You are in the Special Features section - Hippy Motors - Stickers and decals†for the Free Spirited

Hippy Motors - Stickers and decals†for the Free Spirited

 



 


 

 

Hippy Motors - Stickers and decals for the Free Spirited

 

 

www.hippymotors.co.uk

 

 

 

Angela and Matt Whittaker got fed up with the bland look of their car and so decorated it with flower stickers. From that small beginning has developed a 'cottage industry' business that now looks as though it could end up going worldwide. 

Already in the UK and Spain, soon to go into France and with plans for the USA and Australia, there could ultimately be millions of cars emblazoned with flowers, peace and love stickers and Banksy artworks to bring some cheer and colour to our highways and byways.

Here Digger talk with Matt and Angela about Hippy Motors.

 



Matt: Hello Hippy Motors.

Digger: Hello Matt. Itís Digger.

Matt: Hello Digger. Iíve got you on speaker phone because Iíve got Angela here as well.

Digger: Hello Angela.

Angela: Hello darling.

Digger: Iíll dive into the questions if thatís alright? Please tell us about your background and the background to Hippy Motors.

Matt: Okay, well I started life engineering and as a designer and a teacher. I used to use the equipment as a teacher and we bought a big ugly car.

Digger: What type?

Matt: A Fiat Multipla. Itís the one with the big ugly eyes under the windscreen. So we just thought weíd pretty it up because we had the machine. So we put flowers on the car and it looked fantastic. People liked them and commented on them. So we just started to put them on eBay and thatís how it all started. Angela is a linguist and a mathematician and sheís worked for The Halifax. Then went into Hippiness and energy efficiency and then into Hippy stickers.

Digger: Are you two firm believers in the idea that all of the things youíve done and learned and experienced in the past all come together to for a particular reason?

Angela: There are lessons in everything every day and if you keep an open mind you are always learning. And I do fell that everything leads to the point Iím at now.

Digger: Yes.

Angela: It gives me wonderful excitement about the future. I never feel as though I'm at a point where I can't go any further. You never know what's around the corner and it keeps you very challenged and very excited about life.

Digger: I suppose your biggest resource, apart from your clients who I suppose come back again and again, is you two because you can wake up in the morning and you've got all those skills and experience and that's a great skillset to have.

Matt: Oh yes. It's brilliant. But it's also great not to have involvement in companies where you have to rely on them. Because you work for a company and you have all these ambitions and then just become disappointed.

Digger: They let you down don't they?

Matt: They let you down. So the next phase of your life is to be self-reliant.

Digger: One of the best things about what I do, and it's not interviewing celebrities which some people think it might be, it's talking to people who have a passion about their business and what they do. All these different retro and nostalgia-related businesses there are, it's fascinating how many people are stepping out on their own and making a success of these businesses. Many of them have been down the corporate route and now they're down their own thing and it's great.

Matt: Yes.

Angela: I think it's knowing that, no matter what you do, you'll always be fine. I mean, I was so worried about taking a leap of faith and a big part of my life was landing these fantastic jobs which were very, very well paid and very established jobs. But I had to take such rubbish that just after a year or two I'd be leaving them to go off travelling.

Digger: It was such a relief?

Angela: Yes. Some people couldn't believe I was doing this but then I thought "Why not?"

Digger: Were there some jobs where you tried not to get involved in the pettiness and politics and to keep your head down and got on with it but eventually it go to you?

Matt: Yes. That's my experience.

Angela: Me, I just felt squeezed and not allowed to grow and made to fit in an area where I just didn't fit. So what I say to people is "Don't be afraid to just leave it and look for other things, because there are always other things around you." For me it's worked out - I just left and this Hippy Motors thing just came out of the blue. Absolutely out of the blue.

Digger: To be honest though, Angela, that difference between you two and 99% of other people is that they don't want to take that leap. They can't. It's not in their nature.

Angela: I think it's because people really allow themselves to be chained down by materialism. The mortgage, the big car.

Digger: The guaranteed pay cheque at the end of the month.

Angela: Yes, they need the income to pay for all the things that that they're still paying for and it really does chain you down. And I think if you can just try not to focus on the materialistic side of life and more on the spiritual side of life it gives to so much more freedom. And enable you to do so much more. This is what I see round me - so many people carry on doing things they hate every day because they're so scared of leaving and not getting the money and worrying about what would happen. Anyway, we digress...

Digger: We do, but it's sort of why you are where you are now. So, what sorts of people are buying your decals and stickers?

Matt: Well, a massive range of people and that's one of the surprising things. We've obviously got quite a girly thing going on as well but we've had Radio Two DJs buy from us, mega rich friends of Jamie Oliver and Richard Branson... We've had one that came through yesterday - someone's' driving across Africa in this massive ex-military vehicle painted bright yellow called Sponge Bob and they're taking their kids with them. And they want to Hippify this military vehicle to drive across Africa. And we've had the Canadian equivalent to Jeremy Clarkson. (Digger laughs)

Angela: We also get normal people. But one thing that is surprising is pensioners and retired people - so many, because they don't care anymore and they do what they want to do. And they're covering their cars and they buy a little Smart car, not that I'm generalising in any way, and people are decorating these little cars. And wheelchairs as well - loads of people are doing that.

Digger: What can I have that's a little more masculine? I don't want skulls and crossbones but I don't want girly stuff but I've just bought a boring silver Focus. I see about twenty of them whenever I go out. How can I jazz that up?

Angela: Geckos are good. because you can have them in any colour and they suit anybody's taste really.

Matt: Or the old Batman retro-look 'Kapows' and so on.

 

 

 

Digger: Yes, that would be quite good.

Matt: What else - Banksy the graffiti artist. I see him very much as a hooded Hippy and he's very much into love and peace so we do quite a lot of his designs as well.

Angela: The peace and love and anti-war signs are good.

Digger: You've got the CND symbol, of course?

Both: Yes.

Angela: We do a whole load of wordings as well like "Life is a journey, not a destination." And all these things.

Matt: Also Tune in, Turn on, Drop out.

Digger: I might go for a couple of those - There are some good suggestions there. What do you think is the legacy left by the sixties and by the Hippies?

Matt: The legacy for me is it's a time of really finding your place on planet earth, really. With the Hippy actually coming in  tune with the people around you as well as a nature. And actually, I think we've all become Hippies. I teach young people at a school and they have a lot of Hippy values. Everyone's into caring for the planet and very few agree with war. The only thing that's lacking these days is that real political sense that the Hippy movement had.

Digger: It was good to see the students revolting, if you'll pardon the expression, but I was disappointed that they were going too far. But it was good to see them striking out for something. I just wasn't very keen on the way that some of them did it.

Matt: I just think that comes from a lack of practice over the last few decades.

Angela: Yes.

Matt: It certainly seemed to be badly led but that kind of spirit and sitting on the grass with flowers in your hair... I mean, I was listening to the Mumford and Sons song this morning with the same line. Sitting on the grass with flowers in your hair and that, for me, is the really Hippy thing. Being things that were real - the music was real and the feelings were real and it was a very honest movement. And I think the older people get, the more real they get and the more Hippy everyone starts to feel.

Digger: It's gratifying that it's now come through to the younger generation - it might have skipped a couple of generations because I don't suppose people in the eighties will be remembered for those kinds of values in the Maggie years. But it sounds as though it's finally got through to the youngsters as well in one way or another?

Matt: Yes, that's the gob smacking thing. I start talking to these kids about how I feel and the vast majority will agree with me. I'll ask them what's important in life and they're talking about love and friendship rather than saying MP3 players or laptops, which is what my stereotypical expectation of them would be. But no, that feeling of unity seems to be in them.

Digger: That's great to hear. What feedback are you getting from clients? And I suppose a lot of them are doing repeat orders as well, aren't they?

Matt: Probably over 60s% of what we do is people coming back. And that's one thing that really warms us is this following that we seem to have. People actually do become addicted and we have so many people on their third order who say "Sorry, but I'm addicted now." And once you start, it's a bit like tattooing your body. You have to know when to stop. 

Angela: I think also we don't get many opportunities to play with colour. And just getting a chance to be imaginative and to be creative. I mean, it's very difficult these days to do anything creative. In the house people don't really get a chance to too much. But on your car - it's like a blank piece of canvas and you can just go for it. And I think people are getting a lot of enjoyment from just thinking about the colours and shapes and what they want and where they want to put things. Kids love stickers but grown ups love stickers too. I think they're really found that there's a lot of enjoyment to be had in brightening things up. So I think that's why they're so addictive as well. Yes, you can decorate your car but you can use these stickers anywhere so people are starting to use them in more creative ways. Wheelchairs are one thing that's come out of it and that's brilliant.

Digger: It's not just standard vehicles? So what's the strangest place that people are putting these stickers?

Matt: A Russian ice breaker.

Digger: Wow. (All laugh)

Matt: And I've had a suggestion that it was someone from Led Zeppelin that did that.  Because we do a Led Zeppelin sticker and we heard rumours. 

Angela: Micro lights and canoes and canal boats and snowboarding.

Digger: Is there a waterproofing issue or is that not a problem?

Angela: No, they're all exterior grade vinyl and we did our mum and dad's boat about six years ago and the vinyl's still fine on that

Matt: We're thinking of starting a website called Hippy Boaters. (All laugh)

Digger: That's great. I was going to ask you if you were diversifying but it looks as though your customers are telling you where to go by virtue of their imaginations.

Both: Oh yes.

Angela: It's difficult because just being the two of us there's so much that we want to do and so many designs that we want to do. But we're so busy doing what we're doing now and, of course, trying not to forget that we have a family and doing those other things too. (Laughs) We would be doing that Hippy Boaters...

Digger: When it comes up to election time again you can do Hippy Voters.

Angela: God, yes that will be brilliant.

Matt: We had a Tory MP contact us to ask us if we can do stickers for their campaign and we said "Sorry, no." We don't want to get political. If it were The Green Party we might have thought twice. 

Angela: We could do a CND sticker to spoil your ballot paper with! That would be good.

Digger: I actually spoilt my paper last time but not intentionally. It wasn't a political statement - I forgot my glasses so ticked the wrong box and then realised so had to sabotage the paper. (All laugh) Silly old codger.

Angela: They asked me afterwards "What did you vote?" And I said "I didn't, I spoilt my ballot paper." And she looked horrified.

Digger: What gives you the most pleasure about running Hippy Motors?

Matt: The feedback and response from clients really. When people send us photographs of what they've done.

Digger: Is there much competition?

Angela: Loads of people do car stickers.

Matt: If you go on eBay you'll find plenty of flower car stickers but there's no-one doing it properly. I think people who do it on eBay have a screen printing business and do it to make a little extra cash whereas this is what we believe in and something we did ourselves. So, for us, there's very little competition.

Angela: Also, the very foundation of Hippy Motors is different and we didn't start up to run a business. The business has happened to us, if you see what I mean?

Matt: We have gone with the flow.

Angela: Yes, we have. People have asked us and we've made these for them and that's how we've ended up selling because we've met that demand. So when you look at our website, the thing we want to put across is that we're not a faceless business. We are a family and we make stickers for people and are having a lot of fun doing it. 

Digger: I picked up on that as soon as I went on your site. It's a very friendly site and there's some amusing stuff about the 'big organisation' behind it. It was obvious that you were real human beings. You can tell when you go into some websites that they're really trying not to communicate with people. I hate that.

Angela: It can have a downside because I got a call at 10:30 the other night and we were going to bed and the lady had clearly had a few drinks! We've had people who want to place orders at 11:00. 

Digger: I suppose you get people who don't think.

Angela: We've had a few people who have had a drink and then went onto our website and give us a ring!

Digger: What are the main things people need to know and consider when choosing/ordering your decals and stickers? Are there any technical requirements or should people just go for it?

Matt: We would say just go for it. The thing to bear in mind is, as a business, we always support people so they can always give us a call and ask for any advice. Also they do come off, as well, so if you heat them up with a hairdryer then you can take them off. The other thing to remember is that from that day forward, if you do a big spread, you will never be ignored again on the motorway.

Digger: People hooting at you?

Angela: You get recognised. You're not anonymous anymore.

Matt: Waving and hooting. What we get wherever we go people are smiling. Down the motorways, people pass the car with the peace symbol and smile, kids are hanging out of cars waving. And it's just wonderful. So that's the thing to remember. If you're going to Hippify your car, then you will be recognised and people are going to smile at you.

Digger: And a big improvement on those stupid window stickers that you get in novelty shops.

Matt: Some of these nasty stickers that you can get. The world's bad enough and you don't need that. Just make everyone happy and add a bit of colour.

Digger: In your ideal world, what do you see as the future for Hippy Motors?

Matt: Well, at the moment we're talking to Halfords.

Digger: Ah!

Matt: So we're setting up a separate business which is wholesale and hopefully we'll be able to supply people like Halfords, but what we're really keen on is not to sell out. We'll never become faceless, we'll always be honest and we will never make a big profit because that's not what it's about.

Digger: Would they have a stand in their shops with a variety of your best or favourite lines on it?

Matt: Yes, just a few of our best lines. We're getting some good feedback from Halfords right now. So there's that side of the business which is getting serious because I'm packing my job in as a teacher.

Digger: Wow. Well, there's nothing wrong with making money from the business and it doesn't have to be the be all and end all. I had a highly paid job in IT, similar to Angela, but I'd prefer to be doing what I'm doing now although the money is a lot less. I don't miss it. But you have to have a profitable business. The Halfords thing sounds great.

Angela: Yes, we hope if comes off. We have to work out all the details and it's complicated. It's whether we want to do it.

Matt: Yes, it's probably us that would turn them down rather than the other way around, to be honest. We've also got a Spanish website which is run by our own friend. (Digger and Angela rattle off some Spanish conversation)

Angela: (Laughs) The problem is my mother's Portuguese and I speak Spanish so my Spanish is grammatically dreadful.

Digger: You speak Spantuguese!

Angela: So our friend's running the Spanish website for us.

Digger: Is the idea to sell to Brits over there or to everybody?

Angela: What it is - it's that we're doing the British website and she was struggling to find a job, bless her. She's actually Russian but speaks perfect Spanish so I said "Why don't you run a Spanish one?" So we've set her up and now she's separately running her own Hippy Motors EspaŮa website. It's all the same stuff as us but for the Spanish market. I could do the Spanish market but I'm just so busy I've got no chance. I'm going to try and set up a French one next year, though.

Digger: And run it from here?

Angela: Yes, yes, run it from here. The postal service is good so sending stuff from here to Spain is actually quicker than the Spanish postal service internally. Because they treat anything international with priority.

Digger: Oh, I see. It just sounds like it could be a huge thing worldwide. Maybe franchising?

Matt: We'd like to franchise America and Australia and that's what we're kind of half-heartedly trying.

Digger: Sounds great.

Angela: It would be. We started very small so it's just making sure that if people want to start this too as a franchise then it would take a few years to build up. You can imagine, you see a car with flowers on and you probably never thought to put flowers on your car. And so you have to see it so many times before you actually get the idea yourself. And that's what's happening. You've got ten people who've got flowers and slowly you get a hundred people who've got flowers and it's just expanding. Because of the amount of people who see that car every day. The impact of it is lovely and the visual impact is there for all to see. If you buy a new sofa only your friends and family see it but if you decorate a car then everybody sees it. It's a big impact but it's just putting that seed of an idea into people's heads. That's why it would be a very slow thing to begin with in other countries.

Digger: America and Australia have close cultures to us so I think it would go down well.

Matt: They're very beach-based.

Digger: Yes. That sounds perfect.

Matt: We do already have quite a few customers in Australia. We love sending out there and also Tasmania. So we think maybe we should have a business trip out to Australia.

Digger: And why not? Do the fifty American States tour as well. I'd always like to do that.

Matt: Yes, well we're looking at a few sites in America that I've always wanted to see. 

Digger: Another incentive for getting the Halfords deal sorted out.

Matt: It is. That would be really nice.

Digger: Great talking to you both and catch up face to face in Spring. Bye for now.

Both: Thanks Digger. Bye.

 


 

www.hippymotors.co.uk

 

We are Angela and Matt Whittaker and we started designing and making our own car stickers 6 years ago because we wanted to brighten up our own car. Now, I am offering my service to all you people out there who are tired of driving conventional looking vehicles, so you can do the same.

MIXED BED Flowers and VINES, Daisies, Gerberas, Wizz, Fab FLOWERS, Hibiscus, Poppy, Sunflower & pre-made FLOWERS, GIANT FLOWERS, TINY stickers for Bikes, laptops etc., Leaves, stems and grass, Butterfly, dragonfly, bee, ladybird, spider, GIANT DESIGNS, GECKOS, Pandas, cats, paws, fish, horses and more, Fairies, Angels and mermaids, Goddess, Kokopeli, Greenman, Unicorn, Gaia, Accessories - curls, swirls etc., Sun, Moon, Star, Rainbow, Snowflake, cloud etc., Sun Catchers, BANKSY & ANTI- ESTABLISHMENT, Spots, Hearts, Waves, Hands, Feet, Bubble etc., Hippy Driver, Biker, Skier etc., Peace Love Anti-War, VW, Multipla and Bus stickers, Symbols - Buddhist, Celtic, Egyptian, Hindu etc., Music stickers, Hippy Sayings and other phrases, Movies, TV, Games, Superheroes, Your FAMILY in stickers, Tribal, Skulls and skates, Fruity stickers, Crash Dummies, Hippy Motors gifts and VOUCHERS, Custom NAMES and Promotional banners, OCEANIA, Maori, Polynesian

01509 552748

Email Address: hippy_motors@yahoo.co.uk

 

www.hippymotors.co.uk

 

www.hippymotors.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 


This page layout and content  is the intellectual property of www.retrosellers.com and cannot be reproduced without express permission. 

We are not responsible for the content of external websites.

If we have inadvertently used any image on this web site which is in copyright and for which we, or our retailers on our behalf, do not have permission for use, please contact us so that we can rectify the situation immediately. Images in this article are, to the best of our knowledge, either in the public domain or copyrighted where indicated. 


 

www.retrosellers.com 

Home Page | About | Contact | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy