Skydivers are known for grabbing life by the horns, seizing the day and keeping it real … all the while keeping it light, going with the flow and not taking things too seriously. Their perspective is different from most ground-dwellers; they tend to dream a bit bigger, put their badassery into action to activate their passions, and see life as a grand adventure. Work hard, play harder; damn straight.
Leah Levy is a quintessential skydiver. She’s been obsessed with the sport since witnessing a friend’s first jump, and from that day on she secretly scrimped and saved so that as soon as she hit 18, she could jump too. Just four years in, she’s accumulated over 475 jumps and is fully immersed in the skydiving community and culture. Soon slated to graduate from Virginia Tech, she’s filtered as much of her Industrial Design degree coursework through a skydiving lens as possible (at times at the chagrin of her professors). And boy has it paid off.
At age 22, Leah is the founder of Levity Hammocks and Swings, a brilliant business idea that upcycles non-airworthy parachutes into gorgeous, super strong, mega lightweight, wonderfully breathable hammocks, hammock chairs, pocket swings, and several other products. Each design references parachute construction, with load suspension points, hardware, and line attachments, of course, and every Levity product is handcrafted from donated parachutes.
Leah started collecting parachutes last Summer after internalizing a major problem: spent parachutes are destined for the dump. Depending on the type of chute, canopies are made from between 10 and 80 square yards of non-biodegradable, sentimental and ultra-memory-laced ripstop nylon, i.e. a helluvalot of crazy-durable fabric that people to love to love. The textile immediately spoke “hammock” to her and after successfully making one knew she was onto something significant.
Think not knowing how to sew would be a setback? Pish posh. Leah harnessed some classic skydiver resolve, leveraged her amazing internship experience at United Parachute Technologies in DeLand, and got to work. In no time, she could sew and not just read patterns but make them. Boom. With each iteration unfolded an idea, which she geniously wove into an independent study course and then championed in her college thesis.
And now Leah is a legit entrepreneur. She launched a Kickstarter campaign on June 28 to raise the seed money needed to get Levity off the ground in a profound way. It’s an all-or-nothing campaign, meaning she keeps what she raises if she meets her goal of $25,000 … or she gives it all back if she comes up short. With less than two weeks left in the campaign, she’s 72% to goal and there’s no sign of a slow down. Her more than one hundred backers hail from across the US as well as Singapore, Australia, Russia, Cambodia, Japan, Cameroon and France. Voices the world over are cheering her on, and so are we.
Carpe diem, indeed, Leah. Get after it.
To learn more about Leah’s company, make a purchase, donate a canopy, follow her journey, or support the project, check out the Levity Hammocks & Swings Facebook page or find her on Kickstarter.
Editor’s Note: Levity’s Kickstarter campaign ends on July 28th. If you’d like to support this campaign, products are available starting at $5.