T-Shirt Shop Interview: Crooked Monkey

by on July 5, 2012

What’s your name, and the name of your shop?

Micha Weinblatt and Josh Fein.

Crooked Monkey T-shirts.

Any significance to the name Crooked Monkey other than it’s kooky and fun to say?

The Company got its name on a trip during college, on which we observed some interesting monkeys doing some questionable things. Picture the Hangover 2 but with less cocaine.

Where are you from?

Potomac, Maryland.

Do you have a bricks and mortar store?

Not at the moment.

When did you launch your business?

Crooked Monkey was started in 2005 at the University of Maryland at a bar called Cornerstone. This is a picture of us running around campus in 2005 with monkeys hanging out of our car.

Tell me about the re-launch?

It took us almost a year to get everything the way we wanted, but it finally came together. We like the character of our old site but it was clear that it was difficult to navigate. We wanted to work on something that would keep the Crooked Monkey flair, but that would also make it easy to find your favorite Crooked Monkey tees.

What was the inspiration for launching a t-shirt business?

As an excuse to never sit in an office, behind a desk, wearing a tie, looking unhappy. Crooked Monkey was a way for us to have our cake and eat it too.

What differentiates your shop from all the others on the Internet?

Where should I begin. Let’s start with quality. Our shirts are second to none. Soft, fitted, they make you feel like a rockstar. Our monkey, printed on the back of each shirt, lets you know that you will have an authentic Crooked Monkey experience and joins you with the legions of other Crooked Monkeys. Our humor, what can I say, we’re funny, in a subtle way. And our graphics are legit. Put all that together, and you get a C monkey t-shirt.

How’s business?

This year has been great, grand, wonderful. We just got into Universal Gear, South Moon Under and Pacific Sunwear. We’re pumped about that. We just relaunched our site, and people seem to be liking it. It really all comes down to the loyalty of our customers—which we greatly appreciate. So a big thank you to all of our fans that have been with us from the beginning.

What are the best times of year for t-shirt sales?

It’s always T-shirt time. But if we had to choose, it’d be Summer. Kicking back a cold beer, throwin on your favorite t-shirt, and heading to the beach (well not in that order, because then we’d be condoning drinking and driving, which we don’t).

Where do you get your designs?

We listen. Most of our favorite t-shirts are lines we hear in the middle of a conversation. Exhibit A: I said to my roommate: “Hey, wanna hit the gym.” Roommate responds. “Eh, there’s always tomorrow.” And hot damn, we’ve got our new best seller!

What kind of shirt stock do you use? Why?

We use a few types of shirts: a 100% Cotton 36 singles Combed Ring Spun Cotton T-shirt, a 50/50 Poly Cotton Blend, and a 50/25/25 Triblend T-shirts.

Where do you see your business in a year?

On the wholesale side, we will continue to find new retail outlets that share the Crooked Monkey vision, and want to spread the Monkey love. And we’re looking at some opportunities in Japan. We’re also looking to really focus on our website and connect with our customers in a meaningful way.

What’s your favorite design currently?

As of last week my favorite was Lincoln NYC — a Nice little homage to John Lennon and my Favorite city, but we also just came out with No Lifeguard on Duty. This one brings me back to Bethany Beach, MD. Pretty much summer incarnate.

What sells more men or women’s shirts?

It’s about 60/40 Mens t-shirts to Women’s tees. Personally I think Women just like to try things on more than Men, which gets complicated when shopping online.

Is there a subject matter that you sell most of?

We have a thing for animals in sunglasses. And it looks like they’ve got a thing for us.

What are the top three selling designs at your store?

Brooklyn Cat, Livin the Dream, Lincoln NYC.

Where can people find you?

Crooked Monkey: Livin the dream since 2005.
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