Ugmonk

Yo! Podcast - Published 19 Feb 2020

Jeff Sheldon (@ugmonk) is the owner, designer and driving force behind the brand, Ugmonk. From humble beginnings entering t-shirt design contests to raising over $400k on kickstarter for the Gather desk organizer, Ugmonk is no overnight success. Jeff has consistently been shipping meticulously crafted products for over a decade and in-turn amassed a huge loyal following. We chat about his blend of business and personal branding, minimalism, effective social media channels, how he avoids burnout, Philly Cheesesteaks and the magic number for free shipping in the US.



Conversation Topics:

  • 01:00 – How does one master a Sourdough?
  • 01:50 – Is a Philly Cheese streak sandwich worth the hype?
  • 02:25 – Did you intentionally blend your Jeff Sheldon personal brand with the @Ugmonk brand online?
  • 06:11 – How did you grow your “1000 true fans”? – asked by Darshan Gajara from Product Disrupt
  • 08:02 – Intermission: True False Maybe
  • 08:44 – Would you ever take outside funding for potential bigger scale machinery or are you set on bootstrapping?
  • 10:01 – Is it impossible to announce upcoming product launch dates when reliant on so many different manufacturers?
  • 11:25 – Do you have a set social media strategy?
  • 13:28 – What are you most effective means of advertising and what platforms do you invest most in? – asked by Carl MH Barenbrug from Minimalissimo
  • 15:10 – Intermission: Rate the ROI of your social media channels
  • 15:46 – How effective is your newsletter and do you only have 1 list?
  • 16:32 – Would you recommend starting on Big Cartel like you did or just leap straight into Shopify?
  • 17:28 – How do you avoid burnout? – asked by Liam Thomson from förfriska
  • 19:04 – Intermission: No Context
  • 19:40 – Would you call yourself a minimalist?
  • 20:59 – Have you done anything to tackle the issue of waste within the online shipping industry plus the waste of unwanted clothing? – asked by Daniel Mee from Australia.
  • 22:37 – Is $99 for magic number for free shipping in the US?
  • 23:45 – Intermission: Shameless self-promo for my Landing Page Audit service.
  • 24:19 – Is there a ceiling to where you could take Ugmonk? Why not tackle for all productivity products or even chairs?
  • 25:50 – Who is the one person you’d love to collaborate with on an Ugmonk product?
  • 26:53 – Outro music


Transcription:

Rob HopeRob:

Yo, Jeff, welcome to the show, my man.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Thanks for having me, Rob.

Rob HopeRob:

Cool. So, I love this part of the show? Everyone listening is either on their way to work, starting up on the treadmill, just waiting for some startup wisdom. But I'm going to kick things off with the most pressing topic for me. How does one master a sourdough, Jeff?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Ah, yes, it's funny you mention that. I actually, just before we got on this recording, was getting some dough prepped. It's a long, like three-day kind of prep process for sourdough, and I was down there mixing up some flour and water so that it's ready to go for tomorrow.

Rob HopeRob:

Epic. So like, is it mastery?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I'm far from a master. I would say I'm a novice that is just kind of... I dove headfirst into the sourdough world, and now I'm addicted both to the making and the eating of it.

Rob HopeRob:

Amazing. So, born in New Hampshire, but spent most of your childhood in Pennsylvania. You know, I've never been to America, but of course heard of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Is it all that it's hyped up to be?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, that's one of Phillie's greatest claims to fame, the cheesesteak. If you ever come, you have to get a legit cheesesteak. I would say it is worth the hype, but it's not something that you would eat often.

Rob HopeRob:

Calorie fucking sandwich.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Full of grease and calories and deliciousness. But you may not feel great afterwards.

Rob HopeRob:

Okay. So I'm actually not going to chat about your backstory? You've done quite a few podcasts. I more want to learn about the execution so that your listeners can learn from you. But also, I want to know a bit about you as well? I'm really interested how you've blended the Ugmonk brand with Jeff Sheldon online.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Mm-hmm.

Rob HopeRob:

I'm wondering if that was intentional?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, so that was not intentional, other than the fact that I didn't overthink it. So from the beginning, I wasn't trying to build a personal brand, this was 2008, I was launching a side project. Nobody even talked about personal brands, there was no social media. There was forums and blogs, but nobody was really even thinking about that distinction of how can I create the Jeff Sheldon brand, or how can I create a separate entity that seems bigger than me? It was like, I was just kind of doing it as a side project. And over the years, Ugmonk, which is the name of my brand and the company, and me as Jeff, the artist and the designer, were really just always one thing. It was my username, it was my website. I never intentionally thought oh, I should make this all blended together so when you go to my Instagram, you're going to see pictures of design and t-shirts...and sourdough, and pictures of my family. Like, that wasn't like a strategy, it was more of this happened. And over the years, I do believe it's one of the strongest things about what Ugmonk represents because people know there's a human behind the brand, they know that I'm creating the products that they're buying. And I think people really latch on to that, they want that relationship and connection to the creator rather than this facade of some perfectly curated, larger brand.

Rob HopeRob:

Do you feel it can backfire sometimes because there's certain things you'd maybe want to share? Like hey, I'm going to this cool place, in New York, but then you're like, actually, maybe Ugmonk customers wouldn't want to see that?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Oh, for sure. I mean, I think sometimes I overthink it now, and I've become... So, as Ugmonk has become more of an identity, and people know it for certain things, are associated with certain things, I think I've been more cautious or I tend to overthink should I post this, should I not, is this Ugmonk worthy, is this curated enough, does this look...? And I'm trying to actually undo some of that, and get back to, like what, I've always just been posting stuff that I like, talked about stuff that I like, this is...I want to be as authentic as I can. Even though the word, #authentic is way overused. But the idea of if you and I were sitting down grabbing coffee, it would feel just like you're reading one of my emails, browsing my website, following my Instagram. I don't want to portray anything different, but it can be hard when you have...when you know there are people watching, and ready to point out the discrepancies.

Rob HopeRob:

It's super interesting. I think you went to New York recently, and you were reviewing restaurants, and you were just giving little ratings?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

It was really just a fun trip, and I ended up just posting a bunch of spots that we went to for fun.

Rob HopeRob:

For me, sitting here in Cape Town, I found that just so interesting, and I wanted more. But I get at the same time, you can't kind of bombard people with just, hundreds of posts a day when you actually want to promote products.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, it's a hard balance. And I don't know, I'm open to hear...I think I actually need to hear more from people like yourself, and people that follow the brand. Because whenever I talk to them, they want more of that non-product, non-Ugmonk related stuff too, mixed in. I've thought about should I create a separate account for that? Should I separate an Ugmonk brand account? But honestly, I think I should just...it comes down to people do... If something is well done, and thoughtfully curated, and talked about, that's what we as humans latch on to. So people do, like when I post random little restaurant ratings of, my favorite donut places or coffee places in New York, that was really just...there was no strategy behind that at all. It was literally I think I'm going to do this for fun. And then I get a ton of, direct messages back of people going oh, you should check out this spot, you should check out this spot.

Rob HopeRob:

That's the best part of social media, right there.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, it's just real personal.

Rob HopeRob:

So, Ugmonk brand loyalty is up there with, some of the best. I've got a question here from Darshan from "Product Disrupt" newsletter, and he asks...

Darshan: Hey, Jeff. So it seems that you have found your thousand true fans. Could you give us three big takeaways on how you got there?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I tell people it's the 10-year overnight success. It's not been...it was not an instant thing that I think I attracted a following. It was slowly adding two people here, one person there, three people here. And since I started so early, one of the main advantages I have versus starting a company today was that there just wasn't that many other people doing what I was doing in 2008, 2009, 2010. Like, it was still a novelty, that you can only list maybe five or ten brands, independent designers doing their own thing, ecommerce. Whereas now, if I was to start from zero and to try to build that tribe of a thousand true fans and people who are super passionate about the brand, it's really, really hard because there's just so much noise. Like, you can't browse Instagram or anything without seeing a hundred other things that feel kind of the same. And I think I... So, timing was one. But at the same time, I think patience is a huge, huge part of if you want to build a thousand true fans, it's just going to take a while. And being consistent, and being human, and being transparent, and like, sharing what's going on behind the scenes is how you build those relationships that will stick with you for years and years. I mean, I have people, that message me, or if I post a picture of one of our older shirts, or like, "I've had this mousepad for nine years," or "I've been wearing this shirt for seven years it's still going strong." "I remember seeing you at a conference back in 2011." Those things don't just happen. It's not a scalable way to build a business really fast, and then turn it over and sell it.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

But those relationships, I think it all comes back to relationships.

Rob HopeRob:

I want to break into a quick intermission. I call it "True, False, or Maybe." Okay, so I'm gonna give you a statement, and you've just got to shoot back true, false, or maybe, no explanation needed at all.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

All right.

Rob HopeRob:

Pantones Classic Blue color of the year is overrated.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

The name Ugmonk was birthed with the aid of a name generator.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

False.

Rob HopeRob:

You once bought a lawn business.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

The Kickstarter video for your Gather product took 20 different edits to get perfect.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

The majority of designers are still charging too little for logos.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Maybe.

Rob HopeRob:

Pennsylvania is the chocolate capital of the U.S.A.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Maybe.

Rob HopeRob:

And final question, the only investment you've ever taken was $2,000 from your dad, back in 2008, for a run of 200 Tees.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

True.

Rob HopeRob:

Do you anticipate you'll eventually take funding for the tools for the bigger products the more you grow? Or do you plan to bootstrap into the future?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I can't say for sure that I will never take outside funding. But the bootstrapped way of how I've operated has been...I would say freeing in a lot of ways. It's hard in a lot of ways because we don't have big budgets, we don't have all this extra cash flow to do things. But it's been freeing in the sense that I get to direct the company the exact way that I feel I want to direct it, for better or for worse. But I have no one else to report to, and it also makes me really conscious of every decision we make. So if we're going to invest in a new product, like when we did the Kickstarter for Gather, obviously, we Kickstarted that and we raised the money back, but I already had, about $20,000 invested in R&D and prototyping, and all that up into that point. So technically, I could have been out that money. But that's just the mentality of pouring the cash back into the business, and then keeping our overhead low is just something that resonates with me. I feel like it's more in control. And we aren't going to ever see probably that hockey stick growth that a lot of these startups will see, but I'm okay with that. And I think it's just understanding the constraints of that, and not trying to compare myself to these much larger brands.

Rob HopeRob:

Ah, good answer. So you know, you've mentioned one of the hardest things about running the business is just waiting for manufacturers. You said on Twitter, you had 14 things outstanding the other day. Is it almost impossible to announce product launches with actual dates, being in the game you're in?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah. I mean, one of the most frustrating things is waiting on other people. I mean, I know in any industry that's the case, whether you're waiting on a developer, or you're waiting on, an artist to record a song. Like, it's all of these things that we wait on. But when I am developing physical products versus even digital, there are some times where I literally can't do anything else except for sit and wait until, the fabricator, the vendor, the printer can send me something. And I can do as much as I can to push them along, but screaming and yelling at them to give me stuff quicker, that's obviously not a great relationship. And there's just so many things in the physical product world, especially, that take way, way longer. You know, it's like they always say to double your time, double your timeline, and that's probably more accurate. It's like double that, and then probably double it again, and then, pencil it in because you may not actually launch on that date. And that's more of a self-discipline, self-control thing where it's like, man, I am so excited about getting this product out, but I don't have anything, it's not quite ready, or it's just, it's only 90% of the way there. And I have to be like, I'm going to wait another three months 'til we get another prototype, we get the process fine-tuned, and then when we launch it's going to be awesome.

Rob HopeRob:

Wow, so much patience needed. So, you're not able to announce upcoming product launches on social media. Do you even have a social media strategy in place where you have to post X on just, say, certain platforms to keep people engaged?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

No, I don't. I probably should. And there's times where I feel even the social media guilt of oh, I haven't posted anything, or I haven't talked about this product. I think we want to get better as a company with consistency, so people are seeing things and, older products I haven't talked about for a while, we're talking about them again. Because people genuinely enjoy hearing where did the Ampersand come from? How did the leather mousepad become a thing? I don't think it's great to just shoot from the hip like I do with social media all the time, but there is something that people do realize is when they see a post, it's like, me posting it. I don't have anything set up to automate, to just, post five times throughout the day, every single day at the same time. So, you're getting the real me. And again, it goes back to if I'm tweeting something or I'm posting something on Instagram or sending an email that's me doing it. It's not necessarily all planned out with this perfect strategy of when the best viewing times are, and the best open rates. And it's like...I don't know, maybe that's actually a bad business strategy, but that, again, goes back to just me being me.

Rob HopeRob:

A Gary Vaynerchuk classic is, "Document as you go." Have you considered this route of, "Hey, everyone, today I'm meeting a new leather supplier, follow along behind the scenes," kind of thing?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I mean, for me, the whole vlog world, or the live broadcast every little detail can be a second job, and actually be a detriment to what I'm working on because I'm trying to run this business of showing real-time behind the scenes, and then actually make the thing. And if that first part of it feels like more work than the second part, then I end up focusing all this time to try and make, this perfect story all along the way. Well, I do think I give snippets of things, and I like to show little parts behind the scenes, and especially once the product is ready, going back and telling the full story. But if I, if I had somebody full-time that was just following me around with a camera and editing it, I think it would be a little bit different.

Rob HopeRob:

Got a question here by Carl, from "Minimalissimo" magazine.

Carl: Hey, Jeff. This is Carl, from "Minimalissimo." What is the most effective means of advertising for you? And what platform do you invest the most in?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Well, up until recently, we hadn't done really anything as far as paid advertising goes. We are trying some different experiments now, just to see if we can get in front of people that are interested in...you know, people that have expressed, "Hey, I want to see your product." Getting in front of new eyeballs is harder than it used to be because of just the amount of brands and the amount of noise that's out there. So, finding those right people is what we're trying to do with that. But as far as the actual effective nature of social media and advertising and all of those things, it comes down to the product itself, and people talking about it. It's old school, and it sounds like you can't really measure it, but when people buy an Ugmonk product, they have it on their desk, they're wearing the Tee, they end up just naturally telling their friends, or somebody asks about it, and it creates these conversations and these mini-stories that spreads way more powerfully than any Instagram ad will ever do. And I mean, I really attribute a lot of what I've done to that very thing. It's like the products are the marketing. We are trying to tell the stories, we're trying to present them well, we're trying to give people some of that behind the scenes so they have that story to tell. But I hear from people all the time that are like, "Yeah, my coworker was just hanging out at my desk, and he asked about, my desk organizer, the Gather system," or "he asked about the mousepad." Or, "I got stopped in the middle of the airport, and people were like, 'What's that Tee all about?'" Like, there's no Ugmonk logo on it or anything, and then those people end up converting people or introducing them to the brand in the best possible way.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, that all speaks volumes to your designs, as well. So this is a quickdraw Q&A, where you should back the effectiveness of social media channels. You know, ten is a big ROI, zero is non-existent.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Mm-hmm, sounds good.

Rob HopeRob:

Cool. Facebook.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I'd say a five.

Rob HopeRob:

Instagram.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

An eight.

Rob HopeRob:

Twitter.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I'd put that at an eight, too.

Rob HopeRob:

YouTube.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

For us personally, a zero because I don't do much on there.

Rob HopeRob:

And I was going to throw a TikTok in here, but I'm just going to edit that right out.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I'm not on Snapchat, TikTok...

Rob HopeRob:

Pinterest?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Probably only a three.

Rob HopeRob:

And then LinkedIn.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Zero. I'm not even on LinkedIn. So if you tried to find me, you probably couldn't even find me.

Rob HopeRob:

So, how vital is the newsletter, and do you have one list?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, so email would...if you were...yeah, email would be a ten on that. I mean, email is by far the most effective medium of communicating with people because these are people that have opted in, they want to hear from me. I try to make every single email relevant, or something interesting, a piece of content. So yeah, I think that's the...I have more than one list, so I'm not necessarily sending...everything that you've received, not everyone else has received. So, I'm trying to tailor that. Even like, the people that have expressed interest in getting more things or seeing more...the "Five things I'm digging emails" and things like that, where I can segment out. But generally, I'm sending the main emails, like release emails are going to everyone.

Rob HopeRob:

So, the Ugmonk website sits proudly on Shopify, but you were using Big Cartel previously, right?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, in the early days we were using Big Cartel.

Rob HopeRob:

So for someone listening, looking to launch their first modest t-shirt brand, would you recommend starting on Big Cartel like you did, or just leap straight into Shopify?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I think it depends on what your plans are. It's hard to know exactly where your business is going to go. Like, I didn't have any plans to make this into a real business, so it was just like, what's something that's easy to use? I think Big Cartel can still be great for artists that just want a little side thing, and they want to sell their art. I think Shopify can work well, too. And Shopify obviously has much more runway, if you want to build into a bigger brand and keep expanding, into an enterprise-level company, essentially. So I don't think there's a right or wrong, I think... I haven't looked at Big Cartel recently, it might be cheaper and easier. I mean, there's Squarespace there's a lot of things if you're just trying to get proof of concept up and running. But, Shopify has been great. We've been on Shopify for the majority of the time, and they've just advanced the platform so much. And we gain, as a user, we gain all of these advancements and features, and things they're building out.

Rob HopeRob:

So aside from running the ecommerce side of things, you're doing the product design, the product photography, the meetings with manufacturers. Got a question here by Liam from "förfriska" newsletter about burnout.

Liam: Hey, Jeff. This is Liam. So, I curate this newsletter called "förfriska," and basically it exists to help people refresh our ideas and energy, and stay creative. So my question to you is what are your methods for avoiding burnout, and just balancing your creative projects and ambitions within your life as a whole?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, that's a good one. I feel like everyone is talking about this these days because we're all sensing the overwork and the burnout and the how do I keep doing this? Even just the relationship to technology, and how much time we're sitting in front of our screens. I mean, I spend most of my time, most of my day in front of my...in front of some type of screen. But as far as burnout and those things go, it's not really rocket science. I don't think there's secret hacks to figure that out, other than introducing hobbies that are not technology and screen-related, if that's your main industry. So even things like, me picking up the hobby of making sourdough bread, it's completely different. It's an analog thing, it's working in my hands. I have two young kids, so that forces me into making my work days kind of have a start and an end. And at the end of the day, they want to go outside and play, and we're going to go on a walk or we're going to go do something, and that has been a...not an easy transition, but it has been a good kind of forced transition, to understand that life is bigger than just what we are in our little online world.

Rob HopeRob:

I want to break into a second intermission, it's called "No context." So you simply shoot back either of the two options I give you, no context given to you, and no context needed at all.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Okay.

Rob HopeRob:

Offspring, "Smash" or Green Day, "Dookie?"

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Green Day, "Dookie."

Rob HopeRob:

Dropbox Paper or Google Docs?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Dropbox Paper.

Rob HopeRob:

Wes Anderson or Quentin Tarantino?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Wes Anderson.

Rob HopeRob:

Tangible or digital?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Tangible.

Rob HopeRob:

Viral launches, or silent consistency?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Silent consistency.

Rob HopeRob:

Twitter or Instagram?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Oh, man, that's a hard...I'm going to say Twitter.

Rob HopeRob:

Hershey's chocolate, or Lindt?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Lindt.

Rob HopeRob:

The last one, rework, or essentialism, essentialism?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Essentialism.

Rob HopeRob:

Would you call yourself a minimalist?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I don't think I'd use that term to describe myself. I think there are aspects of minimalism that I incorporate in my life, but I do think the word "minimalist" can come with other connotations, that I have...I definitely own more than 17 possessions.

Rob HopeRob:

Yeah, that's so true. I mean, I surf, so I try and keep my stuff down. But being a surfer, you need two, three surfboards, and two wetsuits if you have a warm ocean and a cold ocean.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I think it's more about...the things about minimalism that are appealing and that I want to incorporate is the intentionality with the choices, the things I buy, the things that I'm using, the way that I use things or time or whatever it is, and less about just the aesthetic. Obviously, I like minimalist design as an aesthetic. But I think minimalism as a whole, what it's trying to get at is to value people and value relationships and value things rather than more, because more is not always better. And I totally resonate with that stuff. I just think the minimalist movement in and of itself can be a bit...I'm not exactly sure, cult-like, or just...it kind of actually pushes things too far in the way that having less stuff doesn't immediately make you happy.

Rob HopeRob:

So, I've got a question here from Daniel, from Australia.

Daniel: Hey, Rob and Jeff. Thanks for allowing me to ask a question. Been a fan of Ugmonk since 2011. I started with the Mountains t-shirt, and have bought heaps since then. They're great quality, and great design. Thanks heaps, Jeff. So my question to you is fashion industry, it's inherently wasteful. Online shipping adds another layer to that waste, with all the packaging. Is this something that Ugmonk has tried to tackle, or is the supply chain and innovation, just not there to be able to do it?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I don't know that we have cracked that. And the fashion world, I think there's a lot of thought that's going into how can we make things more sustainably, and how can we get away from fast fashion, even just making items that will last more than a couple of washes. People are starting to realize when they buy a $4 t-shirt, it's not actually that great. Like, you wear it once, and you have to throw it away. So the disposable nature of things is something that I'm very conscious of. The whole logistics and operational, eco-friendliness of shipping and all that is really hard to combat. Like, I can't have a warehouse and a manufacturer in Australia so that he can pick it up locally. It's just a scale thing. So there's definitely advantages that come with that, but there's also some realities. Like, I love that I have customers down in Australia, or anywhere else in the world, but there's something about we can't get that to them without any carbon footprint. We are...like the plastic bags that we use now, the poly bags, they're like, compostable, and we're trying to make steps to make things more sustainable. But there's some realities, just as the supply chain that's going to be hard.

Rob HopeRob:

For sure. So regarding shipping, on the Ugmonk website right now, there's a banner right at the top stating "Free U.S. shipping on all orders above $99." Is that the magic number? Why not $79, or $149?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

It is an experiment, like everything else. People...you know, we're so used to Amazon and all of these companies mostly that are funded companies, can offer free shipping. So people, consumers don't like paying shipping, so they'd rather see it baked into the product price, I guess. And we think we want things fast and cheap, and when they see that shipping cost... I don't know if that's necessarily the way things will continue just because as a small business, we have to absorb and essentially subtract those costs from our margin. But it is also a mindset thing, where people might add a few more items to their cart and spend that money so that they're getting the free shipping. So essentially, they're buying more from us, and we're taking some of that cost out. I think it'll be interesting to see where that actually goes. Because someone's paying for it, and it's not...nothing's ever free, and it's more of a mind game and just the psychology behind pricing, and what's going to drive that.

Rob HopeRob:

So, you started off with Tees, you transitioned into posters, then some letter sketchbooks, mousepads, wallets, then obviously your big launch with the Gather, units on Kickstarter. Is there a ceiling to where you can go with Ugmonk? You know, are you attacking the productivity space, could you compete with an Aeron chair?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

That's a good question. I mean, one of the things, going back to why we haven't taken funding and all that, is that like, I love that there isn't a ceiling, and there's no reason that Ugmonk couldn't change... Let's say in five years from now what if we were a furniture company, and we were doing things in an Ugmonk way? Like, that is a very possible thing. Now, that's not necessarily where I'm headed, although I think it'd be great to design a chair, and a desk, and the entire system. I think Ugmonk as a brand, and because it's me as a designer will be able to morph and progress and adapt to things differently than if we were just a t-shirt brand. So, I have a whole bunch of ideas focused around the productivity space and workspace, physical tangible things that I'd love to bring to market. And it's just a matter, again, of like, patience, waiting, going through that product development time. But things like Gather, and other things that are going to help people get their work done.

Rob HopeRob:

You know, you've said this in the past, you loved doodling as a kid, and now you get paid to make things. So in my personal opinion, you've already won.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I mean, I'm super grateful I get to do what I love. It is not 100% awesome and fun, and you know, easy every day, but I'm very, very grateful that I'm, probably in the small percentage of people that get to do what they love, in some sort for my full-time job.

Rob HopeRob:

Absolutely incredible. So, let's just wind things down? Who is the one person you'd love to collaborate with on an Ugmonk product?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I mean, we could reach for the stars and say Jony Ive just because, obviously, he's influenced industrial design in massive ways, and we are all inspired by him, him and Dieter Rams, who he got his inspiration from.

Rob HopeRob:

Final question. If you were dropped back in time, into January 1st, 1800, how would you successfully prove you were from the future without bringing any products back?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Oh, man...

Rob HopeRob:

What could you tell them that they would believe you that you were from the future?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I am stumped. I'm trying to think because everything that I...every idea that I come up with involves showing them something physical...

Rob HopeRob:

That's exactly why I asked you.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

...or tangible. Yeah, like you're...it's hard to prove a concept without having that there. Explaining the internet wouldn't make any sense because you can't prove it without showing a device using it.

Rob HopeRob:

That's exactly it.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I don't know. I think we might have to end this with a question mark, and I'll come back to you in six months if I have a better answer.

Rob HopeRob:

That's perfect. Okay, Jeff, thanks so much for being on the podcast, and taking your time. I know you're so slammed. I always end the podcast with some outro music that our guest enjoys. Any genre in particular?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

I like a lot of indie stuff, Bon Iver, Ben Howard, The National, that genre.

Rob HopeRob:

Brilliance. I'll cue setting up. Just while the music's going, where can people follow you?

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, I'm just @Ugmonk on Twitter, Instagram, pretty much everywhere. Ugmonk.com is our main website.

Rob HopeRob:

Thanks so much for your time, Jeff.

Jeff SheldonJeff:

Yeah, thanks, Rob.