How One Mom Started Her RV Business Making Hats
Brooke Happe wears many hats. She is a mother of three, a medical professional, entrepreneur, philanthropist, full-time RVer, and somehow finds time to homeschool her children in the midst of it all.
Happe is the founder, creator, and designer of a handmade knit and crochet shop, b.e.happe. She runs this successful hat business from her fifth wheel, along with her husband. Her family of 5 is living the RV dream, traveling the country. Her story is an inspirational one seeing as she makes working from an RV seem very doable.
Starting a business
“The journey of b.e.happe is one that started from a personal challenge. I was stepping away from my career as a Doctor of Physical Therapy to stay home with my two boys and soon to be newborn daughter in 2015. I needed to keep my hands strong as I used manual therapy for most of my rehabilitation techniques.” Happe wrote.
She taught herself to crochet from the internet and donated newborn-sized hats to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. With the encouragement of family and friends, Happe started b.e.happe Designs in 2016. For the first two years, the business had a “Buy one hat, Give one back” to Blank Children’s Hospital with each sale.
A couple of years later, to expand the product line, Happe taught herself how to knit. After her middle child spent a lengthy stay at Blank’s PICU, Happe felt compelled to continue her business and give more. She donated 20% of her proceeds to purchase wish list items for Blank Children’s Hospital.
Continuing her business while traveling
The business was booming so much that her hat-crafting had become enough to support the family. Her husband Jeff also took the reins as director of sales.
In June 2019, the family took the plunge and traded in their dream home for a brand new fifth wheel. They started off their full-time adventure in the right lane, debt-free and running a successful business.
Since their maiden voyage, they have been to over 20 states and are enjoying time together. The b.e.happe brand continues to grow and give back. A portion of each sale is now used to purchase wish list items for child life services for children’s hospitals across the U.S.
Happe’s tips on working from your RV
Happe combines her love of traveling as a family unit with her passion for continuing to grow a business that gives back to communities around the nation. Happe shares that owning a business on the road, especially one that brings the entire family along, ought to be worthwhile and meaningful.
“We looked deeper into what b.e.happe meant to us…it is more than just my initials and a brand that gives back. b.e.happe is a mind frame, a lifestyle, our hope and direction as we took a leap of faith as a family of 5 and traveled the country.
As our family spends time together and creates a lifetime of memories, we will continue to grow our online shop, sell more wholesale, and do pop-ups in boutiques as we travel. We will give back to the local children’s hospitals as we travel the country by donating to their “Wish List” items, all while teaching our children that they can do anything they put their minds to. “
She also mentioned that keeping a routine in the household, for all members, helps maintain some semblance of consistency with a lifestyle that is continually changing in scenery, faces, and culture. She has block scheduling set up for work, play, and homeschooling. Her children have their daily routine of waking up, eating meals, school, playtime, clean up, and bedtime, just as she and her husband have their routines.
How to make a living working from your RV
If you are thinking about living and working from your RV but not sure how to go about earning an income, Jason and Abby Epperson of RV Miles may be able to help with their list of 30 possible ways.
Besides starting your own business, they mention money-making opportunities like seasonal workamping at campgrounds and popular tourist destinations, online teaching, renting a property, freelance writing, software development, and much more. Check out their comprehensive list in the video below.
Get tips from other remote workers
Escapees RV Club, an organization that supports those who pursue the RVing lifestyle through many services, is hosting a virtual conference March 4-8, 2021, focused on those interested in remote work.
Rethinking Remote Work is a 5-day event that will feature over two dozen speakers presenting in main stage sessions, breakout sessions, panel discussions, and workshops. Anyone interested in remote jobs, digital careers, small business ideas, nomadic entrepreneurship, and the remote work-life balance can learn more about the conference and registration by visiting www.rethinkingremotework.com.