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HippyTree branches out

Josh Sweeney. Courtesy of
Josh Sweeney. Courtesy of HippyTree.
By Shelby Stanger
July 27, 2011 7:00 AM

HippyTree is a relatively newer brand that has gained some attention in the last few years. Started by Andrew Sarnecki and Josh Sweeney in their garage, the brand has managed to break into some key outdoor and surf shops.

 

We caught up with marketing and sales director Josh Sweeney to talk about the brand’s growth and how they are moving from an at-once to more of a pre-booking business.

 

How is business going these days?

HippyTree boardshortsBusiness is good. HippyTree is growing rapidly, even in this challenging economic environment. We continue to expand and elevate our product offerings and have streamlined operations in our new office and warehouse facility.

 

The strategy to combine the surf and outdoor sports markets through our “Surf & Stone” platform is resonating with our retailers and customers. We’re excited about the future.

 

Last time we checked a few years ago you guys were a $100k company. How big are you now and in how many doors?

We’re a seven-figure company now. You can find HippyTree in over 400 doors spanning 28 states and 13 countries.

 

At the time, in 2008, you and Andrew were living and work in a small apartment, with inventory stored in the garage. Is that still the case?

Thank goodness, no. We are sad to have left the comforts of our cozy beach house, but it’s a relief to no longer be sleeping in our offices. We moved the business to a new office and warehouse in Torrance last September.

 

HippyTree hatsIn 2008, you were self-funded with bank loans and revolving loans from family. HippyTree produced two seasons a year, and borrowed money to fund production, then paid family back with interest as soon as stores paid for the clothes. You didn’t take pre-season orders, and instead hit the surf shops one or two months before the clothes, which were produced domestically, were ready. Is that how you are still doing business?

To date, the partners have funded HippyTree; we’ve also received some family loans from time to time.

 

We still produce two collections per year. We manufacture some items domestically and have moved the majority of our production out of the country. Starting with the trade show circuit this August, HippyTree will transition to the standard pre-book selling model. This is a key event; HippyTree will be included in retailers’ seasonal purchasing budgets and shelf space allocations going forward. In addition, this will facilitate more accurate forecasting and inventory management.

 

See page 2 for more on HippyTree's push in outdoor market, more

 

 

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