A Clearer Vision

October 8, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Believe it or not, in the past seven years of running Ugmonk we’ve never written an official business plan. While we do plan out a general schedule for what we want to accomplish each year, we’ve spent very little time thinking through a higher-level strategic plan and vision. We’ve been fortunate to have a good bit of success over the years by figuring things out as we go, but we also realize there is a lot of value in having a detailed, focussed plan. Having a plan brings clarity, and clarity leads to action.

We recently traveled to the middle of nowhere West Virginia for our first-ever Ugmonk planning retreat. While we could have easily done this at home, it was extremely helpful to be in a different physical location isolated from all distractions. It also didn’t hurt that the place we stayed was a beautiful modern prefab house nestled in the woods.

We spent the whole weekend thinking through our vision for where we want to take the brand. Rather than getting caught up in building out features designing or fixing things, the entire weekend was dedicated to brainstorming. The beauty of true brainstorming is that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Brainstorming allows you to be unfiltered, not worrying about the validity of the ideas. Just getting everything down on paper (or a Google Doc) is extremely helpful. Once we had our giant list of ideas compiled, we filtered them down, organized them, and turned them into an actionable plan.

It feels great to return with a clearer vision and renewed excitement for the next phase of Ugmonk. We’ve just barely scratched the surface of our potential. Lots of exciting things in store :)

Here’s a few starter questions to get you thinking about your own business:

What is our mission?
What are our core values and unique strengths?
What have we done in the past that we should be doing more of?
What should we be doing less of?
What are our biggest bottlenecks or roadblocks?
What size to we want to grow the business to? How are we going to get there?

The Best Fans

October 2, 2015 | 4 Comments

We have the best fans. Seriously. This video wasn’t commissioned or incentivized. It’s just an awesome thank-you from a long-time customer and friend of the brand, Jason Zook.

I talk a lot about 1000 true fans and how much I value each Ugmonk customer. Jason, you are truly one of those fans and I can’t thank you enough!

Still a few 7th Anniversary Sets in stock but sizes are selling out fast.

Seven Years of Ugmonk

September 15, 2015 | Leave a Comment

We like to think that it’s been more than just luck that’s transformed Ugmonk from a creative side project to a lasting brand. Creativity, hard work, and devoted fans have been the ingredients that made us successful for the past seven years. Here’s to another seven!

The design of the 7th Anniversary Set centers around a clean, refined 7 and a special 7-sided shape called a heptahedron. These two elements are carried throughout each piece of the set. Only 300 of these sets exist, so once they’re sold out they’re gone for good.


Each super soft heather black 50/50 blend tee features the Ugmonk Anniversary 7 design printed with the a soft water-based ink and special woven hem tags featuring the heptahedron. Made and printed in the USA. Only 300 ever made.


The 7th anniversary heptahedron is precision cut from a one inch solid piece of raw steel and custom engraved with the Ugmonk Anniversary 7 on the front face. This unique 7-sided shape changes in appearance depending on what angle you look at it. Its hefty weight, smooth antique finish, and prominent 7 make a great display piece on your desk or side table. The subtle markings from the tumbling process make each one truly unique. Each steel heptahedron comes packaged in it’s own round mini tin.


Each 7th Anniversary Tee comes carefully packaged in a tin complete with a special letterpress label. Display it in your home or studio or reuse it to store odds and ends. Check out the video below to see the behind-the-scenes of of how these letterpress labels were printed.


To signify the limited edition nature of the 7th Anniversary Set we designed these solid metal cards, diecut with the Ugmonk Anniversary 7 and etched with the unique number of the set, 1-300.


I filmed a special behind-the-scenes look at the letterpress printing process for the 7th Anniversary packaging. Letterpress is one of the oldest forms of printing and has been around for over 500 hundred years. Though printing technology has come a long way, letterpress still creates a beautiful, tactile print that digital printing just can’t replicate. Watch the full process video here.

Original music by Vyking
Printing by Paper Meets Press

Look for more details about how I produced and edited the video soon.

Thanks for your continued support!

Coming Soon: 7th Anniversary Set

September 3, 2015 | 2 Comments

Things are finally falling into place and it’s all coming together! The 7th Anniversary Set release is getting closer and it’s turning out even better than we expected.

The release date is set for 10:00am EST on September 15th

This year I filmed a special behind-the-scenes video to give you a peek at some of the production process for the packaging of this year’s set. The full video will be released on September 15th, but here’s a teaser clip to whet your appetite:

Sign up here to be notified of the launch

Only 300 of these sets will be available. You’ll have to act fast to snag one.

3 New Minimalist Tees

August 12, 2015 | 1 Comment

Summer is in full swing here on the east coast which means every day is tshirt weather. We all have our favorite go-to tees but sometimes we need to add something new. We hope that one (or all) of these 3 new minimalist tees will become new favorites: JuggleRipple Effect, and Pinnacle.

One of my favorite things to hear from people is how many comments they receive from friends and strangers whenever they wear an Ugmonk tee. With light summer colors and minimalist designs these new tees will help you stand out in the sea of status quo. Pick up the 3 new tees here 


We received many requests for the Day & Night designs that we released not too long ago to be offered as prints.  Now they are!  These bold, minimal designs are a great way to liven up your walls.  Buy them individually or buy the 2 print set.

Grab the new tees and print in the shop >

Something New

August 6, 2015 | Leave a Comment

New things. Next week. Get ready.

Sign up here to be the first to know when the new goods drop.

Ugmonk X Krochet Kids intl.

July 22, 2015 | 3 Comments

Throughout the years we’ve been approached by a lot of companies wanting to collaborate with us. Although it’s tempting to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes our way, we turned down most requests so that we can stay focused on building and improving Ugmonk.

But sometimes the perfect opportunity arises to work with a brand that I care about and that fits nicely with the Ugmonk ethos. Krochet Kids intl. is one of those brands. When I had the privilege of connecting with KK intl. co-founder, Kohl Crecelius, a few months ago and he suggested a collaboration idea, it was the perfect project to team up on.

As creatives and makers we believe it’s important to highlight (and give due credit) to the person behind a product or project. We believe products have more value when you know the person behind a product. The reality is our world is very disconnected from this idea.

Together with Krochet Kids intl. we are launching an exclusive t-shirt and poster set to help further the #knowwhomadeit movement. Designed by me (Ugmonk) and hand-sewn and signed by women in Peru, each tee is available for a limited time at KrochetKids.org.


We chatted with Kohl Crecelius, Co-founder of Krochet Kids intl, to get an inside look at how they got their start, the mission behind what they do, and where they are headed next.

In a nutshell, what is Krochet Kids intl. and what’s your mission?

KK intl. is an innovative non-profit & a lifestyle brand. We exist to empower people to rise above poverty, and we do this through the provision of jobs, education, and mentorship for women in Uganda and Peru. 100% of the apparel, headwear, and accessories we sell are made at our empowerment projects in those locations and each piece is hand-signed by the woman who made it.

Why is showing who made your products so important?

As consumers today, we are extremely disconnected from the understanding of where our clothing comes from and how it is made. Our desire to find the least expensive items has forced millions around the globe to work in unfair conditions. We (as in all of us) have an opportunity to change this but it starts with education. As a brand, we want to educate people on not only how items are made, but how their purchase can create beautiful, long-lasting impact on actual people!

How many women to you employ around the world?

We employ over 175 women in the communities where we work in Uganda and Peru. They are two completely different environments, but two commonalities exist: 1) both communities experience extreme poverty, and 2) both are filled with amazing people who desire to create a better future for themselves and their families.

So many “charitable” brands seem to miss the mark on product quality. How have you guys been able to produce such high-quality products while not losing sight of your mission?

We knew from day one that the best way we could serve the people we wanted to help was to create the best product possible. So, that’s where we started. Creating great product was how we would sustain our work in the long-term because the bottom line is that people purchase what they like and what fits good. Our advantage was that we were our target market and we knew the level of quality – as well as the style – necessary to accomplish this.

What are some of the coolest unexpected opportunities that have come about since launching Krochet Kids intl.?

We have been fortunate to partner with and learn from some very amazing brands. Two years ago we partnered with Vans on a shoe collaboration. As a part of the launch we decided to take one of their professional surfers (Leila Hurst) down to Peru to see our empowerment project there. Not only did we show them the area, but we also took all of the women of KK Peru surfing! It was an incredible experience and a prime example of how empowerment is so much more than a person’s financial situation. The smiles and the confidence that came from these ladies surfing was nothing short of magical.

What are some of the biggest struggles about running an international brand and operating out of several different countries?

Logistically, there are plenty of challenges when it comes to our operations. In addition, we choose to work with the most vulnerable women in the communities where we work. This means that many of them have had little education and no previous training in apparel or accessories production. There is a lot of training involved to get them caught up to speed, but we do this because we believe it is what creates the most impact. All in all, I think the biggest challenge of them all is communicating all of this to a western consumer and helping them understand the complexities of how items are made and what it truly means to empower someone to rise above poverty. Our attention spans are pretty short these days.

What does #knowwhomadeit mean to you?

#knowwhomadeit is the acknowledgement that our products are much more than inanimate objects that exist to serve us. Acknowledging our products are made by people causes us to think about how our purchases are impacting them. Ultimately, it helps us realize that we have an opportunity to stand for something that matters as we are shopping.

Do you guys still remember how to crochet?

Absolutely. I don’t often crochet these days, but it was that act of creating that initially got us hooked (pun intended). It is a real confidence booster when you can create something that is cool and that other people enjoy (as I’m sure you know Jeff). That’s why we knew it would be impactful for others to learn.

What’s next for Krochet Kids intl.?

Other than this amazing collaboration with you? We are working on a lot of exciting projects. One thing we are extremely passionate about is helping other non-profits and social businesses improve and measure the social impact they are generating. We are in the process of building out some resources from our years of experience to equip others to do that effectively. It’s going to be fun!



This design was such a fun project to work on. The phrase Behind Every Product is a Person really struck a chord with me personally as a maker and designer. I started by sketching out a variety of layouts and knew I wanted to place the main emphasis on the word “person.” From there I worked through multiple iterations of the design integrating my hand-drawn script with the clean, modern typeface until I landed on the final piece that you see here. I’m really happy with how the final design turned out.

We live in a culture that’s quick to consume whatever is the cheapest, fastest, and newest. Rarely do we stop to think about who actually spent time to make the things that we use and enjoy every day. Whether it’s a craftsman in another country or a chef at a local restaurant, there are real people behind everything. I’m excited about the #knowwhomadeit campaign because it highlights those people.

Being a maker myself has caused me to consider which products I purchase and think more about the where and how they were made. I’ve been a fan long-time fan of Krochet Kids intl. and their transparency about how their products are made is what initially drew me in.


Buy the tee and print here >

Thanks for your help sharing the #knowwhomadeit movement on Twitter and Instagram.


Minimums Feature

July 14, 2015 | Leave a Comment

I just did a fun interview with a new site called Minimums. The concept behind the site is to feature “the most interesting possessions of the world’s most interesting people.” Though I’m still not sure that I qualify as “most interesting in the world” it was fun to think about 8 of my favorite things and what them mean to me. Some of the items I selected are based on utility and things I use every day while other items are more about sentimental value and the stories behind them. We often surround ourselves with so much stuff that we get lost in the clutter and lose sight of what things actually add value to our lives.

The beautiful photography for the feature was shot by Parikha Mehta, who’s also based in the same area of Pennsylvania that I live in. It’s cool how projects likes this connected me with another local creative who I may have never would have met otherwise. Check out more of Parikha’s work here.

Read my full interview on Minimums.com

Read my full interview on Minimums.com

Introducing Black Series II

June 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Last year we launched the Ugmonk Black Series with the thought:

“There’s just something elegant about the color black.  It’s sleek, versatile, and understated – a perfect combination for Ugmonk’s minimalist aesthetic.”

You agreed! And you can never have too much black in your wardrobe, so we’re adding 6 new items to the collection with Black Series Part II.



4 more of our best-selling t-shirt designs are now available in sleek new black versions: Plus MinusNever SettleSlow & Steady,and Lowercase. Pick them up individually or grab the 4 Shirt Set for $95.



Our super soft Mountains Crewnecks were a great addition to our Ampersand Crewnecks and now they’re showing their darker side. The new Black Mountains Crewneck features the custom-sewn felt appliqué in charcoal gray.



We’re also introducing this special Black Edition of our popular Premium Aluminum Ampersand. Each ampersand is cut from brushed aluminum and treated with a special anodizing process to give it a sleek black finish. The base is crafted from solid birch with an oil finish. A perfect addition to your home or office.



Can’t decide which items you like most? Grab the Complete Black Series II (all 6 items) and save.



We don’t do this often, but we’re running a special 20% Off Pre-Summer Sale. Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to restock your t-shirt drawer. Use the coupon code SUMMER20 to get 20% Off your entire purchase(ends June 16)

Ugmonk X Merit Collaboration

May 1, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Every 26 seconds a kid drops out of high school in America. Once a student makes that drastic decision it’s downhill from there. With proper teaching, opportunity, and resources that decision does not have to be made.

We teamed up with our good friends at Merit and designed this special limited edition 26 tee to raise awareness about this issue. 20% of the proceeds will go directly to fund college scholarships.

Each heather black tee is made in the USA and features the special 26 design, complete with custom Merit sleeve patch and Ugmonk hem tag. These tees will only be available for 26 days.

Get your own limited edition tee here.



This shirt/project is all about awareness. 26 influencers across the world have partnered with us to show their support for education. Together, we are working to spread the importance of this message. From May 1-27 each influencer post a creative photo of the 26 tee on Instagram with the hashtag #Every26Seconds.

We’d love for you to join the movement and pledge your support by ordering your very own 26 tee posting a photo with the hashtag #Every26Seconds.

Learn more about the campaign and grab a tee here.

Thanks for your support!