Made in America: Spotlight on Knotty Tie Co.
Bringing industrial manufacturing and call center jobs back to the United States has been a hot topic throughout this election cycle and, recently, it landed one American company a moment in the spotlight.
When calling out Donald Trump’s “Made in China” labeled ties and his history of outsourcing Trump products overseas, Hillary Clinton indirectly referenced
American custom tie manufacturer Knotty Tie Co. during her Democratic National Convention speech in July.
Co-founded by Mark Johnson and Jeremy Priest in 2013 thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Knotty Tie Co. proudly hand makes all of its custom products – neckties, bow ties, scarves, and pocket squares – right in its Denver, Colorado manufacturing facility.
The idea behind Knotty Tie is simple: ties can be fun and personal. All of Knotty’s products are completely customized and made on-demand according to customer specifications. Customers work one-on-one with in-house designers to develop colors, logos, patterns, or pieces of artwork to be digitally printed onto fabric and sewn by Knotty’s skilled craftsmen and women.
Each step of the process – from designing to printing and manufacturing – is performed in-house, giving Knotty Pine total control over product quality, quantity, pricing, and shipping. The team of 21 can typically turn around initial design proofs within 1-2 business days, and deliver the final product to customers in 3-5 weeks.
Co-founder Priest noted this advantage over foreign manufacturers, saying to The Denver Post, “If you consider what a Chinese company does, they have minimums, they take months and they really just make a product really inexpensively because of the labor rates. There was an absence in the marketplace for fast turnarounds, no minimum orders and high degrees of customization.”
Knotty will produce close to 50,000 ties, scarves, and pocket squares this year, according to The Denver Post, and the team has future plans to expand their apparel selection and break into the home goods market. Their largest orders come from organizations and companies, with another big chunk going to wedding parties.
Crafting its products through an eco-friendly process, Knotty uses mostly natural fibers and printing on certified 100% organic cotton sateen and knit fabric. By selecting water-based pigments, Knotty also minimizes the waste from excess dye. The company prints its own textiles and cuts and sews each piece to customer specifications.
Not only does Knotty believe in making high quality products, but also in ethical employment and giving people dignified opportunities. It partners with local agencies to employ resettled refugees from developing nations, who otherwise would not have opportunities to work in their trade – often due to limited English language skills.
Several of Knotty’s employees are graduates of the African Community Center’s (ACC) We Made This program, teaching sewing to female refugees – many single mothers. Employees have the opportunity to perform work they enjoy and advance their professional skills in a fair, inclusive environment. Often, they can even practice their English on the job.
Reacting to Clinton’s indirect mention at the DNC, Knotty Tie marketing and manufacturing director Austin Allan said, “I didn’t expect anything like that to happen.” The company responded by inviting her on site for a tour the following week and has since developed a special product line called the Hillary Clinton Collection.
To learn more about Knotty Tie Co., visit their website at knottytie.com