A small Truckee-based business is doing big things and big companies are taking notice. Bigtruck Brand makes popular apparel and specializes in trucker hats. “Lots of color and great design,” explains Bigtruck President and CEO, Galen Gifford. "You pick it - we stitch it. It's really cool." He says the lively lids not only represent the “fun-first, feel-good lifestyle brand” Bigtruck promotes; they also encourage creativity. "You pick a hat style, pick a patch and pick a thread color and we'll custom sew it - right here on the spot for you."  Each hat is one-of-a-kind and made with upcycled material. The Bigtruck Brand headquarters in Truckee has a “hat bar” in the front and a factory in the back, where sewing pros have stitched up hundreds of hats.

Galen co-founded the Bigtruck Brand with his North Tahoe childhood buddy, Kelsen Thompson. In 2010 they traded high-paying professions for their hat-making passion. “I was selling $5,000,000 lakefronts and then I decided to stop that and sell $30 hats.” But you're happy?” I ask. To which Galen responds, “Absolutely!" The young entrepreneurs are happy living their brand of “fun first and doing what you love.”

The Bigtruck Brand hats are taking off with locals to celebrities, reality TV stars and even Olympic athletes. Skiers Julia Mancuso and Jonny Mosely have been spotted wearing Bigtruck hats around the globe. Photos from Bigtruck fans have also been collected from Machu Picchu, Shanghai and Sochi. Stitching up smiles motivates Kelsen to keep going every day. “I wake up with the biggest smile. It's such a cool feeling seeing them out there."

The hats were picked up by specialty retailers like Tahoe resorts. Whole Foods and Scheels also sell the hats. They sell for $20-$35. To learn more, log onto