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Meet Matthew Hickey of Be Kind Vibes in North Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Hickey.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The seed was planted for me when I started writing positive messages down the front of blank white tees with a black sharpie. The very first phrase I wrote was “Joy is the Highest Frequency”. I had heard it during a phone call with a friend.

After we hung up I immediately took off the white tee I was wearing and wrote the phrase down the center of my shirt. Something clicked, the light bulb went off in my head, and that phrase, as well as the original t-shirt, has stuck with me to this day. I associate that moment with the birth of Be Kind Vibes, and from that day I decided that consciously crafted apparel was going to be the vessel to inspire my message of kindness, compassion, and connection.

It started small, very small. I continued to write uplifting messages with sharpies on tees for friends and family. Then after working all summer at a restaurant I saved up enough money to buy my first round of hemp tees and send them off to a local screen printer.

Fast forward almost four years and with a ton of hard work and a grassroots effort, Be Kind Vibes has blossomed into its own brand with an amazing and growing community behind it.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to where I am now has had so many ups and downs, highs and lows. But it’s in those lows that I found my strength and passion for this project and its message.

When I started Be Kind Vibes I had no idea what I was doing. I had no degree or any kind of experience in fashion, manufacturing, marketing, or how to even start a business. I just went for it because I believed in myself and what I was doing. And that’s not to say there were no moments of self-doubt, trust me there were plenty, and there still are. But what truly matters is how you lift yourself up out of those moments and keep moving forward.

The road of life is never straight, nor would I want it to be. The sharp turns and bumps in the road have been my guiding lessons on this journey. And on this road of life, it’s the low valleys that truly make you appreciate the highest peaks.

Be Kind Vibes – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a Tribe of ocean lovers, mountain lovers, and lovers of wild open spaces. Through our ethically made, eco-friendly apparel, we aim to inspire and promote conscious adventures. The feeling of a deep connection between us and nature, and an even deeper connection between you and I. We are all intertwined on this planet, all connected. We hope to inspire you to show love and compassion for each other, for nature, and for all living things.

What I’m most proud of with this brand, and what truly motivates me to keep going is when I hear people say that our message and story has inspired them in some way to live their life to the fullest. To lead with their heart and inspire kindness and connection within their own community. To help protect and heal Mother Earth. To me, that’s better than seeing sales roll through. I mean the sales are what keeps the company afloat, but knowing that we’ve affected somebody’s life in a positive way is worth more to me than all the money you could fit in my bank account.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I was born in Canada and grew up listening to Neil Young. There was a time in my life when I was listening to his albums “Harvest” and “Harvest Moon” literally every day.

A few years back I was at a trade show in San Francisco when a young gentleman walked into our both and started checking out some tees. He mentioned that his boss would love our message, and the fact that our products were eco-friendly was even better. He picked up a couple tees, left our both and that was that.

Fast forward a couple years and a buddy of mine sends me a photo from his local newspaper in Halifax with a text that read, “dude, is that Neil Young wearing one of your t-shirts?”. I opened the photo, and I think my expression was, “holy s**t, that is Neil Young wearing one of my t-shirts!” Not only was he wearing our “Be Kind to the Sea” tee, but he was wearing it on stage during a concert.

During the later part of Neil Young’s career, he has become an amazing steward for the environment, writing full albums about the plight of our natural world, contributing to and playing benefit concerts for the nonprofit Farm Aid. So to see someone that I’ve looked up to my whole life supporting our message on stage, at his level, was unreal. I may have cried some happy tears after seeing that photo!

On a side note, if anyone knows Neil or how to get a hold of him I would love to thank him for his support. 🙂

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Image Credit:

Drew McGill

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