Imagine being asked by one NBA star (Duncan Robinson) to create an art piece to give to another NBA star (P.J. Tucker) that you’ve been dreaming to get your work in front of. Imagine it coming just several months after starting your business during the course of a pandemic. Imagine shortly after creating the piece for said NBA superstars, you craft another art piece in memoriam of an NBA legend that we tragically lost too soon (Kobe Bryant), and due to unexpectedly going viral on Instagram, you end up selling the piece to his longtime teammate and best friend (Pau Gasol). This has been the journey of Happy Life Wood so far, and boy has it been a unique one.
Happy Life Wood is Combining Craftsmanship with Sneaker Culture
By now, chances are that you’ve probably come across their work in some capacity either through TikTok or Instagram, but if you haven’t heard of them yet, you better believe you will soon.
Happy Life Wood appears to have all of the stars lined up for huge success in the art and fashion realm, and they were kind enough last week to sit down with us to discuss their journey, which you can check out below.
ONE37pm: Let’s take it from the beginning. How did this all come together?
Happy Life Wood: This all started in the fall of 2020. I worked in marketing for about 25 years, had dabbled in artwork a bit over the years and had dreams of giving up my full-time job to pursue it. I was never able to do it for one reason or another. Then during COVID I was laid-off, and it was no-brainer to take a shot at pursuing art as a career.
It was a lot of grinding. My son Stevie and I reached out to a lot of people and did a lot of cold-contacting to find work. We eventually had three pieces that were getting a lot of inquiries, and we really busted our asses to get in contact with people that could help us grow. There was a lot of uncertainty, but everything seemed to align. Getting in contact with those people has been the biggest part of our growth so far.
We’ve spoken with multiple brands, done pieces for NBA players, etc.
Stevie: I have to add that for almost two years, my dad had to sacrifice and take costs below what it should have been for exposure. It’s just now finally starting to catch up.
ONE37pm: How did the Pau Gasol opportunity come about?
Happy Life Wood: It originally started because I wanted to do something special for Stevie for his birthday. I wanted to make a picture of a sneaker out of wood, using the colors in the wood to make the artwork. I started cutting wood, sanding, shaping, etc., and it eventually started to look like a real sneaker. Stevie told me I was onto something, and I started developing new pieces. I wanted to challenge myself by creating a Kobe artwork piece.
That was pretty amazing because a buddy of mine posted the piece on Instagram, and it wound up being seen by Pau Gasol who posted it on his IG story. Next thing you know, I’m getting a DM from Pau asking us how he can purchase it, and that’s what set everything off. If it wasn’t for that moment we wouldn’t be where we are today. We got flooded with Instagram followers, and we had just created our page!
We still have a large West Coast audience, and we’ve gotten to interact with a lot of Kobe fans. We’ve even been featured on Kobe sites. Things actually got to come full circle when we got to link with the Mambacita Foundation. We donated 100% of the proceeds to the organization.
ONE37pm: What about fashion/apparel? Do you guys plan on getting into that?
Happy Life Wood: We haven’t really discussed up until now. We’re not fully into fashion yet, but we are starting to get our feet wet. I definitely want to use my artwork and brand to step into the fashion/streetwear space and continue to build exposure. I’ve had this dream of building the Happy Life brand, but haven’t really had that big of a platform until now. We’ve also built the social handles from scratch as well.
You can keep up with everything Happy Life is up to via Instagram.