Business and pleasure have intersected for Charles and Dawn Scott, co-owners of Monkey Grips and founding members of Trail Monkeys 4×4. JCF caught up with Charles Scott to learn more about their company and their Jeep group.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Charles Scott, owner of Monkey Grips. My Jeep club calls me “El Presidente.” I am the president and one of the founders of Trail Monkeys 4×4, along with my wife, Dawn Scott, who is the other founder of Trail Monkeys and co-owner of Monkey Grips. Together, we run Trail Monkeys and Monkey Grips. The two are kind of tied together.
When we first got our Jeep, we began getting to know the Jeep community and met so many amazing people. I started making my first set of grips for my Jeep with a roll of olive drab paracord that was given to me by a friend. After the first set, I started making grips for friends in the club, and from there, it’s all history. Here we are several years later, and now we offer so many great products besides grips.
I was born in New Jersey, but have lived in Florida most of my life, almost a native. My wife was born and raised here in Gulfport. We decided to be a little adventurous once and moved to Maryland. We lived there for five years until work and family brought us back to Florida to stay and raise our family. I am employed with the City of Largo. Monkey Grips just pays for my Jeeping hobbies and parts.
How long have you been a Jeeper?
I got my Jeep about six years ago. When I started, there were not many clubs around. That’s part of the reason Trail Monkeys was formed. Over the years, Jeep clubs have really boomed. There were only a few big events to attend each year. Now there is something great happening almost every weekend and big events almost every month. The Jeeping community has really grown.
What inspired you to start Monkey Grips?
Well, it is a weird story. Our friend’s dad passed away and we went with her to help clean out his place. While helping her I came across a roll of olive drab paracord. She said I could have it because she had no use for it, but that she would like me to make her a few keychains with it so she could have them as a keepsake to remind her of her dad.
With the help of our friend, Casey, and his work on the interweb, we made our first keychains. That is how we started. We stayed up all night learning how to make our first set of grips for my YJ, which I still have to this day. Over the years, we started to introduce new products to our inventory. So began the production of Monkey Grips. Our very first show was Jeeptoberfest in Ocala in October 2014.
What type of product do you make and sell?
We make rollbar grips and door-limiting straps for all Jeep Wrangler Models, zipper pulls for soft tops, rear grips to bolt into the JKU soundbar and rear JKU grips for the headrests, winch straps and hook holders, rock rail foot holders, kid-friendly grips, keychains, bracelets, large and small monkey fists, dog leashes and collars, steel tumbler handles and inner replacement YJ handles.
Nuts and Bolts
Charles Scott is the co-owner, with wife Dawn Scott, of Monkey Grips and the president of Trail Monkeys 4×4, of which the Scotts are founding members. You can check out their products at ParacordMonkeyGrips.com.
What are your most popular sellers?
I would have to say we have three equally good sellers that I cannot keep in stock and sell out of at every show: the steel tumbler handles, zipper pulls and rollbar grips. Often times the tumbler handles will be gone within the first 20 minutes of a show!
What is the turnaround time when ordering online?
We like to keep our turnaround times consistent, whether our customer is ordering online or at a show. If we have the color in stock, the turnaround is normally two or three business days. If we need to order the color, then it turns into five to seven business days. Depending on the size of the order, the processing time can vary as well. A very large order will take longer, but that expectation is given at the time the order is placed.
What events do you attend, and where do you sell your products?
We sell our products online at ParacordMonkeyGrips.com. We also sell our products at the many local Jeep shows and markets around the area. My favorite shows are Jeeptoberfest and Jeepin’ with Sherriff Judd, but you can also find us at Jeep Beach, Jeepin 4 Justice, Jeep vs. Harley, Krawlin’ for the Fallen, and several local markets. We have plans in the future to add more shows to our list, hopefully even a few out-of-state events.
Are your products handmade?
Yes, all of our products are handmade. We do not buy and resell anything. Our products are made for Jeepers by Jeepers. That is what makes us different. Our entire family has their hands in the grip making. Everyone contributes and helps where they can, that’s what keeps us going strong. That and they’re cheap labor. … Just kidding!
Everything we tie is the same over and over. We focus on keeping tight knots and superior quality. It is tedious work, but the look on our customers’ faces when they see the final product keeps us going. We love the people we meet, the friendships we have made and the smiles that are a result of what we do.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Take care of each other like you would want to be treated — not just as a business owner but as a Jeeper. When we started Monkey Grips, a wise man told me that, to have a successful business, treat everyone equally, whether it’s the $1 spender or the $1,000 spender. Treat them the same and you will never fail. So, to this day, I try and stick to that. Whether you’re buying a dollar keychain or forty-five dollar grips from me, they get the same attention.
I feel like my customers really appreciate that in our business. That is why we are still going strong. Tight knots tied by Jeepers for Jeepers. Come see the difference you can feel.