It all started with a cookie.
"It’s a celebration of the power of nature, a tribute to creative genius, and a reminder of humble island roots."
In 1980, a young man by the name of Jeff Yokoyama (aka Yoki) founded Maui and Sons. The brand had humble island roots as a chocolate chip cookie company using a Yokoyama family recipe via Maui, Hawaii.
The cookie business venture didn’t last long, and Yoki turned his attention towards designing apparel for surfing and action sports. Maui and Sons’ clothing launched with bold ideas, a few thousand dollars, and a pair of madras surf shorts. It immediately became a success, and the surf industry would never be the same.
Aggressively marketing their unique design in Southern California surf shops and local high schools, Maui and Sons broke all the rules. Everyone told them that making their logo big and placing it on the back pocket was the wrong thing to do – but they did it anyway, and it became a staple in Southern California beach culture.
And the cookie? It wasn’t forgotten, it was melded into that Maui and Sons logo. Inside the cookie shape are elements representing earth, sea, sky and fire. It’s a celebration of the power of nature, a tribute to creative genius, and a reminder of humble island roots. The globally recognized logo is called “the cookie logo” to this day.
For almost 40 years, Maui and Sons has created products that represent an image and a way of life appealing to those who aspire to an active and fun-loving lifestyle, with respect for the California and global surf cultures.
While the focus of the company has expanded, the unique Maui and Sons style and illustration approach continues. Sharkman remains a staple in the art and representation of the brand. The embodiment of the core image of Maui and Sons, Sharkman has become one of the best-known global icons in the active sports industry.
Rick Rietveld, a Southern California native, began surfing in 1971. After studying at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Rick began working with Jeff on Maui and Sons. He held the position of creative director for 10 years, during which time his artwork launched the success of the company’s image and popular appeal. He has received several awards for his work, and has been featured in books such as Stoked: A History of Surfing as well as several magazines including Surfer, Surfing and Action Sports Retailer. Concerning his work, Rick says “My art tells stories of better lands, fairer seas, adventure, spirituality, beautiful women – but the story’s ending is left up to the viewer. It’s a reaction to my daily experiences ensconced in my passion of the surf and beach lifestyle that I have enjoyed for the past 40 years.”