America is not wanting for domestic makers of bow ties. Brooks Brothers, Mo’s Bows, Beau Ties, High Cotton and The Cordial Churchman are just a few plying their trade.
Add to those Homan Briar. Less than a year-and-a-half old, Homan Briar is something of an upstart in the domestic bow tie production business. But what we’ve seen from them so far bodes well.
Homan Briar got its start in early 2014, when Penn State roommates Carl Rowits and Reg Goeke began producing and selling a small collection of locally made bow ties. But the genesis of their idea occurred earlier in their academic careers. At an event for their fraternity, Carl was lambasted by his brothers for the sartorial transgression of wearing a clip on bow tie.
That Christmas, his mother rectified that situation, purchasing five bow ties. But, in young Carl’s assessment, the quality was wanting. So he purchased fabric, and his mother made up a superior version.
It was a hit at his next fraternity function, and a fraternity brother offered him $50 for the tie.
The light of inspiration was sparked.
Carl’s mother sewed some of the first Homan Briar ties. As their business expanded, they hitched their wagon to a recently established local sewing concern that was willing to impose lower minimums on a company like Homan Briar that had more limited initial demands.
Their enterprise is a modest one. But it has expanded beyond the original collection of bow ties to include t-shirts.
The bow tie I purchased is called the “Instant Employment”–presumably because wearing one will bolster your employment prospects. While I look upon that claim with the lighthearted skepticism it deserves, I do have an affection for the tie itself.
It’s a sturdy navy silk twill with pink pin dots that ties up like a dream. It remains to be seen how well it holds up over time. I have a maroon bow tie with white pin dots from England’s Turnbull & Asser that has not. After a few wearings, the dots began to fray.
But I’m hopeful that the Homan Briar tie will avoid that fate. And I’m grateful to see young entrepreneurs like Carl and Reg affirm their commitment to American manufacturing.