Today, a man in a bow tie is something of an iconoclast, swimming against the prevailing sartorial current.
From time to time, the bow tie makes a bit of a minor comeback. But, like a man’s dress hat, the bow tie will never be the widely embraced garment it once was.
Still, there are some among us who have a fondness for the things. My relationship with them began on Christmas day in 1984, when I received, at my cajoling, a navy bow tie with red pin dots. My father, who had never been much of a bow tie man but who knew his way around a four-in-hand, worked with me until we got the hang of tying it.
In terms of manufacturing, the United States is in something of a bow tie renaissance. Of course, Brooks Brothers continues to be a reliable source of American made ties. But upstarts like High Cotton in North Carolina, Mo’s Bows in Memphis and Homan Briar in Pennsylvania have added their domestically-produced contributions to the marketplace.
Beau Ties is another voice in that chorus. It’s been around since 1993, when husband and wife team Bill Kenerson and Deb Venman launched the company in Vermont. For years, Bill had purchased hand made ties from a gentleman in California who eventually went out of business. After he died, Bill and Deb negotiated with his family, purchasing his remaindered fabric and his old customer list.
For Bill, Beau Ties was a second career. He launched the company at a time in his life when most people are settling comfortably into their emeritus years.
Over time, Beau Ties expanded beyond the part time confines of Bill and Deb’s home. A dedicated manufacturing space soon materialized, and they added employees as their customer base expanded. Yet, through it all, they maintained a commitment to making the ties in Vermont.
Eventually, they sold the business, but not until identifying a tandem of buyers who committed to keeping production in Vermont.
I recently had the pleasure of purchasing my first tie from Beau Ties. The silk is a beautiful bright slate blue with a pink neat pattern. It ties beautifully and was the deserving recipient of several compliments the first time I wore it.