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Naughty Monkey

Behind the Scenes at Naughty Monkey, Dereon and Not Rated

Naughty Monkey Come with us on a behind the scenes look at the people responsible for creating and marketing three of today’s funkiest and most successful brands; Naughty Monkey, Dereon and Not Rated.

What started off as a small sneaker collection with a grassroots marketing strategy has grown into a global enterprise with over 250 world-wide employees, a rock and roll vibe and an ever-growing base of loyal fans.

Based in San Diego, California, the design team consists of Founders Jonathan Mohseni and Hamed Mohseni, Naughty Monkey/Not Rated Brand Director Jay Randhawa, Creative Director  Janell Randhawa, Dereon/ Tallulah Blu Brand Director Peyman Mohammadlou, Marketing Director Mike Cortez and  Supervisor of Public Relations Valerie Franks along with a global team of designers, shoe makers and international partners.

How An Idea Became A Household Name

The name Naughty Monkey was born many years ago when Marketing Director Mike Cortez was working late, sketching brand ideas with a television on in the background.

He casually noticed that a band performing on the TV resembled a group of monkeys…naughty monkeys, he thought. Naughty monkeys…NAUGHTY MONKEYS!

The next day, he introduced his potential new brand name to company founder Hamed Mohseni and the rest of the design team. After some discussion (and a few laughs,) a courageous decision was made and the rest, as they say, is history.

Soon after, the Naughty Monkey brand grew to become an essential fashion choice for stylish ladies who appreciate one-of-a kind footwear and up-to-the-second style.

Now, the brand can be found in specialty boutiques and the best department stores throughout the United States and across the globe.


In addition to producing seasonal collections for their Naughty Monkey and Not Rated labels, the company also works with licenses to create unique footwear.

In 2007, they began a successful (and continually growing) relationship with Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles to create Dereon – a brand that features, most notably, clothing, handbags and eyewear personally approved by Beyoncé and her talented mother.

Named in honor of Beyoncé’s maternal grandmother, Agnes Dereon, the Dereon collection is a reflection of Beyoncé’s style that truly carries her DNA. It was Agnes who taught Beyoncé’s mom Tina to sew. Tina would later use this talent to become the stylist for Beyoncé’s first group Destiny’s Child, helping them create their signature style. Their totally unique style did not go unnoticed in the fashion world – Tina was often given permission to alter other designer’s clothes to suit the needs of the group and their look.

Each collection in the Dereon line incorporates Beyoncé’s glamorous and “in your face” attitude. All of the shoes in her collection are fierce and feminine – from the Superstar pump to the Explosion over the knee boots.

A Shoe Is Born

Naughty Monkey Shoes - A Shoe Is Born The concept for each collection is born out of inspiration from around the world. Design ideas, fashion trends, materials and fabrics are found everywhere… from street fashion in Asia to the runways of Milan, New York, London and Paris, anything can inspire the next great shoe collection.

It can take up to 18 months for an idea to evolve from a simple sketch to the shelves of your favorite store – although that may seem like a lifetime, the creative team at Naughty Monkey is constantly on the lookout for their next inspiration.

Diana Medrano does just that. As the person responsible for trends and materials, she works about six months ahead of the design team scouring the globe for inspirations, hardware, ideas and materials to bring back to the team. The items of inspiration can be as straightforward as a material swatch or more of an abstract idea such as a postcard in a storefront. It all comes together through story and trend reports that the designers will use to create the collection.

What sets the brand apart is how the team uses the inspirations that Diana provides. The designers aren’t satisfied sticking to just one trend: Naughty Monkey is known for mixing multiple trends together to come up with completely new and fresh interpretations of each season’s fashion inspirations.

It All Starts with a Doodle

Many of the shoes that come to life begin as a sketch. For Creative Director Janell Randhawa, the inspiration usually comes from the raw materials. “I get inspired by materials. If I see something on a material and I want to use it I think – How can I apply it?” Her initial doodles come to life in a taped-up, mocked-up shoe design from which a sample is made. Once the team is happy with the sample, exact specifications are created and sent to manufacturing for production.

Naughty Monkey Shoes But the fun is just beginning!

The collection now lands in the capable hands of Valerie Franks, Supervisor of Marketing and Public Relations, and her team members, Amanda Swulius and Sarah Cortez.

They start their process by creating mood boards to examine the trends that inspired the shoe and carefully assemble clothing and accessories to complete the look. That inspiration is carried through to a casting call and photo shoot.

The team ensures the models are a good representation of who the consumer is and portray an image of who the consumer aspires to be.

Once the collections are ready to hit store shelves, the team employs multiple marketing strategies to spread the word about the new collections. Naughty Monkey has been a featured wardrobe brand for many TV shoes, including The Bachelor.

The team works directly with fashion editors, sending samples to be featured in magazines as well as maintaining a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

They partner with global fashion bloggers who rave about the latest designs and collections to their readers and It never hurts to have some of Tinseltown’s most fashionable toes strutting around in their creations and has become the brand of choice for some of today’s most popular ladies.

Even Sarah Palin is a fan…often seen campaigning in Naughty Monkey shoes during her run for Vice President in 2008.

It goes without saying that the staff at Naughty Monkey is busier than ever!

From research and development to design, manufacturing and marketing, the team works diligently to create the unique image and brand lifestyle that has become synonymous with the name.

Check out the amazing Spring 2012 collections available now – if you don’t know where to find these brands in your area, visit their website at,, to find a retail location near you.

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