Knotted Handcrafted Bowties has the perfect gift for the softened gentleman on your holiday shopping list. The company sells handcrafted bow ties and cotton fabric label flowers box ties. They also have bow ties for kids–and even for distinguished dogs.
And get this: Knotted Handcrafted Bowties was launched with just $30 earlier this year by newly engaged couple Jay Hendrix and AJ Washington. Based in Mobile, Al, the company’s mission is to create the most unique, handcrafted bow ties available. And it seems like they are succeeding.
“My fiance (Adrian “AJ”) and I had been trying to come up with a small business we could start without a ton of money. We wanted to create a product that was out of the ordinary. We thought about making pillows or candles, but that is so cliché. After months of thinking, we finally agreed that handmade bow ties could be a big hit,” explains Hendrix. “They are making a strong comeback and we felt that we could make some really great designs. We already had a sewing machine. So, the day after we made the decision that bow ties would be our product, we took a few bucks and bought everything we’d need to make a bow tie. After weeks of practice and creating a prototype, we debuted our first collection on March 30th, the week before Easter Sunday. Our debut was a huge success and we have been rolling ever since!”
And despite having some financial setbacks, the couple took a risk and launched. “We funded the startup with our own money. We were going through a very difficult financial situation and only had about $30 to spare. We were not going to allow the lack of money to deter us from reaching our goal,” shares Hendrix.
Besides the low startup funds, the startup phase went fairly smoothly for the two. “Thankfully, we haven’t encountered many challenges. If any, our biggest challenge was ensuring that we produced a high-quality product,” says Hendrix. “We literally made at least 3 prototypes before we came to our final product. Another challenge, which I’m sure is universal for most small businesses, is making sure that you market well! Posting to social media is not enough! You have to do hours and hours of groundwork (festivals, craft shows, pop shops).”
Knotted is truly a home-based business–at least for now. “We do everything in-house, so it was a lot of new things to learn. Everything from the marketing and sewing to the photography and website was done by Aj and I. We take great pride in ensuring our work is of the highest quality,” explains Hendrix.
They have even gone grassroots in marketing efforts as well–and this has paid off. “We market heavily via social media and hours of groundwork. We do many festivals and craft shows as well. Our products also market themselves. It’s a guarantee that when you wear one of our bow ties, you will receive a compliment! That compliment leads to a conversation that ultimately may lead to a new customer,” Hendrix says.
Looking ahead the entrepreneurial duo is looking to cement Knotted’s initial success–and even include products for women. “We have many goals for 2016, most of which include moves that will solidify our brand. We will have high quality packaging and we are also looking to add a women’s bow tie collection called the ‘She Knot,’” says Hendrix. “Some long-term goals of ours are to continually improve the quality of our bow ties. The moment you think you’re perfect will be the moment that you lose! We are always looking for better; better ways to market, better ways to engage, better and more unique designs to make.”
The startup process has included a few lessons. One says Hendrix is, “You reap what you sew, literally! If you don’t work hard, you will not get the results you desire. It takes thousands of hours of hard work to be successful.”
The couple has enjoyed the startup and it’s outcome so far. Says Hendrix, “We enjoy the excitement and satisfaction of our customers the most. There is nothing like having a young man who has never worn a bow tie buy and wear one of our bow ties or when they tag us in their pictures and we see their big smile with a ton of comments telling them how great they look in their bow tie.”