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The Funky Blog

  • Depending which side of the Atlantic Ocean you’re celebrating Christmas this year, you’ll either be wearing a Christmas sweater or a Christmas jumper. Whatever you call it, and whether you think it’s funky or ugly, there’s no doubt that it’s become an essential part of our holiday traditions. But how did it happen?

    On the British side of the ocean there’s very little doubt where the popularity of the Christmas jumper began. It was the moment that Colin Firth showed up as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones, wearing a ludicrous jumper with a reindeer on the front (in the book his jumper was just a bit ugly, there wasn’t a reindeer). It’s played for laughs, of course, but gradually it’s a joke we’ve all wanted to be the butt of.

    ChristmasJumper-MarkDarcy

    Of course, Christmas sweaters have a much longer vintage than 2001, and the likes of Andy Williams and Bing Crosby were the kings of dodgy knitwear in their holiday specials decades before Bridget even bought her diary. Back then there was nothing ironic about it, the ugly Christmas sweater was just ugly and part of the general tackiness and kitsch of those programmes.

    In the States, the festive sweater worn by Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation may not have been quite so comedic as Mr Darcy’s jumper, but it certainly helped bring that fashion sense back into the public consciousness for the early 90s. Tacky Christmas sweaters went from being something that you were given by grandparents, and reluctantly wore for as little time as possible, to being a badge of honor.

    national-lampoons-Christmas-Vacation

    By the start of the 21st Century, this ironic take on the fashion crime accessory had become so popular that Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties were taking off in America. The concept for these quickly became a competition to see who could come up with the most awful, over-the-top sweater, preferably accessorised with lights, tinsel, decorations and all the bells and whistles. Often literally.

    Two pioneers who accidentally helped take funny sweaters to the mainstream were Jessica Aceti and husband Brian Kirk, who in 2008 got a photographer friend, John Keatley, to take a picture of them for a Christmas card, dressed up as the most hideous-looking sweater-wearing weirdos. Holding a stuffed goat. "I had this idea of making an odd Christmas card and styling it with that goat," Aceti said. "I’m a hoarder of weird stuff. At the time, we just made up these characters in our mind that were these awkward ugly people, and we’ve always just loved shitty Christmas sweaters."

    christmas_sweaters_zps58286bcb

    The photo went viral to the extent that it ended up on Reddit, then The Today Show and then Ellen. All these years later, it’s still a go-to photo to show off the awesomely awful Christmas sweaters they wore, even if some people mistook it for a genuinely awful photo of two real people, rather than the characters the couple had taken on for the shoot. They continue to make ironically bad Christmas cards, while there’s little doubt that they helped spread novelty Christmas sweaters to the mainstream media. Nowadays, anyone who’s anyone has been photographed wearing something tacky and garish and fabulously festive.

    Over in the UK, the popularity has exploded in recent years to the extent that charity Save The Children started a Christmas Jumper Day in 2012, asking people across offices, schools and homes across the country to wear their tacky Christmas jumper and donate £1 to the charity. In 2014 over £4m was raised and 2015 promises to be even bigger as Christmas Jumper Day will be part of ITV’s Text Santa campaign, with money going to Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish UK and Save The Children.

    Christmas sweaters/jumpers are so popular a part of festive traditions now that it’s hard to see them going away anytime soon, no matter how many Grinch-like columnists and fashionistas wish they would. They’re even being incorporated into modern traditions like the 12 Pubs Of Christmas pub crawl that is being increasingly popular in Ireland, with ugly jumpers pretty much essential uniform for anyone taking part.

    So whether you call it a Christmas sweater or a Christmas jumper, you’d better get used to them because they’ve been around a long time and won’t be going anywhere. It’s safe to say that Bridget Jones would be more horrified now to arrive at Christmas party and find her date NOT wearing a novelty jumper with a reindeer on it...

    giphy

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  • We are back for the Ugly Christmas Sweater 2015 season for the 8th year selling these awesome funky Christmas sweaters.

    We have 7 new designs, a popular adult sweater available in kids sizes and new sizes in our dog sweater. As usual all our adult ugly Christmas sweaters are unisex and available in a wide range of sizes.

    Our Kim Kardashian Break The Internet Sweater is going to go down well with the ladies. Our personal favourites in the funky office are Hipster Santa and Wrecking Santa.

    We have brought back our popular Christmas Sweater designs over the past 2 years. Favourites such as Happy Birthday Jesus Christmas SweaterRudolph Christmas sweater and Skiing Penguin are available in a wide range of sizes.

    We have setup a brand media page for bloggers and journalists here and if you need anything else just email us and we will we more than happy to help.

    If you would like to read the funky christmas sweaters launch press release you can download it here.

    Below are pictures of all our new ugly Christmas sweaters with links to them.

    Look forward to hearing what you think of our new Christmas sweaters.

    Fabio

    Ugly Christmas Sweaters 2015

    Hipster Santa Christmas Sweater

    Hipster Santa Christmas Sweater

    Harley Santa Christmas Sweater

    Harley Santa Christmas Sweater

    Baby Jesus Selfie Christmas Sweater

    Baby Jesus Selfie Ugly Christmas Sweater

    Kim Kardashian Break the Internet Christmas Sweater

    Kim Kardashian Break The Internet Christmas Sweater

    Wrecking Santa Christmas Sweater

    Wrecking Santa Christmas Sweater

    The Part Timer Christmas Sweater

    The Part Timer Christmas Sweater

    Missing Elf Christmas Sweater

    Missing Elf Christmas Sweater

    Kids Penguin Christmas Sweater

    Kids Penguin Christmas Sweater

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    Posted in Sweaters by Fabio.
  • Dragons Den

     

    Last night my 2 minute appearance on the Dragons Den aired. Below i'll talk about some of the preparation work that was involved before i made it to the studio.

    The complete process from the phone call by the BBC researcher to the trip home was a challenging and fun experience where we learned a lot about our business.

    January (Week2) 

    The BBC got in contact with us in January about appearing on the show. We took a few days to think about it and decided investment from the Dragons would help us grow so we decided to go for it. To appear on the show you must be a UK company which we were not. We thought having a UK site at FunkyChristmasJumpers.co.uk was enough. We quickly setup a new company in the UK and got the all clear from the BBC. The first thing we had to do once we were accepted in the application process was to work on a pitch that we would pitch to a Dragons Den Executitive. We had about two weeks to work on it. We spent a lot of time recording ourselves/practicing in order to perfect it. We had decided that only one of us would pitch.

    February 9th

    I (Fabio) flew over to Manchester to pitch in the BBC Studios. It was a nerve wrecking experience but it went well. I pitched in front of a researcher and 2 other BBC employees and it was recorded. I got plenty of takes to get it perfect. The best one was chosen and would be shown to the producer to see if it could take us through to the next stage.

    On 20th February we got a message that we made it through to the next stage of the Dragons Den which was due diligence. At all times we were told we were not guaranteed to make it to the pitch in from of the Dragons, this was consistently repeated to us. The due diligence took some time to get together. Documents that we needed to pull together were:

    • Incorporation details
    • Consent letters from other directors allowing me to pitch on behalf of the company
    • Intellectual property documents we have on any designs
    • Info on any loans we have ever gotten (Director/Bank) • Accounts since we have been incorporated
    • Breakdown on all our sales figures
    • Proof of marketing partners we have worked with
    • Website & social account data
    • Manufacturer details & safety statements
    • Info on all our manufacturer orders since incorporation
    • Previous ventures the directors have been involved in
    • Investment outline for the amount we pitch for
    • Market research

    The original pitch and business plan was naturally in Euro but I ended up having to transfer it into British Pound which was frustrating at the start but worked out well as i got to further fine tune our business plan. Once we had all this info together we sent it off to the BBC to review. During this time on February 27th we got message that we were lined up for a potential filming date but it still depended on the above. Its was never certain!!

    Early March

    1. Filming was in 3 weeks so we were left with:
    2. Liaising with the BBC to arrange travel arrangement and accommodation
    3. Booking a van to rent to drive over to Manchester from Dublin
    4. Practicing the pitch with the new British Pound figure
    5. Making sure i know every figure possible and stat
    6. Building the set for the show

    Our family helped put the set together which was awesome, greatly appreciated. We thought about getting models for the day but decided not to, mainly because of the cost.

    March 23rd

    The van was packed up with the set, loads of Christmas Jumpers and presents for the Dragons. We had picked a special jumper for each dragon. I got a ferry over to the UK, the BBC had arranged a convenient hotel for me and the other people pitching to stay in. I dropped my set over the Dragons Den BBC Studio and headed back to the hotel to sleep (And a few more dry runs of the pitch). Recording each pitch helped me fine tune and get it perfect, i couldn't recommend this enough from an early stage.

    March 24th - D Day

    Early the next morning we were escorted to the studio. Dragons Den is no longer set in a old warehouse but in the state of the art studio in Manchester. It was exciting to see the Dragons Den setup. Nerves were definitely there! I got help building my set back stage. There were five different companies pitching the same day. I ended up last on, it was a long day waiting around. I was running through the pitch all day in my head. It was quite hard to get a quiet area where i could speak it. Each company's pitch took about 2 hours in total to complete with setup, pitching and the Dragons tea breaks! I'd got a run though earlier in the morning showing me exactly how the pitch would go.

    6PM

    The time arrived, a tiny bit of makeup was applied, my microphone was set up and i was brought down to the studio. Nerves were firing but I felt good. The waiting area outside the elevator was strange, just me and the cameras hidden behind mirrors. Finally 10 minutes later the green light turns on and the fake elevator opens. Once in the elevator the door closed (which seemed like an eternity) the door opened and I remember the heat from all the lights-so HOT. The room was packed with camera crew and the Dragons were in place. I walked through to my mark while they had Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" playing. Cringe!! I was ready. The Dragons were very nice and told me to proceed. The pitch came out well, I thought, probably my best attempt but I'll know more when I see it on TV!!

    I was in the Den for just under an hour. The pitch only took 3 minutes so there was plenty of time for questions. The questions were quite straight forward and what i was expecting:

    • Personal info
    • How i got into the jumpers
    • Figures
    • How we got the celebs to wear the jumpers
    • Future projections
    • Strategy moving forward
    • Issues i see with the business
    • Other ventures

    Unfortunately i didn't get the investment. The main things the dragons were not interested in was the:

    • Seasonality of the business
    • The risk of having to guess/estimate stock with such a short selling window

    All the dragons were nice, not as fiery as seen on other pitches. I did get plenty of encouragement & advice from them.

    Overall I learned a lot throughout the whole experience. The main thing I learned was in the financial area of the business. I had spent a great deal of time with the business plan and then i had to go through it in GBP (£) again. I realised i had left out many small expenses but at the end of a year make a huge difference. I learned a lot about margins and how important they are. Knowing more about the margins and having better control of them will help me make better decisions moving forward.

    The one thing I thought that may haunt me leaving the den was the dance I made on my entrance. It wasn't planned!! When i said above i walked through to my mark, i meant i danced through!! Check it out here!!

    Fabio's entrance on Dragons Den
    Overall it was a great experience. I learned a lot along the way, challenged myself and it has given me more energy to grow our sales internationally.
    I'd be glad to answer any questions, just tweet me at  @fabmol 
    Fabio
    P.s Big thanks for all my friends & family who gave me bits of advice and helped me put it all together.
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    Posted in Jumpers, Sweaters by Fabio.
  • One Direction wearing Funky Christmas Sweaters on the Jimmy Fallon Show

    One direction wearing funky Christmas jumpers on Jimmy fallon

    Huge thanks to one of your Twitter followers for sending us this picture of One Direction on the Jimmy Fallon show wearing our Funky Christmas Jumpers. Niall is wearing the Irish elf, Zane is wearing super elf, Liam is wearing bling Santa and Louis is wearing Santa of hearts. All these Christmas Sweaters except the super elf which is sold out are available in our online store.

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    Posted in Celebs, UK, Jumpers, Sweaters by Fabio.
  • Love/Hate Photoshopped

    Check out some cool photoshopped pictures of the Love/Hate cast which were sent to us last week. Which is your favourite?

    Love/Hate - Trish and baby

     

    Love/Hate - Nidge

     

    Love/Hate - Patrick

     

    Love/Hate - Ciaran Madden

     

    Love/Hate - Pauley

     

    Love/Hate - Fran

     

    Love/Hate - Elmo

     

    Love/Hate - Aido, Nidge Fran and Elmo

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  • Earn with our Christmas Jumpers Affiliate Scheme

    We are delighted to announce our first ever christmas jumpers affiliate scheme for our products. A lot of people have got in touch asking if we had one and we thought it was time we got it organised. So if you are promoting our products or writing about them you can use your affiliate url to link to our site. Everytime somebody purchases a jumper from your link(s) you will receive commission on that sale.

    If you are interested please contact a fabio@funkychristmasjumpers.com and we'll help you get set up. It simply involves you setting up an account on our site and we then assign you to the affiliate group. You then log into create your links and your ready to go.

    To check out all our funky products including our new christmas shirts and doggie jumper click here

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  • Super Elf Christmas Sweater

    Preview of The Super Elf Christmas Sweater

    Coming to our online store next Wednesday is the Super Elf Christmas Sweater, Santa's bad ass sidekick. It comes equipped with its own removable cape. This sweater is guaranteed to entertain. This sweater will only be available in limited quantities so we advice you to check out the site on launch day, next wednesday 15th October.

    On other news, we can't wait to release our new sweaters. We are getting tons of emails from people asking for us to email them photos of our new range but have them all on lockdown. Is was worth a try!

    Lastly in case you don't forget, we have a calendar entry for your mac or google calendar and it'll alert you of our launch. Click here to download it

    Fabio

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  • Say hello to The Funky Elf, add him on Snapchat with the username THEFUNKYELF. We have some awesome prizes to giveaway as well as behind the scenes footage and sneak previews of our 2014 range.

    On other news our 2014 Funky Christmas Jumpers range will launch on October 15th. We have some awesome new Christmas Sweaters launching and other new products. We can't wait to show you guys.

    As usual if you have any questions feel free to email us or contact on our social profiles.

    Have a great day,
    Fabio

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    Posted in Jumpers, Sweaters, Fun by Fabio.
  • We've started a competition to give away a free christmas jumper every month. To enter all you have to do is sign to to our newsletter and we randomly pick a winner at the end of each month. So far we have had 2 winners.

    May Winner
    Jelle van Dijk from the Netherlands

    June Winner
    Olivia Stewart from Australia

    Sign up to our newsletter at the top of the page to enter.

    Happy Summer

    Fabio

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  • We are delighted to say for the 4th year running, Ryan Tubridy has worn a Funky Christmas Jumper, The Nutcracker. Already a huge seller it is sure to sell out quickly. Get your orders in asap!! To check out The Nutcracker online click this link

    Ryan Tubridy & Fergal wearing The Nutcracker Ryan Tubridy & Fergal wearing The Nutcracker on The Late Late Toy Show 2013

    Fergal is wearing a size XXS.

    Tubridy in Funky christmas Jumpers through the years Tubridy in Funky Christmas Jumpers 2010 - 2013
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