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Meet the Vendor
Tori Hendrix of Sitting in a Tree Design
by Chris Carver
on April 14, 2015
Photo by Studio Castillero

First off: a HUGE congratulations is in order for the Hendrix Clan (Tori, Austin & Lucca). On March 10th at 8:14 AM, Tori and Austin gave birth to the beautiful 7lb 6 Oz boy - Golden Wilde Hendrix. That name immediately makes him a future movie star. There are also rumors that he came out with a passport and a ticket to Morocco in hand (this will make more sense after the interview).

Photo Cred: @rachelcast

Now the interview

Speaking of the Hendrix’s and keeping the popcorn game going, we were so excited when Rico and Rachel Castillero called out Tori Hendrix for our next interview. Tori has been one of those creatives I have been excited to meet for a very long time. For as long as I’ve known of Tori, she's always been this powerhouse of a woman who has such a cool style and great brand. Yet there is this inherent peacefulness to her work that draws people in. My goal (which I didn’t tell her) was to try and find out where that comes from. Dr. Phil---ish.

I think I found a few nuggets. Enjoy the interview.

Chris
Co-Creator - Lennd

Let’s set the scene - We decide to meet at a local coffee & beer shop in North Park called Old Hickory. Seeing that it was 9AM on a Monday morning and there was like 2 people in the place, it wasn’t too hard to spot a stylish, 8 month pregnant blonde, with a long flowy dress and moccasins with a comfy looking sweater.

Pretty quickly I find out she’s originally from my neck of the woods - Central California - and it allllll starts to come together.

So - tell me whatever first comes to mind.

Morning person or night person?
Morning

Favorite movie of all time?
That's a tough one. I guess if I have to pick right now - Father Of the Bride.

Favorite Alcoholic Bev?
Champagne

How do you take your coffee?
Iced with Almond Milk - always

Favorite Food?
Mexican - A good burrito

Cat Person or Dog Person?
Both - do I have to pick?

How many pets do you have?
4 (2 Dogs 2 Cats)

How many pets would you have if Austin agreed?
3 Cats & 3 Dogs to go with (3 Children)

What are your Pets Names?
Dogs: Bryiar (Bryiar Patch) & Violet (Too trendy for a child’s name)
Cats: Sailor (He’s white) & Tuesday (I just like the day of the week)

Biggest Pet Peeve?
People (i.e. clients) that don’t have trust - no faith in our abilities.

Yeah. People suck. :)

Favorite guilty pleasure?
Travel (I will spend money to go anywhere any time)

Least favorite part of your job?
Logistics - I’m a creative so that’s what my assistant is for.

Favorite Restaurant in San Diego?
The best sandwich place in San Diego - Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe - Great for a picnic.

So If your friends were a little tipsy, how would they describe your style?
Eccentric, Undone, Gypsy-ish.

Speaking of Gypsy-ish, I’ve been told you consider yourself somewhat of a sparkly one.
Hah. It's more fun that way!

Photo Cred: @rachelcast; Fox Sessions

Now for the hard hitting questions:

Is it true that you once cried at the site of a herd of elk?
Oh, yes! Anything animal related can bring me to tears. I'm a long time vegetarian and advocate of rescuing, and I can't even watch animal movies. It's just my cause.

Freakin’ old yeller. Wrecked me too.

What is this I hear about your pets matching your design aesthetic?
Ha. I'm really drawn to light colored animals, white, yellow, orange... a few years ago I started to notice that they blend in pretty well with my house, my wardrobe, and generally, what my husband and I kinda look like. It helps that the white pet hair at least blends in with all the white I wear!

“They” do say people look like their pets.

Photo Cred: @tori_hendrix; #violethendrix + #briarepatch

So - what’s your spirit animal?
A deer! Or a dog!

A dog, because I think they are loyal, I love them and connect with them.

A deer, because they are just magical to me. So quiet and peaceful. You catch glimpses of them and they are gone. When I was a kid....

When I was a kid, we had a cabin and we’d see them eating off in a distance. When I became a vegetarian I felt a bit more connected to them. The fact that they don’t seem to interrupt the cycle of life.

Speaking of being a kid. What did you want to be when you grew up (what were you dreaming about)?
Oh, a writer for sure. I would spend hours in my room pounding away on an old typewriter.

Photo Cred: Tori’s mom

So what’s 10 year old Tori writing about? Is that weird? :)

Basically fiction - I’m kind of an introvert at heart - so it was my happy place.
I wanted to write childrens’ books - I was reading a lot of Nancy Drew.

That’s amazing - I think I had the full set of the Hardy Boys - probably the only full set of anything I’ve ever read. Well there was Curious George. But that was more college for me.

Is writing still something you’re able to do?
Yes - I am writing more for myself now and try to write or journal whenever I find quiet time.

I would love to make it a habit to write and Journal. I honestly just freeze up when the purpose is to “JOUUURNAL” and the paper is blank. Then I get lazy and binge on Netflix. Kidding - kind-of :)

Well starting is the hardest part. Buts that’s true for anything. Sometimes in life you have to just do it and not overthink it. Writing is the same way.

I guess it’s like these interviews. I just had to start asking dumb-ass questions and you guys make these interviews fun and profound.

I’m working on a reading list from every creative I interview, so If you could recommend one book, what would it be? (Nothing cliche).
I read every night, it settles my mind. I love Steve Martin's Shop Girl for a bit of humor.

You mentioned your love of travel earlier. So besides home, where do you feel most at home?
Sayulita - for sure.

Photo Cred: Studio Castillero, @rachelcast, @ricocast; Hendrix Clan does Sayulita.

What makes it so magical?
Austin and I got married there and we just keep going back. It was our place in the world that we go to chill. It’s just so easy and relaxing, and I don’t relax very well. So it really is the place where I can do that.

It still feels really authentic, really safe. Super small town. You almost take over the town when your friends and family are all there for an event. It’s so charming in that it still has dirt roads, dogs but there is something for everyone.

It feels like this secret little spot.

Top 5 suggestions for me?
Here’s our recipe:

  1. Book a beautiful house near the beach
  2. Take your favorite people
  3. Buy lots of mexican beer
  4. Eat some tacos
  5. Relax.
Photo Cred: @tori_hendrix, Our style icon, #LuccaValentine, casually strolling through #sayulita.

Looking back over the last year of travel, what moment stands out?
Being in Morocco. We were in Marrakesh. It was this place that I dreamed of being there for so long and then we were there. It had this holy cow moment, where we were actually there. It was this total out of body experience and it didn’t seem like we were even there. The way it smells and the way it looked was so magical. There is color everywhere, fountains flowing and then you go into the center of the city and there are snake charmers, smoke everywhere. The experience of being there was intense and hard at times (i.e slaughtering sheep) but something I will never forget.

Photo Cred: @tori_hendrix; The Hendrix take Morocco Part 1

And where do you want to go next?
South Africa, Istanbul or Greece.

Sooo Boring :)

Do you typically have an agenda when traveling?
Sometimes, but I kind of just like to get out and walk. It’s the best way to see a new place.

Photo Cred: @autinhendrix; The Hendrix take Morocco Part 2

Has it been tough to travel with a young one?
Austin and I kind of made a conscious decision to try and not let having a child slow us down. It’s what we love to do. So we just went for it and it turned out that Lucca - is an amazing traveler. We just kind of strapped her to us (Morocco, Paris, Amsterdam).

Photo Cred: @tori_hendrix & @austinhendrix; Morrocco, Paris, Amsterdam #getlostwithlucca

Let’s talk business.

Is there anything in life that really keeps you up at night?
My own head. Constant ideas about how I can progress, change and evolve. Different things that I can do or create. It’s very hard to shut my brain off.

To shut it off, I have to read and turn off emails, social media. That slows me down mentally a bit more. If I am checking my email, then it’s all over and I am up all night.

At this stage in your career, do you ever feel challenged?
Oh sure. I feel challenged to keep up. In this industry it is a really young industry. There is always someone new that is so eager, they will work for free. You are striving to show how your experience sets you apart.

Anything creative there is always that balance of not devaluing what you offer. Not selling yourself short because someone else is willing to.

I honestly have to shut out what a lot of people are doing and be who we are. You can get bogged down by what everyone else is doing. Trying to compete doesn’t help. The best course is to be you, be your own brand.

Team Sitting in a Tree; @teamsitinginatree

Has there been anybody really, really influential in your career?
When I started out, I was really lucky and met the right people. We immediately had this support group of people that was just amazing.

I met Paige from Bash Please about five years ago and she honestly has been such a great mentor. So supportive to share information with me. To this day, if I need advice---Paige and Kelly are always there.

Paige & Kelly of @bashplease; Photo Cred: @abbyandlauren

Knowing what you know now, what one piece of advice would you give yourself when starting out?
Run with it. Follow your gut. And that who you know is everything.

Parting Wisdom.
A little something from Oscar Wilde is on the brain these days: “Always be yourself, everyone else is taken” :).

Who should we interview next?

Popcorn:
Jesi Haack. Jesi is so amazing and talented - she dreams up things that no-one else would think of. She is like no-one else (in the best way).

MY TAKE-AWAY

There were three things that really stood out to me about getting to sit down with Tori.

First, I was struck by how someone as successful and talented as Tori still feels the insecurity to keep up. The fact that she so naturally admitted this, made her even more of a badass in my mind. The reality is that we’re all driven by insecurity and ego, but it’s those that are able to recognize that natural human tendency and stay true to themselves (which she so clearly does), that end up becoming a more whole individual. And in Tori’s case, a more unique and talented creative.

Second, I was so impressed by how she so quickly gives recognition to others like Jesi Haack and Paige & Kelly, for her success. I really appreciate that these four ladies (Tori, Jesi, Paige & Kelly) are leading the industry in a way that promotes collaboration. They definitely don’t have to but I can tell you that it is going to do more for this industry than anything else.

Third and most simple. Tori clearly loves what she does and it totally shows. She’s aligned her life with her passion and she’s created an amazing career for herself. That’s something I aspire to in my life and hope you do as well.

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