Surfers and co-owners Andy Olive and Christian Routzen started San Franpsycho more than a decade ago. In March, they celebrated the opening of the San Franpsycho flagship store on Divisadero Street.
After much chasing, we managed to catch up with San Franpsycho co-owner Andy Olive to ask him a few questions.
How did San Franpsycho start?
Christian started documenting the lifestyles of our group of friends with the first video in 2001. The first video—and by video I mean VHS—came out shortly after and we had a huge party to show the film. It was based on the surf community of SF-based surfers and friends from Hawaii and Santa Cruz. From then on, the momentum carried us into making another film, which took a couple more years to produce mainly because of the fickle conditions at Ocean Beach.
How did you and Christian meet?
We met in SF when we were 18 and 19. Christian is from Ventura and moved up here to attend SFSU. I was born in NY and moved here when I was one year old when my dad got a job through The Chronicle with the newspaper guild.
How has San Franpsycho evolved from how it originated to what it is today?
We feel that we are a much more community-based company today and more focused on the clothing, art and business side of the company as opposed to when we first started with surf videos and parties.
What’s in the future for San Franpsycho?
We are hoping to continue to be involved with local artists on our clothing, local businesses that work that work on forming relationships that will highlight the artistic talents of the city’s people, and taking part in projects that are relevant to us.
For example, last September I went down to El Salvador with the group Surf for Life and we built a high school in a town that didn’t have one. San Franpsycho was able to help with fundraising here in the city and we are going back down this August to complete the project.
We are also trying to initiate projects that will benefit our local community. I’m working at a preschool (ages two to five) and we give percentages of our sales through the families back to the school.
What about your first shop, 1314? How will it differ from the San Franpsycho flagship?
1314 is a partnership we have and it’s been a wonderful experience being involved with the North Beach community. It has such a great, live energy down there with such a rich history. The SFP flagship differs because we are in control of the whole operation and it will reflect our brand and the local brands we are choosing to carry 110 percent.
Can you give a little insight into your design process?
It just comes to us, like epiphanies. Sometimes we are inspired by scenes of the city, other times designs come up in conversation. Lately our good friend and major part of SFP, Jon Carr has been taking charge of the designs.
I have to laugh because I don’t consider myself an artist, yet people were digging our stuff in the early years. Now that Jon has taken charge, our look has really improved, from the clothes to the design of the store.
Do you guys print all the San Franpsycho goods here? (Referring to the shop’s screenprinting setup)
From here on out, we are printing all garments here.
How did you pick the location for the new flagship?
We were looking for a couple months, deciding between the Mission and Divis area. Nothing against the Mission, but Divis is SO RAD! We had so many friends here already; it’s in the middle of the city, still close to the beach for a quick lunchtime surf and close to some of the best restaurants, coffee shops, bars and music venues in the city.
A lot of people come into the shop saying, “This neighborhood is changing so fast.” I agree, the whole city is changing. I’ve lived in the Sunset since I was two and that’s changed loads for the better.
I watched AT&T—or is it Pac Bell?—Park go up when that area was just empty lots and after-hours clubs. Change in this city is good as long as the local community isn’t ignored or pushed aside. We are hoping to add to the already existing community that surrounds the Divisadero area.
In addition to San Franpsycho goods, whose other stuff are you selling? The jewelry is amazing!
A: Christian found these bags from Byrna, a local designer and people are loving them. Adrienne is the designer of Tooth N Nail. She, her husband and I surf together and they are part of the Ocean Beach community. Two kids deep into life, still creating awesome jewelry. We want our shop to showcase the artistic talent the local community of SF has to offer the world.
Image: San Franpsycho flagship storefront, courtesy San Franpsycho