My whole life revolves around "keeping busy" or focusing on something that replenishes my soul with a feeling of gratitude and support. I believe I learned this from my mother, who exhibits similar creative tendencies: long hours attached to a particular idea or craft, a perfectionist drive and an enduring desire to accomplish what she set out to accomplish. I believe I may have gained my capacity to go “all in” from my father; a lifelong firefighter. It takes a lot of courage to dedicate your entire life to what you believe in, and that's what I have done.
I suppose my story starts in the small town of Gardner, Massachusetts. My first creative endeavor resulted in a collection of handbags & purses I designed and sewed together. I called them "Emjoy Bags", short for my name; Emily Joy Tenney. At the time, I was working at a children's clothing boutique called "The Velvet Goose". Splitting my time between my part time job there, delivering pizzas, and making/selling Emjoy Bags, I gathered funds so that I would be able to travel. Through an interest in W.O.O.F.ing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) I took a leap of faith and made my way out to Hawaii to live and volunteer on local farms.
After volunteering for a year on several farms in Hawaii, I returned to Massachusetts. Soon after my arrival back home, I was serendipitously offered the opportunity to nanny for a newborn baby in Brazil. The parents of the newborn baby were an American couple living in Brazil and working many hours at the U.S. Embassy there. I quickly accepted this once in a lifetime opportunity, and made my way to Brazil. In Brazil, I learned what it truly meant to live by my art. I befriended a local artisan, or 'hippie' as they are called in Brazil, and lived a double life. On one hand, I was a young live-in nanny responsibly caring for a newborn baby; and on the other, I was an American girl spending time with the local crafters and artisans who carried their lifework around with them at all times.
Half a year later, I returned to Maui, Hawaii and combined everything I had learned up until that point to really create the life I wanted to live. I resolved to find a way to live off of my art to support a free-spirited way of life, just as I had witnessed others doing in Brazil. Through trial and error and experimentation, I discovered that with enough focus, will, and creativity, I could accomplish anything I wanted. The name Gypsy Halos must have been inspired by something out of a Stevie Nicks lyric, combined with my love for travel and spreading peace and blessings. Overall, that's how Gypsy Halos originated. But Gypsy Halos is still growing every day. They say “your vibe attracts your tribe.” So by living a life of travels and commitment to my art, I was able to meet many similar creative friends on the island of Maui.
What is Hippie Rainbow Village?
Hippie Rainbow Village is a traveling music and art collective that was founded on Maui. Basically we were all living together exploring the island making music and making/selling Gypsy Halos. We wrote songs and filmed a music video called Hitchhiker Girlfriend. Other members of HRV include Soulful Chad, Kara, Amanda and Gabriel, Katie Brown, and my partner Alvi! Together we all chip in to make and sell Halos and we’re all a part of the Hippie Rainbow Village.
The Story Behind Emi & Alvi
Our favorite EDM festival is Ultra in Miami because that's where we first met in 2013! Emi was selling halos, and Alvi was playing music. We bumped into each other at the festival and were soon joined at the hip traveling the country, selling halos, and making love. Alvi soon came to be an integral member of Gypsy Halos. Alvi, also known as Alvaro Ramirez III or "The Daisy Dude" was born & raised in Miami, Fl. and is of Colombian heritage. He is also a musician & writer. In regards to Gypsy Halos, Alvi is the bizz whiz. He helps with everything from making the halos to online sales, website development, marketing, and promotions. Together as Gypsy Halos, we are living day in and day out with the motto, “all about the Halos”.
Our favorite festival for selling halos would have to be “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass”. It's a free three day music festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park! There is always something so inspiring and magical when we think about the 60's and 70's cultural movements; the people, the art, the fashion, the colors, and the flowers! We are inspired by anything that reminds us of the Hippie Rainbow Village; Moonhawk, Dustin Thomas, 90’s R&B or anything by Stevie Nicks! One of our favorite DJs is the Gaslamp Killer. We saw him play during his residency set at the Low End Theory in LA and we agreed that it was probably the best "DJ" set we had ever seen.
For the past five years, we have been concentrating on Gypsy Halos. We feel that now is a great time to combine our efforts and really embrace the community we have come to know and create. With the Hippie Rainbow Village brand we can begin to expand, include more artists and produce more art to support more people. From the bottom of our hearts, we feel like this is a step in the right direction!