TPT: What types of materials are your favorites to work with?
LX: I love woven silk and polyester. I also love working with cotton. Printed silk is my least favorite.
TPT: Vineyard Vines is known for very different ties. If someone wants a custom made product that's outlandish, do you accommodate?
LX: Of course! I've made bow ties from all kinds of things. Shorts, Capri's, wool suits and love to try new materials. I can also screen print designs onto the fabric so that adds a whole extra level of customization.
TPT: Let's say someone needs ties for a wedding party. Do you handle bulk shipments?
LX: Definitely, I also make custom neckties for wedding parties on a special order basis. I love being a part of weddings and can either track down fabric to make all of the ties the same, or can gather a selection of vintage ties and shirts to make the ties out of so that each member of the wedding party has a coordinating, but unique, pattern. I offer quantity discounts and complementary personalized tags.
TPT: What about women. Do you have products for women? If not do you foresee something in the future?
LX: I used to make hostess aprons out of vintage materials, but stopped to focus on the bow ties. I may add them back into the shop at some point. I have sold bow ties to women and my journals are primarily sold to women
TPT: Speaking of journals, what got you into that market?
LX: I am an avid journaler having written in a daily journal since I was 13 years old, so I go through journals quite quickly. This also makes me very picky about my journals. So I started making my own, knowing that I could pay for the industrial equipment to make them if I could make them to sell. They are as much fun as the bow ties to make since they are also made with vintage and used materials. Half of my job is thrift shopping, hunting for discarded books, and sorting through vintage neckties, it's awesome!
TPT: Do you have any of your work in any boutiques or department stores? If so where can they be purchased?
LX: Currently my work is for sale in my etsy shop and sold at White Elephant Vintage in Toronto, Canada. I also at OAK Boston in Boston, MA, and locally here in Pensacola Fl. at the Palafox Farmer's Market every Saturday.
TPT: Speaking of department stores, with so many small businesses being downsized or muscled out by big retail corporations who outsource; what motivates you to keep making your products?
LX: Integrity. There is a real (and growing) demand for products that are not mass produced and that are unique and straight from the maker. I have been fortunate enough to have people that value these things as my customers and they cheer me on. My little business has been successful, and that is always motivating.
TPT: Well I wish for your business to flourish for as long as you want. If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you be doing?
LX: Teaching high school art, waiting tables, owning a bakery or making something else.
TPT: I'm just happy you're making the products that you make. I think it's an original and refreshing idea. O. k. last question, I always have to ask, JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels?
LX: Thrift stores! But I do visit both JoAnn and Michaels often. JoAnn at least four times as often.
At the end of this interview Laura had this to add - Thanks so much again. I've been fortunate to not only have great customers, but also people that have pushed me along by featuring me like this. I really appreciate it.How gracious is that. You know I enjoy this little past time activity. And I'll tell you this, it's I who feels fortunate to meet such wonderful and talented people. I just wish I could do more.
People, we really do have an obligation to support those who enrich our lives and celebrate who we are. Trust me, I get it. I love me some Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer, Brooks and J Press to name a few. but remember THEY all started just as these fine people have..........with a dream. Let's support them too.
O.k. I'm officially stepping off my soapbox.
Laura's Bow Ties and Journals can be purchased at the following places:
Here's some more samples of her work.
See you guys soon.
Posted By O. Cavanaugh