Student Entrepreneurs Find Success with Bowtie Brand
By Lindsey Derrick, Dalton Public Schools Contributor
In the summer of 2011, four upcoming juniors in high school came up with an idea to make a little spare money.
Instead of letting the idea go, Cole Calfee, Robert Hardaway, now both seniors at Dalton High; Cole Townsend, now a senior at Christian Heritage; and Sam Wilson, a senior at Morris Innovative High pursued the idea and made it reality. The end result was Bowtie Brand.
“We were broke,” Calfee said. “It was a group a friends thinking of ideas to make money, and we made the decision to actually do it.”
“Few actually go through with the ideas,” Hardaway said. “That’s the difference between us and others. We acted on it, and great things have come from it.”
At first, the boys were just going to have a clothing business and have the bowtie as their logo, but they perused the bowtie idea further and decided to specialize in it.
“Everyone looks good in a bowtie,” Hardaway said.
Once the idea was in place, they needed a way to make the ties.
They bought a 1953 Singer sewing machine on Craigslist, and started building Bowtie Brand.
The boys designed their own templates, bought the fabric and supplies, decided the shape and length, and of course, had to learn to sew.
“Yea, we’re 18-year-old guys who can sew,” they both said with a laugh.
Both Hardaway and Calfee, now both 18, admit that it took a while for them to produce a presentable bowtie.
At the beginning, it took around two hours to complete a tie. Now they can churn a bowtie out in around 30 minutes.
They launched the website last spring, and had around nine cotton ties that they made once an order came in.
The cotton ties sell for $38, a price that they decided was a happy medium to turn a profit—the boys haven’t even kept any money for themselves as of now. All the money they have made has gone back into Bowtie Brand.
“If the price was too high, no one would buy them, but if it was too low, people would think they were cheap,” said Hardaway.
The number of orders varies per week, but business got booming around Easter when they sometimes had to make 14 ties per night.
“We spent too many night sewing,” said Calfee. “We knew we had to get someone else to do it.”
Recently, they found a manufacturer in New York that is going to produce the ties. With the new manufacturer also comes a new product: silk bowties. The more expansive fabric will draw in a new type of customer, but the guys decided to also keep some cotton ties to appeal to both markets.
Bowtie Brand also has a huge following on college campuses around the nation. Some customers have taken on the role of campus representative at their colleges. To be a campus rep, those interested must apply for the position and send in their resume to the four founders. The boys then decide if they want this person to represent their company.
“It’s been awesome to see how interested they are in spreading the word of the company,” Calfee said about the campus reps.
As of now, Bowtie Brand has a campus representative in 17 colleges, including all schools in the SEC.
“If you have an idea in your head, make it happen,” Hardaway advised. “Just do it. It’s simpler than you think.”
“It’s more successful than we could’ve imagined,” Calfee said of their business. “It’s been rewarding to see the vision play out.”
To shop Bowtie Brand visit http://www.bowtiebrand.com/
- TN/GA Regional News
- National News
- International News
- Tennessee man pleads guilty to defrauding northwest Ga. bank
- Anime, videogame fans gather for Atlanta convention
- Ala. federal judge arrested last year to resign from bench
- Ga. state patrol: Teen dancing in road caused serious crash
- Ga. deputy accidentally shot during training exercise
- Officials vote to fire Ga. teacher accused of allowing sex
- Teen charged as an adult in school bus shooting
- Ga. man sentenced for unemployment fraud
- Anheuser-Busch producing canned water for flood victims
- GBI probing deadly police shooting in Carrollton
- Sharpton tells Cleveland to stay peaceful, keep fighting
- Correction: 10 Things to Know-Friday story
- Pentagon says live anthrax shipments went to 24 labs in 11 states, 2 foreign countries
- Hurricane Andres strengthens far off coast of Mexico
- Latest on flooding: Homes ordered evacuated in SE Texas city
- California beaches reopen after goo cleanup
CHICAGO (AP) -- Former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock has reimbursed the U.S. government for the cost of auto mileage, office redecoration and a flight to Chicago Bears game.
- Latest on flooding: Texas guv ask for disaster declaration
- Officials say those Boston snow piles are even more vile
- Prosecutor: Judge makes errors in acquitting Ohio officer
- US, Iran accelerate nuclear talks a month before deadline
- Pashtuns refuse to bury dead from Pakistan bus hijackings
- 15 wounded in 2 explosions in restive southern Philippines
- Pentagon chief criticizes Beijing's South China Sea moves
- Interpol: Islamic State group gains support in Africa, Asia
- Mexico: Shootout in Baja California Sur kills 2 suspects
- Canada gunman praises Allah in unedited pre-shooting video
- THE LATEST: Brazil's Del Nero denies wrongdoing
- Canada to strip citizenship of dual-national terror convicts
- UN nuke agency report shows Iran probe essentially stalled
Side RoadsTake a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
The Good LifeCelebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
Closings and DelaysThese are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
Educator of the YearView the 2015 Tennessee Lottery Educator of the Year!
Deaf & Hard of HearingInformation provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
Sponsored EventsCheck Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!