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One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time

The quotes are familiar:

“All good things take time.”
“The pyramids weren’t built in a day.”

But it’s easy to get impatient.

Incremental progress and small changes aren’t always as obvious or rewarding, but the big changes and exciting milestones are only achieved when we face the hard tasks that are in front of us one day at a time.

Sometimes those hard tasks turn into life-shaking crises: a medical diagnosis, a financial deficit, a shattered relationship.

In these times our 5-year plans, visions, and dreams fade away, and we are left face to face with what seems like the impossible.

This past year has certainly held its share of struggles for me.

Sleep deprivation is a real thing. Our now 18-month-old son has been dealing with health and sleep issues since he was 3-months old.

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My Favorite Places to Shop Small

There are 29.7 million small businesses in the U.S. alone.

These small businesses are the backbone of our economy and as the owner of a small business I’ve come to realize how much every dollar counts.

Obviously I’d love you to support Ugmonk, but I thought I’d put together a list of other great small businesses that I like and own products from.

(Sidenote: I’m not being paid to post these. They are just brands I love and want to support)

This isn’t an exhaustive list and there are tons of other great companies out there, but here are some of my personal favorites:

Byrd & Belle – Handmade felt laptop and tablet cases. I’ve have my case for over 8 years and still get comments about it.

Jeni’s Ice Cream –

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9 Years of Ugmonk

9 Years of Ugmonk

Introducing the Limited Edition 9th Anniversary Set.

Only 200 of these sets exist, so once they’re sold out they’re gone for good. Get yours here →

Every year new clothing brands come and go, but one of the main reasons Ugmonk has stuck around is the support from each of you.

The stories that you tell when wearing or using an Ugmonk product have kept the brand spreading across the globe in an organic way that no big advertising dollars could ever replicate.

My goal is to keep making remarkable products that you will enjoy for years to come and want to keep telling your friends about.

The future is bright and I’m excited for what’s next!

About the Set

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Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

These past almost 9 years of running Ugmonk has been an amazing journey. But it hasn’t all been easy.

When I launched I knew nothing about how to run a business. It’s been a series of experiments and lots of trial and error to figure out how to create and sustain a brand.

Looking back what has kept me going is finding the novelty and excitement in the constant learning along the way.

Launch days, huge sales, and anniversary milestones punctuate the journey with tangible achievements, but just like the rest of life it’s the volume of small moments along the way that make those achievements so valuable.

The circular design represents the constant cycle of seasons throughout our lives. Every ending of one adventure is the beginning of another, so Enjoy the Journey.

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The New 2017 Lookbook

The New 2017 Lookbook

Ever wonder what our products look like in person? Whether it’s that missing piece in your wardrobe or that gift you’ve been scouring the web for, these photos will give you a better sense of what our products look like in context.

Scroll through the beautiful photography and click on the “+” symbol on any of the photos to shop the specific products in each photo.

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Ugmonk x Unsplash

Ugmonk x Unsplash

If you’ve even seen photos of my desk floating around the web somewhere, it’s most likely a result of my friends at Unsplash. When I uploaded my photos a couple years ago, I had no idea how viral they would go. My desk has now been viewed by tens of millions of people all around the globe!

Now I’m teaming up with Unsplash to feature 10 people from the Ugmonk community. The contest theme is Minimalism, Productivity, and Organization – which we based around the recent release of Gather.

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Gather: The minimal, modular organizer that cuts through the clutter

Gather: The minimal, modular organizer that cuts through the clutter

Clutter. You don’t want to think about it, but it always creeps in over time, making it impossible to find things when you actually need them. As a designer, I spend most of the day working at my desk and reach for the same things over and over.

I try to stay organized, but by the end of the day my desk is a complete, cluttered mess because there’s no central place to put everything. I searched for a product to solve this problem, but all I found were ugly, cheaply-made organizers.

What I wanted was a beautifully-designed, minimal organizer. Something to gather all of my essentials into one central place.

So I designed Gather.

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New Women’s Line is Live!

New Women’s Line is Live!

It’s been months in the making and I’m proud to introduce the first ever Ugmonk Women’s Line!

Although we’ve had women’s sizes available since the beginning of Ugmonk, they haven’t been great. The blanks we were using from American Apparel run super small and many of you have had issues with the sizing.

I have wanted to improve this for a long time, but I couldn’t find new blanks that were the quality and styles that I wanted.

Then I found a place in Los Angeles that produces amazing custom tees. The fabrics and washes were so much better than any other samples I’d received. These felt like Ugmonk quality.

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How I Designed A Super Productive Desk Setup

How I Designed A Super Productive Desk Setup

Since I spend the majority of my week working at the desk in my home office, I put a lot of thought into designing my ideal setup where I can be productive and stay inspired as I handle the many different parts of running Ugmonk.

You might have even seen some of my desk photos floating around the web somewhere since they’ve been downloaded over a million times.

Today, I wanted to share a bit more about that same desk, and how I’ve curated and designed it over the years to help me maximize my work day.

At the end of this post, I’m also sharing a secret project I’ve been working on for 3+ years. See if you can spot it in the photos.

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The Dot Series

The Dot Series

A simple dot by itself can feel insignificant.

But when you group multiple dots together they start to form structure, pattern, and texture—many little parts working together to make up a much larger image. (In many ways this is a wonderful metaphor for life.)

I designed these tees using a simple dot as the foundation and explored three different techniques:

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My Simple Monitor Stand that You Can Build for Under $50

My Simple Monitor Stand that You Can Build for Under $50

One of the most common questions I receive whenever I show a photo of my workspace is, “Where’d you get that monitor stand?”

It’s actually a little IKEA hack that I put together several years ago. My goal was to raise my 27″ iMac to eye level to create a better ergonomic position so I wasn’t hunched over at my desk. It also helps to better utilize my desk surface by creating space to store things like my external hard drive.

Since I still get so many questions about my monitor stand, I wanted to write a more in-depth post about how I built it, as well as walk you through the new premium version that I just built.

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Why I Ordered Custom Signage for My Home Office

Why I Ordered Custom Signage for My Home Office

One of my favorite parts of running Ugmonk is getting to collaborate with other awesome creative people. Even though I love learning new skills, I often come across people (thanks to the internet and social media) who specialize in specific crafts and are better than I’ll ever be.

One of those is Tinkering Monkey, a shop that specializes in custom wood and metal signage. I’ve been following their work for many years, and it’s been fun to watch them grow and evolve as a company. When I was chatting with Paula, one of the founders of Tinkering Monkey, I found out that she had been following Ugmonk for just as long as I had been following them. It’s always fun to make the connection.

Over the years, Tinkering Monkey has produced all sorts of cool products, but more recently they’ve homed in on amazing custom signs.

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Do A Lot With A Little:
Design Process & Backstory

Do A Lot With A Little:<br/>Design Process & Backstory

I wanted to share my inspiration and design process for this year’s design Do A Lot With A Little.

We all face challenges at work and at home. Our time and money always seem to be stretched thin with “just the basics.” But when we take a moment to step back, we realize the world has even bigger problems: poverty, hunger, and human trafficking, just to name a few.

Does giving an extra dollar to the local food drive or tossing a couple coins in the Salvation Army’s red kettle really make a difference?

I know I’ve wondered that, but this phrase “Do a lot with a little” reminds me of two things:

1. You don’t need a lot to do great work.

When talented people are driven by common compassion or cause, they’re able to find creative ways to multiply scarce resources into something bigger than themselves. This is precisely the definition of any successful organization, whether it be a charity, social group, or business.

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Holiday Sale + 5 New Items

Holiday Sale + 5 New Items

Do A Lot With A Little

The extra dollar for the food drive at the local grocery store, the couple coins in the Salvation Army red kettle.  Do these really make a difference?

I know I’ve wondered that, but this phrase “Do a lot with a little” reminds me of two things:

1. You don’t need a lot to do great work.
2. My little contribution is not about me.

So next time you’re tempted to make the excuse that you don’t have enough to [fill in the blank], remember that you can Do a lot with a little.

The new design is available in two colors: navy and heather gray.

do-alot-nl1-new-navy

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New Ugmonk Swag Pack

New Ugmonk Swag Pack

A little over 6 months ago we rolled out our new Ugmonk 2.0 branding and it’s been fun to see our new logo in the wild.

Making big changes like this can be nerve-racking, but it’s been so encouraging to receive such a positive response from you guys.

As I’ve mentioned before, our primary “marketing” is still word-of-mouth. Even after 8 years, we rely on each of you playing an integral role in introducing more people to Ugmonk so we can keep bringing you new products.

I love hearing stories of random strangers meeting because they recognize each others’ Ugmonk products.

Just recently a fan texted me that he was walking down Valencia Street in San Francisco and heard someone call out “YO, UGMONK!” and then proceeded to give him a high-five in the middle of the road!

Because so many of you have expressed love for the Ugmonk brand and the new logo,

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Focus Is Hard

Focus Is Hard

I get a lot of questions from people who are trying to start a business, create awesome things, or just keep themselves focused through daily life.

They just don’t teach you solutions to these types of challenges in school, and I think one of the best ways to learn is to hear the stories of how other people have overcome them.

My good friend Shawn Blanc is hosting an upcoming Creative Focus Online Summit to do just that (and I’m honored to be one of the 12 speakers).

If you don’t know Shawn, he’s the creator of The Focus Course — an online course that helps creative people gain traction on their goals and become more productive. (I’ve gone through it myself and it’s been really helpful.)

The summit is completely free, and it’s exclusively online,

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New Triblend Series

New Triblend Series

Introducing the new Triblend Series!

Ever since the release of the original And Then I Woke Up, our heather gray triblend tees have been crowd favorites.

Today we’re adding triblend versions of three of our most popular designs: Mountains, Horizon, and Balance.

Shop the Triblend Series

mountains

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The Importance of Getting Away

The Importance of Getting Away

 

I’m thankful I get to run my own business and do what I love every day. Sure, not every day is full of exciting or creative work, but cumulatively, the reward is unbeatable.

I never want to take this for granted.

But there are also some downsides of having my life and business so intertwined. It’s almost impossible for me to separate one from the other, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of overworking without even realizing it.

I’m a big believer in hard work and putting in the time to grind through the mundane tasks of running a business. Many people start businesses only to give up when the work becomes boring or harder than they expected.

But there’s a big difference between working hard and overworking.

These past two weeks, we took two short trips to get away.

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8 Things I’ve Learned from 8 Years of Ugmonk

8 Things I’ve Learned from 8 Years of Ugmonk

This month marks 8 years of running Ugmonk. As I was preparing for this milestone, I got thinking about how long 8 years really is.

It’s twice the length of my formal design education. It’s two presidential terms. It’s enough to get my infant son, who’s just learned to giggle, halfway through elementary school. That’s crazy to me.

I’ve learned so much in 8 years that it feels right to pause for a minute and reflect. So here are 8 lessons that stem from my time “in office.” I didn’t learn these things in school, and you probably won’t, either, but they’ve been instrumental in shaping Ugmonk into the brand it is today.

I hope they help as you navigate your own journey.

1. You can do a lot with a little.

Ever since day one, Ugmonk has been very DIY.

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8 Years of Ugmonk

8 Years of Ugmonk

Eight years! Eight years is a long time to do anything, and yet it seems like it was only yesterday I was just getting started. Thinking back, it’s hard to believe that I’ve spent twice as long running Ugmonk as it took to get my college degree!

It’s been 8 years since I launched this little “side project,” and every day I still wake up thrilled to run Ugmonk. I’m so grateful for the places it’s taken me, the people I’ve met, and the tens of thousands of you that continue to support me every step of the way.

Today, I’m incredibly excited to launch the new limited edition 8th Anniversary Set. Only 200 of these sets exist, so once they’re sold out they’re gone for good.

Anniversary Tee

For this year’s tee we chose a super soft triblend black fabric,

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