Today’s Feature: August 11th and 12th

August 11, 2007 at 9:08 am (Uncategorized)

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I really had no idea who Micha Weinblatt was when I first saw him, smiling within the pages of the Baltimore Sun. However, after reading through the paper, I leaned that this former Terp was creating a pop culture phenomenon through his riotous t-shirt design company, Crooked Monkey. Immediately my phone and email lit up with messages demanding I check out this revolutionary of the fashion world. I contacted Micha, and we agreed to meet at his office – which happens to double as his parent’s basement (or vise versa). I was greeted by his father upon my arrival, and I asked if it was ok to park in the driveway. The elder Weinblatt replied, “I don’t know…the last guy got a ticket.”

Luckily, he let me in on the joke before I made a bigger fool of myself by actually going to move my car. Obviously a sense of humor has helped to make Micha Weinblatt, 24, founder of Crooked Monkey, one of fashion’s most promising commodities. Vintage style shirts with cool graphics and witty sayings such as, “Pro Choice: Blondes or Brunettes,” “Napping: It’s my day job” and “I’ve had better” Weinblatt has tapped into the personality of every high school and college kid around the world.

Micha isn’t your average 24 year old, or your average CEO for that matter. Weinblatt started out fresh, using his own money to finance his company. He didn’t try to use “mom and dad” to back him – he did it all on his own. It all started when he and his business partner pulled their resources together to throw a spectacular launch party at one of the most popular bars at the University of Maryland, College Park: Cornerstone.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the two raced around campus spreading the word in a guerilla marketing campaign that involved tossing stuffed monkeys from a golf cart to their Univeristy of Maryland peers. On the night of the party, Cornerstone was packed. The shirts were sold, the word was out and the seed was planted; Crooked Monkey had arrived. Weinblatt used this momentum and packed his car with shirts and drove north to New York, stopping at every clothing store along the way.

Now, only a couple years later, Crooked Monkey has been seen in GQ, Seventeen and in major stores like Urban Outfitters and Lord & Taylor. Not bad for a guy who admits that his wardrobe prior to college consisted of mainly red and green sweatpants (he jokes that people still can’t believe he is in fashion today). Weinblatt and Crooked Monkey are a perfect example of what happens when innovation, imagination, drive and determination come together. Before you run off to buy a Crooked Monkey shirt for yourself, check out his PensEyeView.com to find out more.

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