Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Joey Hanna. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Joey, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today We’d love to have you retell us the story behind how you came up with the idea for your business, I think our audience would really enjoy hearing the backstory.
It was a date night that sparked an idea and turned into an adventure of a lifetime! Matt, who is now my husband, was an avid homebrewer. He was very involved in the homebrew community, QUAFF Home Club, and loved visiting local San Diego breweries with friends. He took me to one of his favorite breweries to sample their line-up, my first craft beer brewery tasting experience. I was amazed at the energy and camaraderie that this tasty beverage had created. Young (21+), old(er), brewery shirts, suits, people arrived solo, or with a group just to have a pint and a good time! Immediately intrigued, people watching commenced.
I had noticed that many of the patrons were wearing various brewery shirts, respectively worn as a badge of honor. The artwork was great, filled with detail, color, a bold font. However, the actual apparel was subpar. I took a look at the merch section of this particular brewery to see the logo offerings and was not exactly motivated to make a purchase beyond a sticker. The apparel was primarily a unisex fit on a stiff or scratchy boxy t-shirt. There was a lack of style, texture, and little to no selection for females. That is the moment the lightbulb went off.
A few brewery visits later, the idea behind Hoppy Beer Gear came about. A merchandise and branding company that is tailored to your business needs, schedules, and offers a personalized design experience from beginning to end. It took about a year and a half of research, education, and securing contracts before the Hoppy Beer Gear would take on our first clients, but we know we needed to do it right in order to compete with the existing print shops. The idea behind Hoppy Beer Gear is that we would bring our services to you so that you did not have to interrupt your day beyond our scheduled meeting time. We would bring the apparel and print samples for you to see, touch, feel, then digitally add your company’s artwork to the apparel for approval by email before sending it to production. When the final products were ready, we’d hand-deliver them to your door to ensure a seamless customer experience.
Hoppy Beer Gear, Inc. is a San Diego-based merchandise and branding company focused on developing effective, high quality merch and apparel that is tailored to your brand. With an emphasis on personable customer service, our goal is to build a long-lasting partnership that contributes to achieving your company’s full branding potential.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Hoppy Beer Gear, Inc. is a San Diego-based merchandise and branding company focused on developing effective, high-quality merch and apparel that is tailored to your brand. With an emphasis on personable customer service, our goal is to build a long-lasting partnership that contributes to achieving your company’s full branding potential.
We come to you, so your workday is not interrupted. We do the research and supply samples of the latest fashion and prints so you don’t have to. While beer may be in our name we support clients of all industries, those considered a small business to a larger corporation.
Our website boasts some of our most popular items t-shirts, sweatshirts, headwear, unique wood items, stickers, and promotional giveaways. However, we do it all. If you’ve seen it, we can create it for you.
Our personable customer service sets us apart from larger businesses as we make sure you are receiving the product that you envisioned. If it’s not correct, we’ll make it right! Our success is your success.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Presenting our business face to face allowed Hoppy Beer Gear to make those personal connections from the start. Clients always knew Joey was a FEMALE business owner, which is often confused when business is primarily done online. Both of our employees have attended new client meetings, allowing for the name and face recognition to be made. We are a small company, yet always try to celebrate our clients’ successes, anniversaries, and achievements. We reciprocate business appreciation by staying for a bite to eat or a drink when we make deliveries, offering business referrals, or sponsoring special events.
We have also hired amazing employees who had previously created a positive reputation for themselves in the craft beer industry and graphic design world. Their outgoing personalities and positive demeanor speak for themselves. We are so fortunate to call our employees, family.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
The majority of our clients are breweries. They thrive on in-person customer service, draft beverages, and seated taprooms. These taprooms would also be where their logo merchandise would be displayed, the products that Hoppy Beer Gear designed for them. When the pandemic hit and taprooms were shut down merchandise discussion emails stopped, orders were canceled, and our business came to a standstill. How were we going to get people to spend money at a time when no one was making money? How could we drive traffic back to the taproom when we were told to limit human contact? We knew we were going to need to make moves ASAP.
A month later we brought on a part-time team member to help with social media. Everything had gone virtual, so we needed to pivot and shift from our in-person presence to regularly sharing daily posts. Posting our work, product samples, and casual pictures of our team social distancing proved that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Having a social media presence allowed our clients to repost the merchandise that we created for them and offer a direct link back to our business. It provided a way for our client’s customers to see new apparel that was recently delivered to the taproom, encouraging them to stop by for some fresh merch and beers to go. Regular posting helped us spread the word that we were still in business and continuously working. We knew our type of business wouldn’t exactly attract a ton of followers because we were not where the consumer shopped. However, social media did allow us to attract new clients, increase sales by word of mouth, and have one of our biggest sales year-to-date!
During this time we also added new products to our line-up that would help with brand awareness and abide by covid protocols. We sourced health safety items such as face masks, neck gaiters, and bandanas that would allow a printed logo to create free wearable advertising for our clients. We also designed the Pint Protector, a printable wood covering that would act as a barrier between your pint glass and the outside elements. All of these items were not only useful over the past few years but also contributed to our increased sales as well as an easy upsell for our clients at checkout.
- Website: https://www.hoppbeergear.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hoppybeergear/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hoppybeergear