Originally Posted by iroh
Originally Posted by Sam Hober Iron Rock,
Thank you for your kind words although I think there may be a misconception of our cost structure. We actually have a small Thai staff of seamstresses that do a lot of very detailed hand work for us; but much of the work, as in all the design work
of each individual pattern (we do not mass produce ties as Drakes mostly does) and all the quality control
and all the customer contact
is done by Americans.
Also the hand work done by our Thai staff is much more detailed
than what Drakes or other ready-made tie makers will do, we take two plus hours to make a 3-fold construction tie while a high end ready made tie maker such as Drakes may take roughly around half an hour.
So in reality after doing a bit of cost accounting our production costs are probably quite a bit higher yet our prices are quite a bit lower. We also have higher transportation costs for our fabrics and equipment and quite likely higher taxes to pay. And we do not advertise or give away ties etc. as I prefer to go the traditional route of personal referrals - which in this modern day includes the internet.
We do have some advantages in that we have been in the clothing business for over 50 years and weaving silk for far longer than that, which is very helpful. Although the bottom line is that we simply sell directly to our clients and we make a very small profit.
We also love our craft and when time allows we will refocus on our silk farming, dyeing and weaving not to save money (as we probably won't) but because we love what we are doing and we love the creative process.
Growing larger and making lots of money is not
one of our goals; instead we are in pursuit of making what is far and away the finest neckties in the world - which is why we will get back into farming silk, dyeing, reeling and weaving, and I am considering not accepting new clients in a few years so that we can stay small and enjoy what we do.
This is a thread about Drakes so let me conclude by saying I think they have some beautiful classic silks with good construction. I would be happy to suggest buying their ties if they have a design not available elsewhere.
Ed from Pantas ties are also mentioned in this thread and I think he has a really wonderful collection of fabrics
at good prices with great service. I would not hesitate to encourage orders of his beautiful ties.
Last but not least - Derek has done a great writing job as usual his writing style is both informative and interesting, and he has some very good sources for this article - I look forward to the 2nd part.
2 hours compared to .5 hours, 4x as long, you need to train your staff better. what could you possibly do to make making a tie take 2 hours?
the average tie costs 1 dollar at the thrift store. and those thrift store ties look just as bad as any of the most expensive ties in high end mens stores. so how are you even profitable?
I am not sure if you are joking but since today is Christmas Day
as a courtesy I will politely reply to your post with a partial list of our production process:
1) We only make custom made ties not ready made ties so we spend time asking questions before we even start making ties.
With some gentlemen who know exactly what they want this discussion can be simple and clear with others there can be a dozen emails and a phone call involved. Also there can be language difficulties since I am American and mainly speak English but our customers are worldwide. But I am relaxed and patient and eventually I understand what our clients need.
2) We draft a pattern for each client,
again sometimes the patterns are simple to make at other times they can take a number of drafts and revisions.
3) We cut an interlining by hand one by one
and then we shave it perfectly by hand to have the exact shape that we want. The second step of the interlining preparation is more difficult than the first but it is important for a luxury tie.
4) We cut the silk by hand one by one.
Please note that steps 3 and 4 are typically done with many layers of silk piled high by most tie makers which saves lots of time and money - but you can't make a really beautiful and perfectly balanced tie with mass production you can come close but not get the job done for perfectionists
5) We sew the ties together very slowly by hand and at every step of the way we stop and check the tie.
Note a large amount of the time is spent in constantly checking the ties
while they are being made and if we have even a small problem we will take the tie apart and remake it.
Those readers who are in a service business such as public accounting or law etc.. or a luxury product business will understand how import review work and corrections are when the end product or service has to be perfect.
I could go on but I think that you are starting to get the message - it is not possible to make a custom made luxury tie much faster than we do. Most of the luxury ties in stores that you mention rely on beautiful fabric and good but not expert crafting. The demand for luxury construction is a small niche one and I completely understand if you prefer thrift shop ties and I have a tip for you (which you may already know) go to thrift shops in wealthy neighborhoods and even better yet estate sales in wealthy areas.
As for your comment: "thrift store ties look just as bad as any of the most expensive ties in high end mens stores."
Softly, gently and politely I will suggest that you are being amusing. Or we do not visit the same stores? I have seen ties of great beauty in shops all over the world that were very expensive from a number of different makers. I have seen thrift shop finds on Style Forum and it is rare and a great coup to find ties of the same quality. The thrifters who find luxury ties for a dollar are correctly proud of their finds.
Please post photos of the luxury ties that you have discovered for a dollar for us all to enjoy.
As for how are we profitable - I repeat from my above post: "Although the bottom line is that we simply sell directly to our clients and we make a very small profit.
Wishing you and all my friends on Style Forum a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!