Jimmy Up owner Mikey Mancuso talks to us!
So what makes Mikey tick,where did the idea for Jimmy up come from......
How long is jimmy up in operation?
2007, this is technically my 10 year anniversary
But it was LATE 2007 so I feel like I’m waiting for Black Friday to release the limited 10 year stuff.
What made you start Jimmy up?
I had a 240sx I bought from a high school friend for $1000 (10 payments of $100) that was automatic. I was broke, but wanted to drift. Designing was something I learned in high school and started enjoying soon after. I thought I could bring the drift community something they would like, while learning to drive myself with whatever I made. Drifting was introduced to me in high school by my, still, best friend that I drive with at in 2004. I had my first 240sx in 2006 and Jimmy Up was started 200714 240's and 10 years later, I’m a happy man.
Where did the name and concept come from ?
I thought "what does Hurley have to do with surfing?" nothing. If I could take something catchy, sexy, that has nothing to do with drifting and turn it into a name that you can’t hear without thinking of drifting... That’s when it is done right. In my opinion.
You’re a Nissan fan like myself so!
Ahhh through and through, although I see myself getting a Toyota if the 13 and 14 can survive. Those are the 2 cars that I have wanted for a lot of years and are first priority.
So where did the name Jimmy up and the slogan come from?
I feel like Sex is what makes the world go round. Mentally, financially, HERE it used to mean putting on a condom years ago. It was short enough to be a name, it was sexy enough to mean something but not be vulgar, and it popped in my head one day at lunch while trying to think of names and said "I could do something with Hard Driving and Safe Sex because its like putting on a rubber" And my same friend that introduced me to drifting said "Support that shit, supporting hard driving and safe sex" It was over. I found the flashiest vinyl I could find and drew a very rough S13 with triple projectors for a tee. It was a pre-order done on Zilvia.net and in the earlier years, those guys had a lot to do with designs that came out and really shaped it's early form. Lots of people were giving opinions and I was taking them seriously trying to make it work.
Has anyone ever made comments about the slogan?
Lots of people were giving opinions and I was taking them seriously trying to make it work. It’s good to see. People say they love it often, every once in a while you see a "WTF!?" kind of face on someone reading.
Where the concept/idea for the gearstick come from? Did you design them yourself?
The shift knobs (Gear sticks) are actually something that I worked very closely with the manufacturers on to establish colour ways for the smoke knobs and flowers. New styles will be here early next year, as well as new styles of steering wheels. Don’t want to say too much but I do enjoy retiring things for good and coming out with new goods!
Moving onto the stickers particularly the stickers of the girl with the umbrella? Japanese influence?
Most definitely. She was actually my 3rd Tee ever. I thought every driver on the D1 grid has one, we need one too. I remember posting a much less ass-y version on Zilvia and people were demanding more. I couldn’t deny the people. She has changed slightly over the years but is definitely our most popular sticker all over the world. I can recognize the smallest corner of that booty in a photo.
So the other stickers that’s available on Jimmy up like Strictly Business how did they come to been produced and where did you get the idea ?
Well, my parents are first generation Italian American. It's actually something that Michael Corleone says before he kills the man that kills his father in the Godfather, "It's not personal, it's business, strictly business."
We grew up watching mafia movies and rocky.
Always thought that was a badass turning point for Michael Corleone and the saying stuck with me. Other things I come up with. Scrape Floors, Bang Doors is something I like to use a lot on tees... may make it a sticker again.
So the other merchandise you have on offer, air freshners, wheels etc tell us something about them.?
SURE! The wheels are what I’m most excited about.
We are doing Steering Wheel Wednesday now, where ALL I do on Wednesdays is engrave one-off wheels with different Anime/Manga on them. I have been drawing Dragonball Z Characters since I was about 10 and I still love it.
I just started offering a custom option where you can select your own colourway and which characters I put on the wheel, instead of just getting what I put up
The air fresheners are crazy, we make 50 of each design and once they are sold out, they are gone forever (same as all other merch on the website) and we are constantly running out of them. It blows my mind sometimes. They go everywhere!
Snapbacks I do VERY limited runs of (8-12 pieces of each design) and those are always changing as our hat supplier likes to stay on top of current trends. We have some more Leather Patch hats in the works, but the may be here JUST before Irwindale FD Finale next weekend.
Some things that arrive just before big events never even make it to the website.
The various T shirts how many of those do you make?
50 of each design!
If it sells out really fast, I will release a different colourway before retiring the design forever.
We NEVER do reprints or bring back old stickers. I think it's cool to see an Umbrella Girl on a car and KNOW around how long she's been on there.
Some are still holding up after 8-9 years!
I don’t know many things I have owned/enjoyed for that long actually, it's so cool that people love it.
Have you ever thought about doing a children’s range?
I have done ONE children’s tee and need to do more. At this point, I still have a list of cars that I need to touch on for adults (Laurel, Cefiro, another BMW Tee), but I will definitely work some in!
JZX, those guys have been very patient
So the UK and Ireland Hub on Jimmyup.com how does that work?
The Hub is something that is the product of one good man helping me. When I was over there, I made more than one friend but one dude was very helpful through my trip and makes his living in automotive photography and offered to hold some stock as shipping went up to $22 per shirt from me to you guys. But in a larger box, we can make it work. It's tough to make work well as we are both just one man on opposite sides of the earth but we are making it!
The idea for people submitting their cars to go on the t-shirts competition…excellent idea. How did you think of this?
Thank you! In the beginning it was a great way to get the name out. Now, people take a lot of pride in it, and that is cool to see.
I also don’t see the reason to disconnect, I like keeping the grassroots guys involved in the company. I’m working to open up a new drift venue/event early next year and things are looking good there. I want drifting to grow, and it has been, but I want to help that growth.
So anything else you would like to share with us about the merchandise side of Jimmy up?
We just released Nobori Flags, and I'm working with some 3d printers to get our Umbrella Girl Drift buttons back.
Other than that... I don’t think so.
So the blog section of Jimmy up tells us more about that!
Well, it’s basically a slow moving Vlog at this point.
Do you intend to keep it for videos or will you be adding written content?
At this point the focus is more video content.
I do some cool things, and need to document some of them.
I would like to do a weekly video and now that I am going to be working on the coupe more, content will come.
I am only one man, and I run all sides of Jimmy Up, don’t know if I want that out there exactly but I don’t deny it if anyone wants to know.
Is Jimmy Up your full time job?
Yes has been for 4 years now.
The events section on the website…who organises all these event? Yourself?
I had a meeting this morning with a new venue and am really pumped I may bring something new to drifting.
This was our second meeting and things are looking great for a January/February event. But I will say no more!
When it comes time to staff the event I do have my best friend who has just as much track experience as I do, and helps keep things running smooth, and the rest of the crew (family and friends) now has a couple events under their belts and things went great at Sunday Funday!
S-Chassis forever, all styles can be cool, nothing good comes without hard work, except the lottery. Drive hard, fuck safe.
Mikey has very kindly offered us a free t shirt and a Jimmy Up sticker for a competition! To be in with a chance of winning this great prize....Tell us below what your favourite JDM car is and Why! We will get Mikey to pick the winner in a weeks time!
So what is your favourite JDM car and Why?