Every year Chanukah lasts a short eight nights while Christmas seems to last for months—did you ever feel like something was missing around this time of year? You are not alone. This feeling helped inspire Carin Agiman to create GeltFiend, a company founded in 2012 after a Kickstarter campaign. “Growing up, Chanukah wasn’t that fun. You see these lights and they’re beautiful, and you see these trees and they’re beautiful. And you see Santa talking to all of these kids. It’s all so mesmerizing. Giving people something colorful and vibrant that they can identify with and connect with is important…We need a good PR campaign.” And that campaign comes in the form of Chanukah sweaters. Agiman’s designs aren’t like the Christmas sweaters you’d see Bill Cosby wearing. And none of them follow the standard blue and white colors of Chanukah. “When you look at old-fashioned Chanukah decorations they were all different colors, but somehow we got pigeonholed.” Agiman is able to balance kitschy and fun while making her customers look and feel good.
The fun spreads over into the website, the photo shoots and the videos. You’ll even find a cute story, telling of Santa’s first Chanukah. Every blurb on the site is bound to make you chuckle. The designs vary from patterns of dreidels to an image of an orthodox snow family: “I always have a huge smile on my face when people buy [this one] because it’s a little ballsier,” Agiman said. The most popular design is “Spinmaster,” but that isn’t saying much because all of these designs sell out fast! And celebrities are reported to wear these sweaters too—actress Mayim Bialik and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, to name a couple.
GeltFiend doesn’t just make sweaters. On the site you’ll find bow-ties, hats, scarves, and the newest addition this year, onesies! And maybe next year pajama pants! When asked if she’d consider a summer line since SoCal is mostly hot, Agiman answered, “It’s one of those things that has to feel right. I know there’s a lot of places where cool Jewish products are missing…but it has to be something I really identify with.” For now, she just wants to keep seeing people from all walks of life “using GeltFiend as a way to bring themselves closer together and bridge that culture gap.”
If you want to get Bubbe and Zayda these fun sweaters for Chanukah—while you’re at it get one for the yourself too—go to www.geltfiend.com and order them online. Join Jews everywhere and come out of the closet this holiday season in your GeltFiend Chanukah sweaters!
Dvorah Lewis is pursuing her Master’s in Library & Information Science with a specialization in Archival Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.