I have an instagram account and when new bows come in I post the photos up onto my feed (http://instagram.com/lenoeudpapillon) . When I post the photos I notice that people like them and often I click on those people to see what they are up to themselves. Recently it seems that the first to like my photos are indeed other companies offering neckwear and more specifically, bow ties. One was even brazen enough to ask me where I made my fabrics - the same question a tailor asked me in New York. About a month ago I also noticed on my google stats that one of the referrals that someone had clicked on to arrive at my site came from a list that was produced for internet shoppers called 'The 100 Best Bow Tie Sites In The World'.
When I started my business in 2008 there was one website on the internet offering a range (ie: not just a black bow tie) of bow ties. That business was Beau Ties of Vermont, USA . There was also another company, Vineyard Vines that I found later, and another one, Tie Deals that I discovered a couple of years later which was selling Tom Ford bow ties at a discount. Further along came Mr Porter in 2011. That was then.
A woman I once was besotted with once wrote me an email from Japan in which she inserted a great one liner - 'In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'. Whether I was making the best bow ties in the world, or whether we were dwelling in mediocrity in those first years, it didn't matter so much, since what we were offering, luxury Italian silk tie-your-own bow ties, had not been done before. Certainly not in the way in which we were doing it.
Sadly, today is a very different story. Watching the world of social media explode and people struggling to find something to do, it seems that the #bowties, #menswear, and 'bow ties are cool' kids have overrun the internet. I should not complain. I have made a brand out of social media and blogging, but it is sad to see that this frantic rush across the world lead us back into pre-tied bows. Yesterday I was shopping in the city of Sydney and for all my hard work, to encourage people to learn to tie their own bow ties and know the quality of their fabrics, I was disappointed to see that the trend had now come full circle back to cheap and nasty cloths turned into pre-tied bow ties.
The other week I sat at a bar in Sydney's Surry Hills drinking with a friend after doing a talk on the radio. As we drank our whisky sours a group of four Gen Y's took to the booth next to us. They were dressed in that very Gen Y fashion manner. The cheapest clothes to get the look. One sported clip-on braces and a pre-tied bow tie in polyester. The other wore a three piece suit in a cloth made of God knows what. For all the work that had been done by the 'Early Bloggers' to encourage people to choose carefully their fabrics, their tailors, their trusted brands - it was all in vain once the 'trend' took it's grip.
As one shop owner said to me a few weeks ago when he was between a rock and a hard place "We love your stuff, we know it's the real thing. We know how much time you put into the fabrics. We know it's unique, but there are kids now coming in and they want the look but they don't want to pay the price". Sadly, the said shop owner, once one of the titans of Sydney menswear, closed his doors this week after the liquidators were appointed and the vulchers swooped down to shop the final 7 days with 50% off before the stock was sent to the auction house. We wish that shop owner and his team the best of luck and hope that eventually, one day, people will shop for quality again.
Bow Ties Sydney, Australia - Le Noeud Papillon - Specialists In Self Tying Bow Ties
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