Leah Levy is an avid skydiver and, as the founder of Levity Hammocks & Swings, is a young entrepreneur to watch. We learned about Leah’s lofty plans at the top of the Summer and have been following her amazing journey since. And if you’re not too, it’s time for you to get on board.
A little background. Leah was bitten by the skydiving bug in her teens, jumped as soon as she hit 18, and in the four years since then has added close to 550 jumps to her logbook by jumping at every opportunity possible.
She is awe-inspiringly creative with a passion for the big picture who believes in a “Yes/And” as opposed to a “Yes/But” approach to life. Case in point, Leah found a way to balance and blend student life at Virginia Tech with DZ life at Skydive Orange and masterfully stitched together her Industrial Design coursework with her obsession with the sport. She didn’t reinvent the hammock, but she sure did reimagine it by salvaging non-airworthy parachutes into gorgeous, colorful, environmentally-responsible hammocks and swinging chairs.
What started as a low-key single-needle endeavor blossomed into an internationally celebrated idea when Leah launched her Kickstarter campaign in late June. Growing up, Leah’s mom instilled in her that the worst thing that could happen when you ask for help is that people say no. You done good, Mama Levy; they all said yes. Thirty days later, nearly 200 backers from 10 countries helped her crush her admittedly lofty goal of $25,000 by almost $3,000. BOOM!
As an all-or-nothing campaign, Leah’s backers weren’t required to pony up until the finish line was officially crossed. Translation: she only recently got her mitts on the cash. Never one to waste time, Leah used her time in limbo to her advantage by researching the best tools and equipment, brainstorming about operations and logistics, finalizing patterns and engineering new prototypes and, like a entrepreneur is wont to do, dreaming about Levity’s next chapter.
Leah also excitedly received parachute and gear donations that came pouring in from every corner of her growing network. Since the Kickstarter campaign, the number of donations has tripled. She is grateful for every contribution and swears she’ll never turn anything away, although stashing chutes here (her apartment and car), there (nooks and crannies at Skydive Orange) and everywhere (her parents’ house) does present a challenge. Some of the most notable donations have come from the PD Factory and Aerodyne (Supporting Our Community, indeed).
Having now ordered her requisite gear (heavy duty bartack machine, labels, tags, supplies), Leah is recruiting a team to get Levity officially off the ground. She plans to engage three to five skilled stitchers – likely a motley crew of folks from school – who know how to sew but who likely know nothing about skydiving or parachutes. And that suits her very well. Like the skydiving community, Leah intends for her company to have an olly olly oxen free kind of vibe. At Levity, everyone is welcome, everyone has something to contribute; it’s together we make a difference.
Stoked? Yeah, us too. Mark your calendar for the Levity Launch Party on October 6 at Skydive Orange.
The next few months are chock-a-block for Leah. Most every weekend she’ll be working as a parachute packer and camera flyer at Skydive Orange and during the week she’ll keep her eye on the many prizes ahead, including Levity’s online store launch, representation at the Parachute Industry Association Symposium (PIA) in Dallas and, oh yeah, college graduation.
Some of Leah’s professors and peers were surprised to see her return to campus following her successful Kickstarter journey. But the idea that fueled Levity is just the beginning; there are amazing things on the horizon – some of which she’s been noodling in her head, and others she’s yet to discover.
Literally. One of the ideas taking shape (and the topic of her senior thesis) is a mobile workshop. Somewhere between the Patagonia Worn Wear Wagon (Google it; it’s awesome) and a food truck sans the food, Leah will upfit her mobile unit so that it can serve as her primary fabrication shop, retail spot and homestead. The plan is to purchase the truck and trailer in January and have it ready to roll in May, just in time for the Summer 2019 boogie circuit. Genius.
If you haven’t already figured it out, Leah’s got brains in her head, a passionate heart and courage to spare … and she’s fixin’ to ease on down the road.
We’re all rooting for you, Leah. Happy trails.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.