Hippo Hug had a great year in 2019. This thriving, Calgary-based company was honoured with a Canada Women’s Entrepreneurship grant as a female-owned business that is making a difference in its market. Hippo Hug was recognized not only because of its entrepreneurial spirit, but also because of its commitment to its customers.
The founder of Hippo Hug Leslie Brooks began her business out of her home in 2008. She was an early intervention therapist specializing in treating children with autism, and after researching the subject began to think that perhaps a weighted product might be good for one of her clients. Using her other passion for sewing, Brooks hand-crafted a weighted sleep sack … and it worked.
From there, Brooks began a weighted blanket company out of her home, which has since seen tremendous growth. Hippo Hug’s hand-made blankets are crafted by a dedicated team of tailors who put their heart and soul into every stitch to help people get the good night’s rest they deserve. This has resulted in the company making a name for itself as one that cares immensely for its clients, as well as the community.
In the past year, Hippo Hug has received several additional recognitions. Here are a few.
Finalist ― 2019 KPMG People’s Choice Awards
Part of the Small Business Calgary Award suite, the KPMG People’s Choice Award is presented to a small business in Calgary that can demonstrate how they have engaged the support of their community. It is the only Small Business Calgary Award that is decided by public vote, which points to the impressive reputation Hippo Hug has built for itself as a loyal Made in Canada company.
Finalist ― Social Entrepreneurship Award presented by CPA Alberta
Also part of the Small Business Calgary Award suite, the Social Entrepreneurship Award is presented by CPA Alberta. The businesses that were recognized are described as “leader(s) in finding ways of doing business while doing good for the large community and environment,” and that truly look out for what is known as the triple bottom line – people, profits, and plants.
In addition to creating beautiful, durable, and custom weighted products, Hippo Hug is working hard to have weighted blankets introduced into the medical market. Their medical grade blankets can be used in public healthcare facilities such as hospitals, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes as well as dental and doctor’s offices. By weaving the medical use of weighted blankets into the fabric of our healthcare system, Hippo Hug hopes to help those with a number of different conditions requiring medical care get a better rest.
Hippo Hug’s medical grade blankets can be used by multiple people without having to be laundered in between. This is because they come with a liquid-resistant wipeable material or a completely waterproof fabric. They are also made in a variety of sizes and weights to suit any patient. Brooks and her staff truly believe that weighted blankets have the opportunity to improve patients’ lives and increase their chances of healing faster and healing well.
Company Culture Award from Workforce Choice
Canada’s Workforce Choice Awards are presented by BOWEN Group and “are the best workplaces, chosen by the entire workforce.” Hippo Hug was chosen for its positive company culture, a description that is reinforced by its dedicated employees, collaborative problem-solvers who will always go above and beyond for each customer.
Of these recognitions, Brooks had this to say. “Being a finalist for these awards, especially Social Entrepreneurship, is so meaningful to me and all the staff. It really shows that we are growing the right ways and making the impacts on our community that align closely with our company values. It is touching to see that work recognized beyond our walls and motivates me to continue to find ways to connect and lift up the people we serve.”
Kudos from the University of Calgary
In November 2019, Brooks received a special nod from her alma mater, the University of Calgary. For their Careers in Motion series, which they say features “all-star professionals,” the alumni department staged a question-and-answer with Brooks about how she moved from being an English grad to a Calgary entrepreneur making a difference. When asked what advice Brooks might have for those looking to start their own business, Brooks said, “Go for it! Do it at your own pace and keep your values in mind and don’t be afraid of risks.”
In the article, Brooks also reveals a fun little secret about the Hippo Hug logo.
More Articles About Hippo Hug
Hippo Hug received a lot of attention in 2019, but there have been many other times when this little weighted blanket company that could was noticed for its innovation, integrity, and, most of all, humanity. Here are some other links to news articles and videos from major outlets around Canada.