Brains Behind the Brand: HippyTree

I recently sat down with Andrew Sarnecki, the founder of HippyTree.

His love of surf, nature, and photography played a prominent role in the creation of his brand. And what started off as just a tide calendar has quickly become a household name.

So without further ado, I give you the HippyTree experience…

State your name and your business
Andrew Sarnecki aka Hippy, I’m the founder and CEO of HippyTree.

I’m 34.

What inspired you to start HippyTree?
After college I worked as a designer at Body Glove Wetsuits in the South Bay of Los Angeles. I was into surf photography at the time and spent a lot of time documenting the local surf scene.
I started publishing my own little surf booklets titled “South Bay.” I distributed the booklets for free through surf shops. The local surf shops encouraged me to create something they could sell.
I took their advice and published a surf calendar and designed some t-shirts under the name HippyTree. That was 8 years ago. The brand has grown since then.

How did you come up with the name HippyTree?
My friends used to call me Hippy (I had dreads back then). I also wrote graffiti and my graffiti name was “Hippy”.
I would make the letter “i” in the shape of a tree in my graffiti signature.
I combined the name Hippy and Tree when I decided to brand my surf calendars and t-shirts under the name HippyTree.

Describe your typical “Day in the life”
I usually check the surf in the morning and determine if I should surf or shower. Cruise into work around 9 a.m.
I either spend my days doing emails and meetings or I don’t check any emails or do any meetings and just focus on creative work. It’s hard for me to design clothing and graphics and work on creative projects if I am being interrupted by emails and meetings.

Favorite pastimes?
Golf, ping pong and surfing.

Music/musician you’ve been listening to?
Lately I’ve been into old blues music.

Favorite word or phrase you overuse?
I’ve been told I say “rapping out” a lot. As in “I was rapping out with George the other day…”.

Inspiration for the brand? Inspiration by outside sources, music, art, TV shows,etc?
Nature, surfing, photography and graphic design.

How would you best be described in 3 words or how would you describe yourself?
I think most people would say I am a hard worker (I’m a bit of a workaholic),passionate (I pour my heart and soul into HippyTree) and creative (you can’t run a brand and not be creative).

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish my golf game were a little better.

If you were to come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
I’ve always envied dogs with good owners. They get a lot of walks and pets and get to nap all day. That sounds like a good life to me.

What things can you never leave home without?
I check my pocket for 3 things before I leave my house. 1. Wallet. 2.Keys. 3. Phone.

Vision for the future and mission statement for brand? and What is your motto?
Our brand platform is Surf & Stone. We actively participate and design products for the surf and climbing culture. We are not your typical action sports company and we are not your everyday outdoor company. We try not to follow trends and worry about what the rest of industry is doing and keep our focus on Surf & Stone.