this was my first year since 2000 not working at music festivals!!! After 15 years attending every Bonnaroo in a row, it was quite a shift not to head to Tennessee last June. Instead, I took that time and those resources to sign a licensing deal with the Jim Henson Company and launch our initial collection of Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock products. Working with them this past year has been a great experience. I am learning a lot about design and product standards from them, and as we pick up momentum there, I am eager to see what we will add to that collection next year.

Another big way in which this year was different is that my dear friend, Carole, took over a huge part of the day to day operations of running this business. Most likely if you've been in touch with someone recently on our Facebook page or about an order via email, you've talked to Carole. Carole is amazing! Not only is she managing most of our customer communication (including this newsletter), Carole has also developed systems to keep track of everything we do and make here which enables us to create new art and new products much more effectively. Little Hippie has grown considerably in the last year, and we never could have done it without her. Carole and I are fortunate to be assisted by some great creatives, consultants, and shipping elves, and we're excited to keep adding people to our team.

Perhaps the biggest change this year was that I started running the entire business out of my home for the first time ever. Little Hippie has always had a commercial space from which we managed shipping and packed for festivals, but after a series of unfortunate situations where outside parties were causing harm to our operations, I made a big decision last spring to rearrange my loft in Brooklyn, move the warehouse in there, and stop doing festivals. What seemed like a crazy idea at first turned out to be the smartest choice I've made in a long time! Having everything right here where I see and touch it every day has been so beneficial to the design process, and it's also enabled us to get orders out at a much faster pace than ever before. The irony is that as a result of all these improvements we're now growing so fast that we will soon have to find a bigger space. I'm full of anticipation about where next year might take us! Will we stay in Brooklyn? Will we move to L.A.? Who knows?!

Last but very much not the least to me, this year I began writing a book. Next year Little Hippie will be fifteen years old! When I started this business I was only twenty-four years old with nothing but a dream, an obsession with live music, and a need for adventure. I had no idea then that this would turn into my life's work, and I am so happy that it did! I thought Little Hippie was something I would do for fun for a while, until I was ready for a "real job." Within a year I was offered the opportunity to become a Grateful Dead licensee, and things got real, real fast. When I signed that contract in early 2004, it was the first major commitment I'd ever made in my life, which for a chronic commitment-phobe was no small thing! I've spent much of the last year reading through old emails and journals, piecing together the story of Little Hippie. It's full of love and heartbreak in equal measure, lots of laughs, and plenty of adventure, just as I'd hoped it would be back when I first started living it. If there's one thing I'm most excited about sharing with you soon, it is that story.

At the end of every year I am reminded how truly fortunate I am to have been able to live this creative life and to be a part of this amazing community of fans united by a music they love. Of all the things I enjoy about my job, none compares to being a part of the Grateful Dead's ongoing folktale and evolving artistic tradition. The support of all the Deadheads who I'm so grateful to call our customers means everything to me. Whether you're an old head, a Touchhead, or new fan recently introduced to the music through Dead & Company, we are thrilled to have you here along for the ride that is Little Hippie! In the coming years we will be adding more licensing, and I am looking forward to getting to know more fanbases, as we have had the pleasure of doing this year with Jim Henson's fans.

Every time my phone dings with a notification that reads "Little Hippie has a new order," I instinctively respond in my mind, "Thank you, Little Hippie." Even all these years later, I still get excited about every single order, and it still amazes me that I get to do this! With every package we ship, I am inspired by the idea that selling something means I get to make more things. I may be living amidst lots of boxes right now, and it may get a little chaotic some days doing so, but honestly, I could live in a box and be perfectly happy if it meant I got to keep on creating the things I love for the people (you!) that love them. Thank you, thank you, thank you for keeping this dream alive!

Happy holidays, Little Hippies!

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