Something Old, Something New: Meet That Hippie Co.

May 11, 2020

Committed to developing ‘new-age health stuff’ rooted in old-world wisdom, That Hippie Co. has gone from strength to strength since launching its first product a little over a year ago. And it’s only the beginning.

Apple cider vinegar: love the health benefits, hold the taste, right? You’re not the only one who thinks so, but That Hippie Co. was one of the first brands to do something about it.

“Our Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules were first or second to market, when we launched them in May 2018,” says Andrew Doenicke, co-founder of Sydney based That Hippie Co. “Essentially, we wanted to provide people with all the goodness of apple cider vinegar, including the enzymes and probiotic organisms the mother of the vinegar contains, minus the traditionally incredibly tart taste.”

There’s nothing new or revolutionary about positioning apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short, as a health elixir – far from it. And for Andrew, that’s the point.

“We’re not here to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “What we’re trying to do is make natural products with real, proven health benefits as accessible as possible for people, which means combining old hippie remedies with new-age health stuff.”

A Gut Feeling

It doesn’t get more “new age” than gut health. While the gut’s role in digesting food has long been known, it’s only relatively recently that science has shone a spotlight on both the influence it has on overall health and wellbeing and how, exactly, it exerts its power.

And with science comes awareness and human interest – humans like Andrew and his business partner Guy Dobson. “We were sitting around one day, both feeling a little bit out of shape and like our health could do with a bit of an overhaul, but we knew we’d have to find a way to go about it that didn’t rely on deprivation. In other words, we wanted to improve our health minus the ‘only broccoli and cabbage’ lifestyle.”

Enter gut health. After doing their research, Andrew and Guy arrived at its door, realising both its role in good health and that improving it doesn’t have to rely on being hardcore healthy.

The fact that ACV was already a regular in Guy’s household, combined with Andrew’s entrepreneurial flare, meant the duo had not only found a way to improve their own gut health, they’d found themselves a new business venture.

Just six months after the idea first landed, That Hippie Co.’s Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules hit the shelf. Since then, the brand’s Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic with Manuka Honey, Turmeric and Lemon, and Collagen Booster with Prebiotics Capsules have joined the party.

“We’re a small company so we can be, and have been, pretty agile,” says Andrew. “But another driving factor behind our momentum is that we all genuinely love what we’re doing.”

What’s in a Name?

If finding a brand name that has that certain ring to it is mandatory for success, That Hippie Co. has surely nailed it. Andrew credits Guy.

“He’s worked in radio for 30 years and is a devoted music lover, particularly music from the hippie era. Even our logo is a nod to that – it’s a cross between John Lennon and Jerry Garcia.”

And of course, the name is a beautiful fit with the brand’s ethos, not just regarding the type of remedies utilised, but also because of That Hippie Co.’s commitment to sustainability, supporting local suppliers and a long-term ambition to be 100 per cent organic, recyclable, all natural and GMO free.

It also provides the perfect slice of scope when it comes to which products might come next for the brand. “We’re always working on the next thing and have one or two new products in development that will be ready for release soon, with plenty of other ideas in the pipeline.”

If Only They’d Known…

Andrew says That Hippie Co. is living proof that you don’t need to know everything before you get into the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business.

“When we first started we had no idea how much we didn’t know about the technical aspects of FMCG. It hasn’t all been beer and skittles, and the truth is we’re still learning.”

While the brand has relied on Andrew’s business experience, three other things have made the world of difference at That Hippie Co.:

  • The right team. “Every person who is part of our team brings a specialty or area of expertise to the table. So, while our path got slowed down early on by all the stuff we didn’t know, we’ve surrounded ourselves with people, including an in-house naturopath, who have the specific skill sets we need to grow.”
  • The right branding. “Something wasn’t right about our original packaging design, so we made the decision very early on to reinvest in that part of the business. We wanted to create something more in line with our ‘fun but not silly; informal but not sloppy; joyful but not blasé’ voice. We couldn’t be happier with the redesign. It’s a much better fit for us.”
  • The right distribution channels. “We partnered with Unique Health Products, which is a relationship that’s a genuine partnership. It’s helped us immensely with national distribution. Exhibiting at the 2019 Naturally Good show was also a bit of a coming-of-age moment for us as a brand and allowed us to reach more potential distributors. We put a lot into it and felt we did really well.”

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