Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

August 27, 2014 | 5 Comments

As you may know, we were planning to celebrate six years of Ugmonk with the new Limited Edition 6th Anniversary Set this Thursday but sometimes things don’t go as planned. We’re super excited about this year’s design and have been working hard these past few months to bring it to life. We did everything in our power to get it here on time, but we ran into multiple production delays and issues that are out of our control.

Assuming we don’t hit any additional speed bumps, we’ll be releasing the 6th Anniversary Set in approximately three weeks. Sign up for our newsletter for more updates: http://ugmonk.com/newsletter

We hate to make you wait, but we wouldn’t want to release anything that’s less than perfect. We think you’re going to love the finished product. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” In the meantime, here’s a special sneak peek:

We’ll be sharing more details about what we’ve learned through this process. Thanks for your patience and support!



Coming Soon: 6th Anniversary Set & Sale

August 18, 2014 | 1 Comment

Can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. I’ve been working hard on the upcoming 6th Anniversary Set and I’m really excited with how everything is coming together. It’s always a fun challenge to pull out all of the stops and try to raise the bar each year. Only 200 sets will be available and you’re not going to want to miss this year’s set. We’ll also be having a special 6-day Anniversary Sale.

Set a reminder for 10:00am ET on August 28.

Sign up here to be the first to know when the set drops: http://ugmonk.com/newsletter



Introducing the New Black Series

July 28, 2014 | Leave a Comment

There’s just something elegant about the color black.  It’s sleek, versatile, and understated – a perfect combination for Ugmonk’s minimalist aesthetic. Today we’re introducing black versions of 8 of our favorite Ugmonk items.

Pick up your favorite items individually or buy the whole set. Along with the new collection, we shot a special Black Series Lookbook so you can see the new items in action.

BLACK ON BLACK TEES

4 of our best-selling t-shirt designs are now available in sleek new black versions: MountainsAnd Then I Woke UpSeven Days a Week, and Horizon. Pick them up individually or grab the 4 Shirt Set for $95.

black-tee-set

BLACK AMPERSAND CREWNECK

Our super comfortable Ampersand Crewnecks have become a fan favorite and now they’re showing their darker side. The new black crew features the custom-sewn ampersand felt appliqué in charcoal gray.

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BLACK CARD CASE

The Slim Card Case is ready to help you minimize the clutter and carry just the essentials, and it’s now available in classic black leather.

card-case

BLACK LEATHER MOUSEPAD

If the traditional brown and natural versions of our popular leather mousepads didn’t quite match your desk, maybe this black leather mousepad will be the perfect complement to your workspace. Made from thick 8oz. premium black leather, it provides a nice cushion for your hand and a smooth surface for your mouse.

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BLACK AMPERSAND BASEBALL CAP

Handcrafted in Seattle by Ebbets Field, the new black version of our popular Ampersand Baseball Caps are super versatile. Made from lightweight wool with adjustable leather strap these hats are great for all-season wear.

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THE COMPLETE SET

Can’t decide which items you like most? Grab the Complete Black Series Collection (all 8 items)  and save. (Limited quantities available.)

complete-set

BLACK SERIES LOOKBOOK

Check out the new Black Series Lookbook to see the new collection in action.

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New Lookbook is Live

July 22, 2014 | 2 Comments

When shopping online it can be hard to tell how the products will look in person, but lookbooks help bridge that gap and show the products in context. Today, we’re excited to release a brand new Ugmonk Lookbook! (photography by our friends Bethany Olson and Cory Staudacher)

We also added some handy functionality with this lookbook that allows you to quickly jump to the products that are featured in these photos. Just click on the “+” symbols for more info about the items in each photo.

Click here to view the full lookbook














Click here to view the full lookbook

 



All Black Everything

July 17, 2014 | 4 Comments

Black on black on black. Coming very soon.
Sign up here to be the first to know when these products drop.



Offscreen Mag + Mountains Bundle

July 14, 2014 | Leave a Comment

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Offscreen Mag to create a special limited time bundle. Pick up an issue of Offscreen and our classic Mountains Tee for only $32 + shipping.

Offscreen is an independent magazine about people who use the internet and technology to be creative, solve problems, and build successful businesses. Captured in enduring print, it documents stories of creativity, passion and hard work that enable our digital lifestyle.

Kai Brach, the one-man-band behind Offscreen, started the magazine back in 2012 after being tired of the fast pace and ephemeral nature of digital design. Kai and I share a lot in common in what we do. Both of us wear the many different hats of designing and running a business, have a passion for creating tangible products, and face the many challenges that come with selling physical products. As more and more content continues to go digital, I find myself enjoying well-designed printed publications like Offscreen even more.

Grab the limited time bundle here.
The bundle deal is now over but you can still pick up a copy of Offscreen here.

Read more about the connection of Offscreen and Ugmonk here.



Fresh Exchange Giveaway

July 10, 2014 | Leave a Comment

One of my favorite parts about running Ugmonk is the countless other cool creative people I’ve been able to meet. Mike and Megan Gilger who run The Fresh Exchange are no exception. We first connected at Circles Conference last year and share a lot of the same philosophy about design, business, and life. Their blog is filled with beautiful photography, travel guides, and all sorts of other fun content and has become one of my favorite lifestyle blogs.

We’ve teamed up for a special Ugmonk giveaway. Visit this post to enter.


Click here to enter the giveaway on the Fresh Exchange blog



Messenger Bag Process:
From Sketch to Finished Product

July 6, 2014 | 47 Comments

Background

Ugmonk has always been about making products that I wanted to exist. Yes, there are thousands of different bags on the market to choose from, but I wanted to design a bag completely from scratch based around my wants while incorporating the Ugmonk aesthetic. The original idea for the bag started over 2 years ago but it was a long process to finally see the finished product through. Each new product is a learning process and brings on new challenges, but in the end it’s worth the work.

Concept Sketches

I started by sketching out a variety of concepts that incorporated the functionality that I wanted in a bag. I can’t emphasize enough how much it helps to start with pencil and paper rather than jumping right onto the computer. I also researched other bags, making notes of things I liked and didn’t like about each. The bag style that I eventually landed on is similar to a traditional postal messenger bag. One of the key things I noticed from those classic bags is how the shoulder strap attached to the back of the bag instead of the ends. This allows it to lay flatter against the body instead of bumping up against your hip while walking. These sketches helped me think through the various functionality and details.



Digital Mockup

I don’t have any sewing or pattern-making experience, but I knew it would be helpful to draw the bag digitally to get a more precise mockup to send to manufacturers. This also helped me figure out the dimensions and proportions for each part of the bag. Though some parts of the bag were altered during the actual prototyping process, this gave me a solid idea to work from.


Sourcing

One of the hardest parts of the entire process was finding the right manufacturer to work with. I wanted to find a place in the USA that not only specialized in this type of high quality bag making but was also willing to accommodate low minimums for the first run. I could have easily just found blank stock bags from a Chinese manufacturer and added some Ugmonk branding, but I wanted to produce a completely custom bag with the highest quality possible.

Since this was a completely different product than anything I have produced so far, I needed a place that would help guide me through the manufacturing process and give input based on their expertise. Many of the larger factories I contacted wanted a fully-designed bag to work from and didn’t seem to take a personal interest in helping me through the process. After contacting over 40 places I finally found a company in Portland, Oregon (with help from Maker’s Row) that specialized in making the type of bag that I was looking to produce. Moral of the story: don’t give up even when the search seems hopeless.

Materials

When researching materials to build the bag from I kept gravitating towards the combination of waxed canvas and leather. Waxed canvas is a rugged water-resistant material originally developed for fisherman and navy sailors back in the 1800s to keep them dry and warm. Not only is it durable and functional but it also ages beautifully with use and wear.

I’ve released a number of other Ugmonk leather products over the past few years and have learned about the different types of leather in the process. Most bags produced overseas use cheap bonded leather or faux-leather that breaks down quickly with use. If you’ve ever purchased a cheap wallet or belt and had the outer layer start to peel off and crack then you know exactly what I’m talking about. We chose to use full-grain vegetable tanned leather (similar to our other leather products) that is super durable and will hold up for many years of heavy use. The leather starts off a little stiff but softens over time and conforms to the individual use pattern. For example, if you tend to carry the bag on the same shoulder the strap will smooth out and form to that particular shape. Unlike most things, these materials actually get better with use and wear.






Early Prototypes

It’s hard to know exactly how the sketches will translate until creating the first physical prototype. After I had the first prototype bag in hand I noticed a number of things that needed to be modified and improved. For example, the original canvas that I chose was too thin and didn’t have enough structure making the bag feel too flimsy. Since I only had a sample swatch of the canvas it was hard to know that it wouldn’t work well for a whole bag, but that’s why it’s important to build out the whole product before proceeding with the full run. We also tweaked a number of other things like the length of the front flap, extending the back leather strip to help cinch the sides closed, and using more streamlined hardware.




Final Prototypes

After these revisions were made, some additional prototypes were produced to ensure the proposed changes and new materials fixed all of the issues. Each one of these prototypes takes time and costs money, but they are all part of the investment of creating a superior final product.

I could have easily cut corners along the way and used cheaper materials or simplified parts of the bag, but it was important to me that these bags were the best they could be. This means that our final production costs were much higher than anticipated. If our main focus was selling wholesale our retail price would have to be double what it is now but since we sell directly to the customer we are able to produce an exceptional product and still keep the costs as reasonable as possible.




Product Photography

It was an amazing feeling to finally have the finished bags in hand. The bags looked and felt incredible in person but I wanted to make sure that the same quality and detail really came through in the product photography. Too many people overlook this part when selling online and skimp on photography. This is the only interaction a potential customer will have with the bag and it’s vital that the photos reflect the quality of the product. I spent several days shooting the bags and designing the product page layout and flow. Scroll through the product page here to see all of the details.











Launching the Bags

After 2 years of work (on and off) it felt great to finally flip the switch and launch the bags in the shop. As with any product I never know what the response will be, but I was thrilled when the first run of bags sold out in just two weeks! I’ve learned a lot through the process (including how to be patient) and am looking forward to applying this knowledge to future products. Hope this gives you some insight into what happens behind the scenes to make these bags reality. Thanks to all of you who continue to support Ugmonk and help me bring new products to market!

View finished bags in the shop:

Charcoal Waxed Canvas + Natural Leather   |   Army Waxed Canvas + Black Leather

Sign up for the Ugmonk Newsletter to be the first to know when we release new products and stay updated with all things Ugmonk.



Brighten Up For Summer

July 1, 2014 | Leave a Comment

Sunny days, BBQ’s, fire pits, and pool parties. Summer is officially in full swing and everyday is tshirt weather. Today we’re releasing 3 bright new colors of three of our popular designs. We love black and gray shirts as much as anyone, but sometimes you need some color to liven things up. Check out the new tees in the shop.



Brighten Up

June 30, 2014 | 3 Comments

Coming soon. Sign up here to be notified when the new colors drop.