Posted on: Thursday - Sep 17, 2015

Hip Hues, owned by Sondra Noble and Tracy Dunn, is a Nashville based company that focuses on custom screen-printing. They do everything from t-shirts to canvas prints to drink cozies. We’re excited Hip Hues will be on hand at this year’s Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development Oct. 13-14 showcasing their skills and making screen printed t-shirts for attendees.

Sondra Noble is originally from Ohio and moved to Nashville in 2004 to attend Vanderbilt University. Sondra has lived in Nashville on and off since and has grown to love Music City’s uniqueness during her time living here. I sat down with Sondra to discuss the growing success of Hip Hues and her love of all things Nashville.

How did you come up with the idea for Hip Hues?

Hip Hues is the brainchild of me and my business partner and sister Tracy Dunn. Tracy is a serial hobbyist. She brews beer, quilts and sews her own clothes. She picked up screen-printing one summer when she was living in Ohio and taught herself how to do it. She was making these amazing canvas art prints and selling them in coffee shops there. I said to myself that is so neat! I thought that I would want to learn how to do that and that people in Nashville would love that kind of thing.

Nashville is a fun, growing, young, unique and artsy city. Even people who aren’t artsy appreciate it. So, I got Tracy to move down here and start this company with me. We decided to start two components, which we still offer. The two components are BYOB workshops and private events. We initially thought that the BYOB workshops would be where we would have our business but we found in our first year that that’s not exactly what Nashville wanted. Nashville is a city of events and wants cool, unique things at their events. Screen-printing is artistic, it’s fun and it’s fast.

How long has Hip Hues been a successful business?

We kind of switched focus and started on the event side of things a little less than two years ago. We have had most of our growth once we moved into our new studio. We now work in a much larger studio and can host private events in our studio, up to 30 people. That’s made the biggest difference. This year we transitioned into a new market of corporate conventions and University markets. This year we’ve seen the most growth yet.

What made you decide to start your business in Nashville?

I was already here and I really love Nashville and I have seen so much change not only in the last 3-4 years but thinking back to 2004 when I first moved here it has evolved so much. It’s a very unique city and it appreciates so much of what we try to offer. We’re not a promotional products company, we aren’t a t-shirt company; we’re an experience company. Nashville, more so than a lot of other cities out there, would make a great test market for this concept because we couldn’t find anyone else in 2012 that was doing anything else like this.

What does an average day look like at Hip Hues?

We have a small core team, there’s Tracy, myself, our graphic designer Sophia but we have a larger part time staff that works our events as needed. Our day to day is different every time. We all kind of split up or converge on events as necessary. We have events every day of the week, during the day and sometimes at night. On top of that, my day to day is mostly meetings and networking. Sometimes it’s account management or managing the logistics of events. Tracy and Sophia are a little bit more in the office during the day. But a lot of it is just being mobile and having our trailer for events as necessary and really engaging in whatever our events require. 

What is your favorite kind of event to do?

That’s a hard question to answer. Obviously, it’s really fun for us to do events with kids. They really do think it’s magic. A lot of our staff members have been super great with kids and the kids’ enthusiasm is unparalleled. What I really like to do is corporate events like the 36/86 Conference. We’ve got a suit and tie, very corporate audience there and I love that for a minute or two with each person that comes up we’ve created something awesome, unique and an artsy Nashville experience. I really like bringing that whimsy to events and bringing a little bit of art back to people.

 Where do you see Hip Hues in 5 years?

In five years I would like to see us in a much more established presence in Nashville and mostly Middle Tennessee in general and definitely have taken steps into franchising at least regionally. 

Make sure to check out Hip Hues at the 2015 Governor’s Conference to see what this company is all about!