Brad Irvin: Hippie Butter
He was a world traveler and worked with well-known musical artists to engineer a cool crisp sound for their various concerts, but as amazing as this was for him, his interest was drawn away from it to pursue another endeavor and it all started out with a handful of hemp seeds. Brad Irvin, founder and CEO of Hippie Butter, is one of the mavericks who has made hemp cool, hip, and educated us about the many benefits it has for our health. He’s extremely passionate about his product and enlightening his customers how to implement it into their future.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
I’m Brad Ervin, former chef, 25-year rock ‘n’ roll sound engineer, and now the CHO (Chief Hemp Officer) of Hippie Butter Hemp Seed Food Products. As I toured the world with artists like George Strait, Bette Midler, Paul McCartney, and many others, I discovered the “superfood,” hemp seeds. During a tour in Canada, I became sick and exhausted from too many long hours and too much bad food, which is so common in the entertainment industry, and I stopped for a snack at a convenience store that happened to carry hemp seeds. When I tried some, I fell in love with the nutty, crunchy taste, and started eating a handful a day. It wasn’t long before I was feeling more energized, less stressed, and had a heightened sense of well-being.
As I toured the world with artists like George Strait, Bette Midler, Paul McCartney, and many others, I discovered the “superfood,” hemp seeds.
Since hemp seeds were too good to keep to myself, I took some home to share with my wife, who is a thyroid patient. She also found that hemp seeds made her feel better, by increasing her energy and sense of well-being. She passed them along to her friends and before we knew it, people were clamoring for my hemp seeds – I couldn’t keep up with the demand.
When I started buying hemp seeds by the case, the problem I ran into was finding a U.S. company that actually carried them. Finding quality hemp seeds was next to impossible, so I thought to myself, ‘There should be a company that makes a wide variety of high-quality hemp seed products in America!’ That was my “lightbulb” moment three years ago which prompted me to launch Hippie Butter.
What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?
I’m a former chef and have 25 years of experience as a rock ‘n’ roll “live” sound engineer. I draw upon my past experiences daily. As a chef, I use my refined pallet and creative skills to develop new hemp food products, recipes, and “Cooking with Hemp” videos for Hippie Butter Hemp Seed Products.
When I was a sound engineer, in addition to doing thousands of concerts all over the world, I was the head “adult in charge” for live sound at President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration, which still holds the record for the largest North American outdoor event with over 2 million people in attendance. My quick-thinking problem-solving skills, my keen sense of observation, my dedication to planning and implementation, my ability to self motivate, and my social skills all equip me to do what I’m doing now. And of course, my years of having to eat bad catered food, act as my motivation and inspiration to do something great.
Tell me about the point in the time you realized the coming of the ‘green rush’?
I was in Canada and saw Hulled Hemp Seeds in every convenience store I ran into. I giggled, bought a package, and was blown away at how good they tasted. That’s when I realized how great hemp seed food products are and that I needed to get as many as possible to share with my friends and family. Since that day, I’ve had nothing but Hemp on my mind.
What are you doing to impact the industry?
Education! Education! Education! Hemp History & Hemp Education! The industrial hemp plant is so mind-blowingly good that most people don’t believe it at first. That’s why we answer our customer service line 24/7 – to answer questions and help people feel comfortable ordering our products.
We also follow the advice of our dear friend and mentor, Jeff Hutner, who is everything from an entrepreneur, author, and thought leader. Hippie Butter embraces Jeff’s “Evolutionary Business” philosophy, which he so eloquently defines as:
‘…the new socially responsible business philosophy… of re-examining basic assumptions about mission, vision, and values and distributing ethical, moral, and spiritual dimensions throughout the business culture to support this new way of being and operating. It is the reintegration of spirit and matter, of business and compassion, of head and heart, of conscious management and the feminine archetype in business and of a sense of love and play along with the mandate of making a profit so that these activities can thrive.”
– Jeff Hutner, The Birth of Evolutionary Business
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
What does a typical work day look like for you in your business?
We’re Hippie-Buttering practically 24/7 around here. Early mornings start with a pot of hemp seed coffee as we yawn, stretch, feed the chickens, donkeys, dogs, cats, fish, and tackle overnight emails. We drink hemp seed protein powder smoothies while we connect with more than 350,000 folks through social media – FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin. Then it’s on to writing personal notes to each customer, filling orders, and updating inventory until it’s time for lunch and meditation. For the rest of the day and even into the night, we work on our website, write blogs, answer phone calls, take orders, create advertising content, plan events, and develop hemp recipes with lots of breaks for walking and playing with our dogs on our 5 acres of bucolic pasture land. No wonder we’re so happy!
Early mornings start with a pot of hemp seed coffee as we yawn, stretch, feed the chickens, donkeys, dogs, cats, fish, and tackle overnight emails. We drink hemp seed protein powder smoothies while we connect with more than 350,000 folks through social media…
How do you find inspiration in this industry? What have you found that has inspired you?
Jack Herer and his monumental book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, are our everyday inspiration as well as the personal relationships we’ve made with our Hippie Butter customers. We believe that people are inherently good and this belief system is proven every day in our dealings with our friends, customers, and industry contacts.
Tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours.
We’re the first hemp-only company to offer hemp seed food products, skin/body/hair-care products, and CBD products on an interactive website featuring “Cooking with Hemp” videos, hemp history, and education.
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
Educate yourself and be open-minded, adaptable, and steadfast.
What’s your newest knowledge about the hemp industry?
R&D is ramping up for American-grown industrial hemp for food, fuel, fiber and medicine.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
We’ll be talking excitedly about all the new states growing hemp and about all the new jobs that are coming from the green rush. Each new, green harvesting state, will be better off due to green rush income, jobs, and tax money that will then fund state programs and end up helping everyone.
Photo credit (main image): Namely Marly