Wrecords by Monkey is a Flea staple. Working out of Bushwick, their one-of-a-kind silk-screened clocks, bracelets, belt buckles, iPhone cases and other wares give a second life to albums past their prime (in play quality, not trend)—and salvages a material, vinyl, that doesn’t exactly biodegrade. The Flea caught up with Team Monkey, aka CEO Patrick “Monkey” Chirico (right) and his partner Brian Farrell, about entrepreneurship, Flea-peddling, and living DIY. You can invariably find them, and their gear, at both outdoor markets and indoors at Skylight One Hanson starting next weekend!
What’s your favorite part of working at the Flea?
The sense of community amongst creative people, vendors and customers. Being able to prototype new ideas and design, get a one-on-one experience with your customer, and then reflect all of this back on to the brand and its products.
Did you have another career life before this and if so, what was it?
This is the only job we have had in NYC since we moved here and we’ve been living off it since 2004!
How did the concept of repurposing records occur to you? Was there an “a-ha” moment?
In 2003 hanging out late night with our group of FITers at a local Chelsea apartment. They were making record bowls and our friend Abby overheated a record. I ran over and instantly picked it up, sliced it, and molded it into the first record bracelet. There the creative seeds for Wrecords by Monkey were planted. And after that it was an ongoing process to keep creating new and innovative ways to manufacture and shape bracelets.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to start their own small business in Brooklyn?
Every person is so unique with their own ideas, skill set, and network of friends. This is what leads you to think up new ideas and concepts. With some entrepreneurial spirit and living in or around the boroughs lends so much opportunity. One really affordable way is local flea markets. Through here you gain access to all types of people you normally would never have access to in your studio or apartment. People ranging from wholesalers and private-label customers to press and even celebrity endorsements. Through the Flea you’re able to see what your customer’s needs are and how you can best meet those needs.
Finally, when you’re not repurposing them, which records are you listening to?
Monkey: WEEN/TALKING HEADS // Brian: SONIC YOUTH/BAD BRAINS