Tie Society is an innovative monthly subscription service for designer menswear accessories like ties and cufflinks.
In this interview, co-founder Jake Kuczeruk explains what motivated them to launch the company, describes the Online Closet concept, gives tie-related advice, and more.
What's the story behind Tie Society, and what motivated you to start the business?
Jake: The story of Tie Society's growth is a classic one: A couple of broke guys who were a few years out of college saw a problem (looking sharp every day can be pretty expensive) and created a hack for getting around it (trading ties amongst ourselves on the weekends).
We started this company because we believe in the old adage to "dress for the job you want, not the one you have." We were sick of a chunk of our paychecks going to a few new ties each month, and trading seemed like the best way to avoid that.
Initially, the concept was devised on one fateful Sunday over beers and football in Washington, DC. After a few friends took note of what we were doing and wanted in, the decision was made to take the service online and begin expanding our network.
Shortly after, 500 Startups's Paul Singh (also a DC guy) ran into us (once again, at a bar) and liked our concept enough to invite us out to be a part of their Mountain View-based Startup Accelerator program.
What are the major pain points that you're aiming to solve with your business?
- Creating more diversity in your wardrobe
- Reducing clothing costs
- Learning how to complete the look with personalized style advice
- Getting menswear items delivered to your doorstep (does anyone truthfully enjoy going to the mall? Maybe for Cinnabon... but that's it.)
What makes Tie Society different than the competition that is out there?
Jake: One of our core points of differentiation from other menswear subscription services is that we don't make users pay more for our "nicer" products.
We believe that our most active users should be rewarded for checking the site on a regular basis - and they're the guys walking away with the Burberry and Hermes products that are often in high-demand.
We also provide users with unlimited free swaps each month - allowing users to rent more ties per month, without breaking their bank.
Product-wise, our collection appeals to all occasions and levels of formality. Our members tend to work in a wide-range of different industries - from web developers to newscasters to NYC finance guys.
We're curating a more versatile product offering than others who may be focused strictly on a single segment of the market.
We'd also consider many of the affordable - yet stylish - tie manufactures out there to be competition as well, which is why we prefer to work together with them as partners.
Tell us about the Online Closet. How does this work?
Jake: Anyone who has ever used Netflix's rental service should have no troubles navigating it.
Users simply browse our collection of items and add the items they'd like to receive to their Online Closets.
Pick any mix of ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, tie bars, etc. and shuffle your queue manually to provide control over which items will be included in your next batch.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception that guys have when it comes to ties?
Jake: Being based in San Francisco... I see misconceptions about ties all too frequently.
Tech industry workers don't feel that they can wear a tie without looking like they're an "outsider." Well guess what? Mark Zuckerberg himself wore a tie every day for a full year - right at the height of when Facebook was really starting to take off.
These guys need to realize that the venture capitalists/angel investors that they're pitching to likely didn't make their money in tech (gasp!) and expect you to show up looking like you [actually care].
If the goal is to come across to investors that you're trustworthy and professional enough to accept their millions and give them back a favorable return, then it's probably high-time to ditch the hoodie and flip-flops.
And what is the #1 tie-related issue you think guys struggle with?
Jake: What they struggle with: it's a toss-up between which width is most appropriate ("is the super skinny, Green Day-esque look still in?") and which knot is the best fit for a specific occasion.
What they should struggle with: finding a tie bar and learning proper placement. Honestly, the simple addition of a tie bar is the easiest way to make your entire outfit look worlds better. It will never cease to attract a torrent of compliments.
If you could give our readers just one tie-related tip, what would it be?
- Close your computer.
- Walk over to your closet.
- Check your tie rack for clip-ons.
- Throw said clip-ons in the trash immediately.
- Burn that trash.
How can our readers learn more about what you're up to and connect with you online?
Jake: I try to pride myself in always being easily accessible.
If you're interested in knowing more about what I'm working on (like my newest venture, FutureGift) or have any questions for me/would like feedback on any projects, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with me on Facebook (there is only one Jake Kuczeruk out there), chat with @tiesociety, @futuregift, or @kuczeruk on Twitter.
Step Up Your Game
A big "thank you" to Jake for the interview!
But that's not all... Jake has also provided a discount code that can be entered on their Registration Page, which gives you 50% off your first month of service on their 3-item plan. You'll pay just $9.99 instead of the typical $20.
Use this code: DAPPERDONE
And if you're down with looking dapper - but NOT down down to go shopping, do yourself a favor and check out "Doorstep Dapperness," which is a resource guide of 37 ways you can have "dapperness" regularly delivered to you.
You can download a free copy of "Doorstep Dapperness: 37 Ways to Get Dapperness Regularly Delivered to Your Door" by clicking the image below: