I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I grew up helping my father with our real-estate business in the northeast suburbs of Atlanta. I grew up surrounded by the realities and hardships of that business.
My father not only encouraged me to think beyond the confines of a normal nine to five career, but instilled in me the work ethic and initiative required to keep a business afloat. Coming from this background, I’ve never hesitated to pursue my ideas, even if doing so was risky or difficult.
I began my entrepreneurial endeavors selling toys to my younger siblings. As I grew older, I was never short on business ideas, from modern art to dummy firearms for military training. I was determined to start a business even as I made the transition from a small private school to the University of Georgia. After a year of exploring college, I settled on something I was passionate about turning into a reality. I began working on Classic City Cotton the first week of summer after freshman year. With the help of my family, friends, and fraternity brothers, Classic City Cotton took a life of its own.
Bow ties are seen as the fun, preppy, carefree alternative to the more businesslike necktie, so putting one on shouldn’t be equally carefree and fun.
The thought of having to learn to tie a bow tie and repeating the process every time one wears it, discourages men from wearing one. Many men simply stick to the easier to tie necktie and ignore the bow tie altogether. Other companies have tried to solve this in the past with clip-on bow ties (also known as pre-tied), but between the horrendous quality of clip-on ties currently available and the fact that most men see them as “cheating,” clip-on ties haven’t really caught on.
Classic City Cotton’s high quality cotton bow ties, hand sewn by local seamstresses in Athens, can be taken on and off without having to untie them. These bow ties are not clip-on ties, they must be tied at least once like any other authentic bow tie would. The difference is that once tied, the bow tie can be removed from the neck without having to untie them due to a secure and unique fastener integrated into the band.
When I’m asked what I want to do after college, I tell people I’m already doing it. I see these four years as an opportunity to explore and enjoy life with 34,000 other people doing the same, but not a reason to put off what I want to do with my life. My heart is in starting and building businesses and I want to be in the middle of the action, whether it be Classic City Cotton or something else in the future.
I hope that my story inspires others to act on their imagination and turn their ideas into reality. My best advice to others is to not wait for permission or approval, there will never be a good time to start your own business, the present is as good as it gets.
You don’t need an earth-shattering or fool-proof business plan. You just need a reasonable idea and the perseverance and passion to make it something great.
Owner, Classic City Cotton