— A design studio in Downingtown, PA, creating and curating products that combine form & function

I’m more so the fisherman.

In a moment, I will tell you everything you need to know about Ugmonk.

But, first, a story...

Once upon a time, a fisherman taught a banker a lesson that would change his life.

The banker was vacationing in a small coastal village when a fisherman docked beside him with several beautiful large fin tuna in his small boat. The banker complimented the fisherman on his catch and asked how long it took.

“Just a little while”, replied the fisherman.

The banker then asked why the fisherman didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.

As the fisherman unloaded the tuna, one by one, he replied, “Because I have enough to support my family. Plus, I enjoy sleeping late, playing with my children, taking an afternoon nap with my wife and strolling into the village in the evenings to sip wine and play guitar with my friends.”

The banker, who was extremely well-educated with an ivy league education, scoffed and gave the fisherman a lesson in business…

“Spend more time fishing. With the proceeds, buy a bigger boat, and with those proceeds, buy several boats. Eventually, you will have a fleet of fishing boats and you could move to a big city like LA or NYC to run your growing business.”

“But then what?” asked the fisherman.

The banker chuckled condescendingly and said, “Then, you could eventually announce an IPO, sell your company stock and become a millionaire.”

“But then what?” asked the fisherman, again.

The banker responded, “Then you can retire. Move to a small coastal village and enjoy sleeping late, playing with your children, taking an afternoon nap with your wife and strolling into the village in the evenings to sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

The fisherman smiled at the banker, winked, threw the stringed tuna over his shoulder and then carried his catch into town.

Ugmonk exists to be that wink for the world.

Hi. I’m Jeff. 

I am... I guess what you’d call... the “Founder” of Ugmonk. Though, I don’t particularly love that nametag. Let’s instead say I’m a designer by trade, an entrepreneur by accident. 

Ugmonk, in many ways, is my beautiful accident. 

I sort of fell into Ugmonk back in 2008 (great time to start a business, huh?) after scouring the internet for simple, minimal, well-made t-shirts and coming up short again and again. So, I decided to make my own from scratch. 

Folks seemed to dig them. So much so that I designed other products, that like the t-shirts, were simple,  functional, extremely well-made and long-lasting. 

Allow me to riff a bit more on that last bit… long-lasting.

. . . . .

Long-lasting isn’t always “good for business”.

Like the fisherman in the fable I shared above, I take a slow and thoughtful approach to nearly everything in life, remembering that more isn’t always better.

Whether it’s baking sourdough on a lazy Sunday afternoon, playing a game of hide-and-go-seek in the backyard with my kiddos or thinking up the next design for Ugmonk, I’m never one for rushing things. 

No, I want to design and breathe life into products that last a lifetime and then some. I want the t-shirt you buy from me to not only be your favorite t-shirt… but one day your children’s favorite t-shirt too. 

Sometimes, I scratch my head when my past customers send me photographs of a leather desk pad or backpack they bought from me a decade ago and are still using today. 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t think to myself… is this the smartest approach to running a profitable business? 

Haha!

But, I can’t see myself building a company any other way. It’s just not who I am.

. . . . .

Leave the planet better than you found it.

Shopping from Ugmonk is a lot like buying from your neighborhood corner store. Not only are you supporting our family, but you’re also supporting other, extraordinarily hard-working small businesses...

Our leather goods are crafted by two makers in Kansas City, our hats are handmade in Seattle, and our shirts are made in a small factory in LA, one of the last US clothing manufacturers still operating. We pay our partners fair wages because we want them to feel secure and valued. And, for operations, we hire our family and friends. 

Now, with all that said, if I’m lucky enough to call you a customer, great. But, if for whatever reason you don’t see anything that catches your eye, please walk away with this…

I encourage you to leave the world better than you found it by thoughtfully choosing quality over quantity, less over more, lasting over “trending” and profound over popular. 

I think now more than ever, our world could use more of the fishermen’s ethos.


– Jeff Sheldon
Founder & Designer