Follow The Munkey (yes, spelled just that way).
You see his sly expression, his Zen pose, grinning up at you from top-quality merchandise or your Instagram feed, and you’re inspired to learn his ways. Recently you may even have seen him on Times Square billboards in Honeysuckle’s New Year’s Eve campaign, where he was part of our historic initiative bringing cannabis, hemp, lifestyle and art together to that electrifying and storied area. This weekend, his same video premiered at the NYC Cannabis Film Festival (NYCCFF), ahead of the launch of his new YouTube channel Happy Munkey TV. We are excited to be the first to report this exclusive on his creators’ story as cannabis culture grows more mainstream worldwide.
Meet Happy Munkey, a smirking simian logo for the lifestyle brand that’s taking the cannabis revolution to the next level.
Seeming at one point to appear out of magic, the company now has huge plans for mainstream awareness in 2019. Known for combining New York swagger and ingenuity into the presentation of their product, the Happy Munkey founders – Big Apple natives who have been longtime professionals in the music and entertainment industry – are expanding beyond their popular accessories to breathe new life into what defines the cannabis community. In their own words, it’s “a sense of trust and value that shows you can meet anyone, from any part of the world, in a place where all that matters is truth.”
One Happy Munkey executive says,
“If you [think about] the image of a marijuana smoker, you conjure up a hippie. But if you think of New York, the images are rappers and Wall Street. Everybody’s working. You can’t survive here if you don’t work. We grew up watching how New Yorkers consume cannabis… It’s the hustle and bustle; it’s affluent style. It’s totally different than everywhere else, but none of these things are being embodied in a brand. New York is the top city in the world that consumes cannabis, so why isn’t anybody catering to the number-one consumer?”
That philosophy, however, can extend far beyond the Five Boroughs, for the brand’s elevated nature appeals to everyone. Its monkey-fied memorabilia, a universal symbol of peace and love, is recognized as an instant key to Manhattan luxuries. Big-name fans from rapper Berner to boxer Shannon Briggs and former New York Giant William Roberts have all been photographed with Happy Munkey’s signature goodies: grinders, trays, pins, gorgeous hats made in partnership with NuggLife and more. But the items’ sleek-chic simplicity fits just as well, and is viewed as often, in the hands of civilian nine-to-fivers who want their cannabis accessories imbued with purpose.
“This is a nationwide and global revolution,” the founder notes. “No matter your color or creed, cannabis brings out your better, happier side. We’ve already knocked so many walls down by focusing on oneness… We’ve seen firsthand that when all walks of life come together, we make a difference.”
His partner asserts that this is reflected in Happy Munkey’s company culture – led by people of color, with a gender-balanced staff – and calls it quintessentially New York: “We are kicking the stigma in its ass and doing it together. We come from immigrants; we work with people from immigrant backgrounds and with lots of women… New York is the melting pot of the world and we all come together to support each other. This may be new to the world, but we’ve been doing it forever.”
So what exactly does one get from becoming a Happy Munkey customer? Aside from sincere human connection, you’ll experience a different high, the heady rush of the collector. Each season, the brand will release a limited-edition set or “capsule” containing various apparel and lifestyle pieces. The black-on-black suede NuggLife hats are a terrific example, with only 50 in the first collection. Meanwhile, the 200 premiere lapel pins sold out in the blink of an eye. Think of it as a cannabis-themed Met Museum catalogue, each capsule illuminating some larger trend from the industry that will eventually hold stories and legends and historic impact of its own.
This month, however, brings extra dimensions to the founders’ vision, ushering in “an exploration of the full spectrum of what cannabis is in New York.” Their YouTube channel, Happy Munkey TV, will go behind-the-scenes with the most influential cannabis advocates today. Every Monday new episodes will feature guests from celebrities and artists to entrepreneurs, educators, doctors, lawyers, journalists and more who reveal why they chose to become involved in the sector. (If you follow Honeysuckle’s Instagram, you might see some familiar faces on an upcoming segment.) Between the interviews, watch for interstitial content directly from people on the street, an up-close-and-personal examination of the differences in how and where the populace consumes in this extraordinary city.
Happy Munkey is also unveiling their own custom hemp-based CBD tea blend and an exclusive line of hemp clothing, perfectly timed to celebrate the passage of the Farm Bill. Supporting hemp over other crops like cotton has tremendous benefits for our planet as well; cannabis sativa l. remediates the soil, requires less water, and is naturally fire and herbicide-retardant.
The next goal is to collaborate with different hemp companies along the Hudson Valley region and develop products for future lines. Not only does that keep the New York connection, but it carries the significance of something truly fantastic (this is, after all, where Washington Irving’s fables originated).
According to the founders: “We always want to be New York based, even though we would love for the other places where cannabis is fully recreational to feel our presence and concept. We would love to touch Las Vegas, California, Amsterdam, Spain, Canada. But we want to [operate] out of New York factories, employ people here. We would love to give more people jobs, especially in the immigrant community, and be able to give back. If things continue as we predict, we can put ourselves in that position.”
With each passing day, there’s a greater chance the Happy Munkey team can turn that beautiful vision into a real-life fairytale. Consider Joseph Campbell’s monomyth plot: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
We may still be some time out from decisive victories, but look at the smile on that monkey. Don’t you want his recipe for joy? It’s the perfect formula: Take a pinch of magic plant, a dash of mythical City That Never Sleeps, and a brand driven by oneness and a few humble protagonists. Together they are bringing delights for all five senses, of a kind not yet imagined, to enhance our existence.
“Cannabis is a bridge to the future,” the founders observe. “We in New York are ready, we at Happy Munkey are ready, and we’re a conduit for what the people want.”
So if you’re ready to follow your bliss to a high-end lifestyle, the hero’s journey begins with a single step. Or a great game of Monkey See, Munkey Do.
Follow the Munkey – on Instagram @happymunkeygoodies (for merchandise and news) and @_happymunkey (for interviews and updates on Happy Munkey TV; click here to find new episodes on YouTube).
Stay tuned for the latest updates on the cannabis and hemp communities, plus planetary wellness and holistic thinking, from Team Honeysuckle. Our issue ONE is now available in Barnes & Noble locations nationwide. Find the store nearest to you through our Locator, purchase copies on our site here, through our app for iTunes here, or our Zinio digital storefront here.