“Rad” and “cozy” are two words Olivia Hanson-Hostetter uses to describe her clothing business Sassy Babes Boutique. “I’d also use the words ‘innovative’ and ‘unique.’” The shop, located in a Chevy 3500 bus, opened in December 2013. Complete with hardwood flooring, vibrantly colored drapes, and loads of locally-inspired products, the big blue bus has been cruising around town for the last three summers, selling cute and creative clothing for men, women, and children that is made in, and inspired by, the Pacific Northwest.
Originally designed, locally infused, sassy, artful products.
A desire to share her artwork and a passion for traveling is what gave HansonHostetter the idea for Sassy Babes. “I was thinking of opening a shop but I didn’t want to be tied down to it.” That’s where the idea of being mobile came in. The bus was bought at a car auction, and with the help of her family, including her parents, sister, boyfriend, and nephew, the bus was renovated and decorated to create the shop.
“I was born on a sailboat,” said HansonHostetter, a life-long Bellingham resident. Now with her bus, she enjoys decorating with her own handmade quilts and freshly cut flowers that she puts in the bus’s old coin collector. “It feels like a second home to me.”
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
Within the colorful walls of the Sassy Babes bus you’ll find anything from skirts to shirts, onesies to bibs, headbands to stickers. “I hand draw each design and then get my art locally printed on the apparel.”
“I went with ‘babes’ because of it being a shop for babies, ladies, and men, and ‘sassy’ put a spin on it,” she said. “All the babes in one bus!”
Her sense of sass is expressed through the designs of her clothing, which allows her products to stand out among other Bellingham apparel companies. One design shows an image of a bee atop the word “TOWN” for example. “The Great North Wet” is another play on words she has printed on a lot of her merchandise.
Olivia’s idea for her designs are all homegrown, from the city and from her family. “Most of my art is based off things that I love. It has a Washington feel.” While one of her favorite products are the handmade patch trucker hats she sells, her nephew Radley is a big inspiration to her. The phrase “Stay Rad” is printed onmany of her products.
The shop hasn’t yet ventured out of the Bellingham area, but plans for a bus tour are foreseeable in the future, Hanson-Hostetter said.
Sassy Babes is opening again in April and can be found mostFridays at Xtreme Bean Espresso and Saturdays in downtown Bellingham.