We love wearing neck ties when the occasion calls. But even more so, we love original designs and anything made by hand. Sit back for a moment and let us share with you how we make our ties. I think you'll quickly realize our tie collection relies on an amazing team:
PHASE I - IDEATION & DESIGN
- First thing first... someone on our design team (Jason or Roni) says, "Let's make a tie collection." And the rest say, "Fantastic, let's do it."
- It all starts with a simple design idea! The good ideas are noted and placed on a list for design consideration. Think lots of notes taken in personal notebooks, on napkins (most of them clean), Excel spreadsheets, parking tickets (thanks Boston), in-flight magazines, and the likes. Eventually, they all found a home on one organized list.
- Next, as the ideas are flowing in, themes and inspirations begin to shape into a form of its own. This is where a mood board is conceived and constantly updated to steer thoughts and to allow our design team to create with a similar vision in mind.
- As ideas are accepted and eliminated, the good ideas slowly morph into conceptual designs via pictures, rough sketches and detailed descriptions of color suggestions and patterns.
- The approved conceptual designs are then handed off to our Graphic Designer (David, based in Los Angeles) who then translates our vision into eye candy. Basically, he does all the stuff we can't. This is where the fun truly begins, each design is used as a sounding board to collaboratively improve the designs. We usually keep going until the designs can speak for themselves. You'll never guess how many different iterations of just one design it takes to reach satisfaction! Exhausting, yes, but well worth the stress.
- After a few months of "Phase 1" and after we've reached our target number of designs to complete a collection, it's time to speak with our production reps. They're the ones who turn designs into products.
PHASE II - PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
- One step closer... this is where we meet our factory reps (Michael and Mike) in New York City to discuss each design. After discussing the details of each style, we hand them off to our Textile Designer (Naoko, also based in NYC). She's responsible for turning David's work into weaving patterns for production. This process requires a bit more involvement due to the complexity of weaves, warps, patterns, costs, fabrics, colors, screen prints, etc.
- Once again, after a few weeks of back and forth communication between parties to get the right look, we finally agree to move forward on all styles. But wait... there's more work to be done!
- Now it's sample time. This is the moment where things get real, literally. We find this stage most exciting because we get to use our hands for touch. Who doesn't like to touch, right? This process usually requires about 2-3 months to produce multiple samples. Keep in mind, the first sample is usually far from perfect. Some styles only require a few changes, but others require a lot more attention. Sample turnarounds can take a week or two. In the mean time, we're like kids waiting for Santa to deliver our gifts.
- Samples, samples, samples... that's the name of the game! Production doesn't start until everyone on board approves the samples. It's very easy to get impatient during this phase, but quality comes first. No shortcuts allowed.
- Finally, after what feels like years have passed, it's time to let the factory do what it does best... make ties.
PHASE III - PRODUCTION
- While working with our production reps, they instruct the factory how to precisely make our ties. The reps and the factory are packed with years of neckwear experience... this is a huge plus. Although many exist, a trusted factory is hard to come by... especially hand made production.
- We chose to manufacture outside Shanghai for many reasons... 1) because we wanted to pass savings direct to you, it's hard to find a "Made by Hand" factory that can keep the price down 2) this particular region has worked with silk for thousands of years - they're experts at their trade 3) some of our favorite tie brands are made in the same factory.
- Inside the factory, hands are all concentrated on quality. Some 20+ steps go into the making of a tie. After the fabric is weaved, silk rolls are smoothed out, lines are measured and drawn for cuttings to take place, select pieces are cut for various parts of the tie (tipping, interlining, keeper, etc.). What follows next is a series of activity... interlining placement, folding the outer shell, tipping, facing, installing and removing silk pins, sewing labels, slip stitching, bar tacking, pressing and quality inspection. Bottom line, these words do not give the process justice!
- Remember, not one tie is 100% like the other... each is slightly different from the next.
- After all the ties are made, they're packed with care and then shipped to our warehouse in the US.