Anime Expo 2012 is only a couple of weeks away and again, we encourage attendees to check out Brands Boutique inside the Exhibit Hall this year! Brands Boutique will be selling all kinds of cute and unique merchandise at their booth from eleven different indie, local brands. We interviewed Shing from Marlow the Monster last week and now we are happy to introduce you to Funkey Monkey.
Just as the name suggest, Funkey Monkey sells clothing, accessories, stationary, etc. with their monkey character at the center stage of all their design. Read our interview with them to get to know them better.
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How did Funkey Monkey came to be and what is the inspiration behind the monkey?
FUNKEY MONKEY: Funkey Monkey was created a while ago to capture the concept of fun and what it means to be happy. The brand is inspired by laughter, happy memories, and the monkey is really about enjoying the best moments of life. It’s our dedication to friends, love, and that one person in everyone’s life who is so full of energy and brings fun to every outing!
The Funkey Monkey has a smiling face and a happy go lucky attitude. He is the key to fun, which is why the brand is spelled combining the words fun and key instead of the traditional word funky.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what is your mission with the Funkey Monkey brand?
FM: We didn’t start out in design, instead we we wrote stories and did photography but graphic design has always been really important to us. And, our historical love for cute, playful imagery and bright colors is evident in the products we make for the line.
For us, the brand exists to create and sustain happiness. We want our customers to remember that they can turn a bad day around and make it better. Funkey Monkey sells online and in boutique stores but what we love most is when we sell at local expos and events because we get to see people excited! They start smiling and laughing, and the little kids scream “Funkey Monkey, Funkey Monkey.” It’s great to see people smiling, it’s great to see people happy, and these are the moments when we realize the impact the brand has on uplifting moods and the energy in a space.
What was it like selling at Anime Expo for the first time? How is it going to be different this year to sell your products with a pop up shop? What did you like best about AX?
FM: We experienced 4 days of fun the first time we sold at Anime Expo. We were excited for the doors to open, but none of us could have realized how many people would actually fill the exhibitor hall. Our best friends helped to man the booth and sell products but we still couldn’t keep up with the traffic. This year, we have more free time to check out the other events at Anime Expo, because the pop up shop organizes the selling. We’re super excited to check out the artist alley, which has the coolest fan artwork! Besides the artist alley, the cosplay is the best part of Anime Expo, plus the super cheap manga.
I hear the pillows are quite popular! Why pillows? Is it to your advantage as an indie brand to have so many different kinds of merchandise?
FM: We introduced the pillows a year ago because we wanted to make the monkey 3-D and a plush pillow made the most sense. Plus, we use this super soft felt on the back that makes it 100% cuddly. The pillows are really popular and I think it’s because they are so huggable!
As an indie brand we do get to introduce a lot of new products. For our brand it’s an advantage to have different types of merchandise because we have such a wide variety of customers. When we started out, the line was for young adults. Then, we received requests for baby items so we started the My Little Monkey line. In 2011, customers wanted small gifts and items they could carry with them so we made paper goods and notebooks. Now, we’ve started introducing new products all the time and that allows us to be creative, and continue to excite our fans.
What other products do you have that people really responded to? Do you have anything new coming up in the works?
FM: Last year it rained a lot in L.A. and there was so much wind, so we said “hey, let’s do some cool winter items.” We made embroidered monkey beanies plus screen printed neon colored jackets, and they were such a hit. People also love the kawaii rainbow themed paper products and the children’s clothing.
When your line is carried by stores, it makes you think long term about product development. Every season we want to offer something new that keeps Funkey Monkey fun and fresh! So, yes, we have lots of new products in the works. For the holiday season, we’re adding an embroidery addition to our My Little Monkey line and next year, we’re starting a paper product line using canvas fabrics and hand silk-screening. Happy Six, on Sawtelle Boulevard, is one of our favorite local shops that carry the Funkey Monkey line and the store features a lot of our new products, and limited edition goods. When customers want to see new things we have in the works, looking online or stopping by Happy Six is their best bet.
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