It all began in Milford, Connecticut. The year was 1998, and from the papery depths of a Spanish language vocabulary journal arose the humble beginnings of Hippoville.
That year, the village elder (the author of the Adventures in Hippoville series), was finishing up his last year in middle school. At the time, inspirations from Scott Adams and classmate Matthew Pollock contributed to an experiment with a hippo cartoon character in that illustrated vocabulary journal. A culmination of those experiments led to a chalkboard mural in the last few days of the last year in middle school, to which a friend exclaimed, “Look it’s Hippoville!” And so the illustrated universe of hippopotami was born…
1998 – The genesis of Hippoville(TM) and creation of personalized Hippoville Birthday Cards, which continues year after year to present. In December: the first Hippoville Happy Holidays Card which was sent out as an E-Card.
2000 – June 15: Launching of first web presence with Hippoville Archives. A gallery of Hippoville Cards and a brief history is one of the features. In November: Joined Hippolotofus, The International Hippo Society. This was the first realization that there are other hippo aficionados. The village elder only stays in this group for about 2 years as concern for the species survival was deemed a more important and pressing issue than collecting consumer items of a hippo nature.
2001 – April: The Village Elder joined Friends of the Hippo, what was an online hippopotamus conservation group hosted on Yahoo! Groups (closed in 2005). Interest in curbing ivory and bushmeat poaching influenced a volunteer ethic that was developed in college, led to a class in graduate school and influenced a future business model in 2008. In the Fall: Began the Advanced Placement Studio Art class during the Village Elder’s final year of high school. As part of the concentration portion of the ‘exam’, the Village Elder was encouraged to create a body of work on a “Day in the Life of Harry Hippo”.
2002 – Spring: This body of work progressed into what would become Harry Hippo’s Flight. Due to the realities of the market, partly as adventure, partly as experiment and partly as business venture, the village elder soared into self-publishing. In the Fall: Started college.
2003 – February 8: The village elder read and signed books at Family Day at the UConn’s Co-op Bookstore. Succeeded in getting the bookstore to, at least temporarily, sell Hippoville books.
2006 – Summer: Began redesign of Hippoville Publishing website; placeholder anticipating Book Two publication in summer 2007. Began working on Hippoville Book Two in earnest.
2007 – Fall: Village Elder begins grad school. Pushed back Hippoville Publishing website launch to May 1, 2008. Ten Year Anniversary of the Hippoville universe.
2008 – Summer: Reopened Hippoville Publishing LLC, now in Rowayton, operating closer to a traditional publisher. Relaunch of website utilizing CMS system. November: First book new edition, second book published. Due to the demands of graduate school once again, Book Two, Harry Hippo’s Lake Party, is not “officially” launched.
2009 – April 25: First time that consumers get their hands on both books in their new editions, however locally, at the RISD Spring Student Art Sale. Around this time an experimental Facebook fan page for the Adventures in Hippoville series is set up.
2009 – Summer: Both books now on Amazon. Official book launch for Harry Hippo’s Lake Party on August 8th, 2009 at the Rowayton Library. Hippoville Publishing LLC joins as a publishing member of SPAN, the Small Publishers Association of North America (now known as APSS). Began work on Book Three.
2009 – November 20 to December 11: Copies of both books are put on display for sale at RISD Expose, a 3 week long pop-up store on Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island.
2010 – August: Village Elder ships off to the explore the mysteries of the Far East. December: First Hippoville card with non-latin language influence.
2011 – February: First, of a now continuing series, Hippoville Happy Lunar Year Cards.
2013 – June: 15 Years of Hippoville. July: First Hippoville Wedding Commission that results in the second-largest Hippoville drawing to date (The first Hippoville drawing in 1998 is still the largest at something like 4 x 12-18 feet). October: Launch of Hippoville Art Prints, a service to concentrate on drawings in the Hippoville universe.
2014 – February: First Valentine’s Day cards for mass production and first foray into third-party sellers.
2015 – January: Relaunch of Hippoville Publishing website on hippoville.com.