HHV is a mail-order business for records and clothing, founded in 2002 by Thomas Ulrich in Berlin-Friedrichshain. The company’s very first steps were made at the end of the 1990s, in a time when the world’s knowledge was still slumbering in solid shelves packed with encyclopedias and when rare hip hop vinyls were much further than just a mouse click away. It was in those days when Thomas Ulrich and his friends were completely absorbed in records – listening to them, collecting them, loving them. Quickly, the collecting and swapping turned into a passion, eventually turning into a business.
Hip hop from the U.S., especially off-mainstream hip hop, was hard to get, and even harder to get on vinyl, let alone the costs you had to pay. The idea to solve all those problems was the origin of what was to become hhv in 2002. Our range of products, originating in rap-music, was quickly to expand in accordance to our employee’s likings – we grew into the direction of soul and funk, later towards all facets of pop music. More and more genres were starting to enrich our repertoire, while the criteria were no longer based on a certain style, but rather on the music’s quality.
This applies not only to our music but also to the clothes and shoes that were finding their ways into our product line. Inspired by our advertising campaign’s art works, we started to print images designed by LGB5 on shirts, sweaters, hoodies, bags and baseball caps, creating a small apparel-line referring to what’s dear to us: Beats and sneakers.
When looking for our formula for success, you’ll find it close to the heart: it’s passion and love for what we do, nurtured and grown over the years. Those expecting a large-scale enterprise or an empire behind HHV, will be disappointed: We’re just a bunch of normal people, true to our beloved Friedrichshain neighbourhood. We get to work by bike and many of us have been spotted pushing buggies through the streets. We’re looking and planning ahead – in the most natural manner.