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Sunday, July 3, 2022

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Brandon Leibel graduated from SDSU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in television, film and new media. (Credit: Sand Cloud) Brandon Leibel graduated from SDSU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in television, film and new media. (Credit: Sand Cloud)

Ask An Aztec: Brandon Leibel

This Aztec is a co-founder of Sand Cloud, a beach towel brand.
By SDSU News Team

Brandon Leibel graduated from San Diego State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in television, film and new media. After college, Leibel sold life insurance at a call center in San Diego and “was miserable.”

One day at the beach, Leibel had the idea to make beach towels with a built-in pillow.

He, along with co-founders Steven Ford, also an SDSU alumnus, and Bruno Aschidamini, quit their jobs on the same day to start Sand Cloud Towels.

Now, Sand Cloud also sells a backpack that converts into a towel and accessories like shirts, water bottles and phone cases. The company is socially conscious with 10 percent of Sand Cloud's net profits going back to marine life organizations such as San Diego Coast Keeper and the Surf Rider Foundation. Sand Cloud also has a very successful social media presence, with more than 200,000 followers on Instagram.

1. Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?

My proudest achievements are having the courage to leave the corporate world to become an entrepreneur, growing the brand out of my apartment and into a 2,000-square foot warehouse in Sorrento Valley, and building a brand ambassador team of more than 15,000 people worldwide.

2. If you were to give current SDSU students some professional advice, what would you say?

I would say that right now is the best time to take a risk and start a business. You don’t need a lot of money to do so either, especially with social media and all the free resources out there. Never settle for a job you don’t love, and don’t be afraid of failure. You only have to be right once.

3. How do you stay connected to SDSU?

I love SDSU. I try to stay connected by keeping in touch with friends I made during college. I also love to follow SDSU sports, especially basketball.

4. Why did you choose to attend SDSU?

I always wanted to come out to California for college ever since I was in 12. I grew up in New York, but had family in Los Angeles that I would get to visit by myself every year. I always had the best time, and I really felt like I belonged out here. I was obsessed with the amazing weather, and being a naturally laid back person, I felt more comfortable out here. SDSU was the only school I applied to out west, and after I found out that I got accepted I knew that I was headed to San Diego.

5. What’s your favorite college memory?

There are so many to think of. I guess my favorite memory was when my fraternity’s softball team made it to the championship game. It was such an exciting game, and the stands were filled with our friends supporting us. I will never forget that night.

6. Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

My favorite class was actually political science, which is funny because it had nothing to do with my major. I took a class taught by Doc Stoddard, and it was so insightful and interesting to me. He was an amazing teacher.

7. What experiences at SDSU helped you grow professionally?

Everything at SDSU helped me grow professionally. SDSU was such an amazing learning experience, not only in the classroom, but also for me as a person. I feel like I matured socially, through amazing friendships and unforgettable memories. One of the biggest things I learned that helped me grow as a professional was the ability to juggle multiple things at once. As a business owner, I feel like I am constantly juggling several projects at once.