On the Line: Jai Snowdon and Ryan Lopiccolo of Pie-Not, Part Two
Photo by Eleonor Segura
Men. Boys. Guys. Take two dudes who find something in common, and you've got friends for life. The team of Snowdon and Lopiccolo were able to put their experiences in design and retail to practical use. They also managed to incorporate eating and their love of surfing and turn it into a thriving pie shop. Brilliant, right?
Read our interview with Jai and Ryan of Pie-Not, part one. And now, on to part two. . . .
Can you tell us Pie-Not's connection to surfing? Jai Snowdon: Well, in Australia, the meat pie is like the unofficial national food . . .pretty much Australia's hamburger in relation to popularity and heritage. With Australia being mainly coastal living, the beach and surfing is a lifestyle for many. Before or after a surf, you'd fill up with your favorite flavor of meat pie from your local bakery. It's just tradition. Also, Jai has worked as a designer for many surf companies (he still continues to freelance) such as Quiksilver, while Ryan worked for a local Newport surf shop, Surfside, doing their online store.
Hardest lesson you've learned: Both: If you want it done right, you need to do it yourself. It's the perfect quote for us both.
Where did you grow up? Snowdon: I grew up all over the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, but mostly down the Palm Beach Currumbin area. I came to the US in 2010 to see friends in Orange County, met my (now) wife and here I am.
Lopiccolo: I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana 'til I moved to Newport Beach with my Mom.l I absolutely love going home any chance I get. How did the collaboration occur? Lopiccolo: We met through Jai's wife, and I also used to live with an Australian friend of mine that Jai knows from his hometown. As soon as we met and got chatting, we were immediately milling over business ideas and work/life balance. We both wanted to get out of the nine-to-five, bean counter work style and start something for ourselves. Having lived in Australia and LOVED the meat pies, it was a given that the OC needed something new on the menu, and Pie-Not was born.
Ryan: Why are you nicknamed "the seppo" (per Pie-Not's website)? Lopiccolo: It's an Aussie slang word for Americans. It's a little rude. Not going into too much detail, but it's pretty funny if you know the meaning.
What's your favorite childhood memory? Snowdon: Surfing trips with my Dad and friends. Getting up at 4 a.m. and walking miles and miles to find the best surf is something I miss a lot.
Lopiccolo: Fall in New Orleans and going to the French Market to pick out pumpkins for Halloween.
When you're not in the shop, what are you doing? Both: Surfing for sure, or some type of fitness. We are always trying to get a surf in. Being at work when we know the surf is good is hard, but our business comes first. Last song playing on your radio: Snowdon: I've actually been listening to a friend's new band from Australian called Drag Mondays. They are touring with Black Sabbath next year.
Lopiccolo: James Brown radio is a constant in my Spotify radio choices.
Last book read or movie watched; how was it? Snowdon: I just did all of The Hunger Games by audiotape . . . does that count? Movie was better.
Lopiccolo: The Wolf of Wall Street; it was pretty entertaining. And the last movie was What to Expect When You're Expecting. I felt scared.
Last thing you looked up/searched online: Both: Probably some type of kitchen equipment. We are always researching and learning about new equipment we could use, or developing non-traditional ways to use traditional equipment.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? Snowdon: Designing clothes. I still do a little freelance in the surf and fashion industry, but I'd love to do a line. Lopiccolo: Some other type of entrepreneurial venture where I'm not stuck behind a desk.
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