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Q&A with Michael Hill of Drake's conducted by Derek Guy of StyleForum (Part 1 of 2) - Page 4

post #46 of 70
You know, I don't think I've ever gotten a high from owning a plateau product. Maybe that's because my plateaus are more like muddy shoals. But that thinking doesn't really fit into my approach to clothing. I just want stuff to look a certain way. Mostly like it did in the 1960s.

I suspect, F., this is where our differences become irreconcilable.
post #47 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

I just want stuff to look a certain way.

...

I suspect, F., this is where our differences become irreconcilable.

That's actually where we don't differ.
post #48 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

That's actually where we don't differ.

Yes, I'd agree that's true. That's why I think it's silly when you try to sell me lines about Drake's being a safety net. You dress well because you have a trained eye and know what you want.
post #49 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post


Iroh, if you read the interview between the lines, Michael Drake describes how to make his ties with your own materials at home.
A necktie and belt are approximately the same length, and you can repurpose a leather belt into a necktie if you pound out one end into a more triangular shape using a hammer (or if you don't own a hammer, with a full jar of kosher pickles.)


+  the belt-tie is edible-  outstanding thinking, and will  add to my 'The Permaculture Home Tailor" (forthcoming)

 

post #50 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

Yes, I'd agree that's true. That's why I think it's silly when you try to sell me lines about Drake's being a safety net. You dress well because you have a trained eye and know what you want.

Well, maybe if I put it a different way: I don't think guys should rule Drakes out because their ties are expensive. It is better to get an expensive tie at full price that looks good than getting a bunch that do not because you think that you got a great deal.

As for "why" Drakes ties are expensive, I agree that is orthogonal even if there are reasonable (to me, at any rate) explanations for it.

As for "why" get a Drakes tie at, oh, 50% more than a tie equal (or even superior) in make, the reason is right up your alley: if Drakes has a pattern that the others do not, and that is a "look" that you want.
post #51 of 70

The first photo is from Tokyo.  Is that just a stock image?

post #52 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronRock View Post

Curious to know why you felt 'let down?'
I hope Mr Drake got a fair and good price after 30 years graft, but as a private company there is no need for either the buyer or seller to contemplate revealing what the agreed sum was.
I think both Drake's and Hober ties are fantastic. David does have the benefit of cheaper labour working as he does from Thailand. I should add that this in no way compromises their fantastic quality. Working out of London I think the Drake's ties are fairly priced.
Thank you for a great interview - I look forward to the next instalments.

I was joking.

Oh.
post #53 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

Well, maybe if I put it a different way: I don't think guys should rule Drakes out because their ties are expensive. It is better to get an expensive tie at full price that looks good than getting a bunch that do not because you think that you got a great deal.
As for "why" Drakes ties are expensive, I agree that is orthogonal even if there are reasonable (to me, at any rate) explanations for it.
As for "why" get a Drakes tie at, oh, 50% more than a tie equal (or even superior) in make, the reason is right up your alley: if Drakes has a pattern that the others do not, and that is a "look" that you want.

I have noticed over the years that I cannot afford to be cheap.
post #54 of 70
Anyhow... is part two of the interview up yet? I can't seem to find it.
post #55 of 70
...
post #56 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronRock View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

For some reason I was hoping the value of the acquisition would be revealed in this post. I was let down.

..... I think both Drake's and Hober ties are fantastic. David does have the benefit of cheaper labour working as he does from Thailand. I should add that this in no way compromises their fantastic quality. Working out of London I think the Drake's ties are fairly priced. .....

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.
post #57 of 70
Yet again, David proves himself more of a gentleman than most. Kudos to you, sir.
post #58 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hober View Post

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?
post #59 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by iroh View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hober View Post

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?

IROH,

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!
post #60 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hober View Post

IROH,
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!

David,
Thank you for your informative posts, which are a pleasure to read. I suggest you to take a look at iroh's other posts before giving him the benefit of the doubt. As you know, the work that you and your employees put into your products are well appreciated by many on this forum, including myself. Many thanks to you for the deliveries I have received from you this year. I look forward to receiving more next year, which I hope brings happiness and health to you and yours.
Happy Holidays
David
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