Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the co-author of Bowties & Boatshoes and the founder of the newly launched Starboard Clothing Company, Ben Meredith.
Ben, a recent law school grad, first started blogging with a friend out of a mutual love for the East Cost Preppy Style.
A true entrepreneur, he started creating his bowties off of a sewing machine he got for $30 on ebay and learning to sew in his 20's from his grandma (something I can relate to, and wish more people did!).
Some of my favorites from his current collection are:
Any good southern girl can appreciate the look and feel of a colorful bowtie against a crisp oxford paired with khaki's and boat shoes; but most especially on gameday! I love the fact that Ben call's his ties 'beau' ties like the southern name. These products are personalized with great patterns and a handmade touch that's hard to find in this day and age.
Check out what Ben had to say to some of the questions I threw his way:
Where did you first develop your style?This is probably the most complicated of all of the questions. I've always thought that the "Prep" style was attractive just in general. When I was a little kid, my mom put me in madras shorts and polo shirts. To be honest though, I probably didn't start putting in enough effort to be called a "prep" until law school. I had always worn boatshoes and had always had polos and nice looking button downs etc., but I didn't always tuck them in or take good care of them. In retrospect, my love for the style that I now pursue developed through growing up in Severna Park, MD (about 10 miles from Annapolis) and all of the nautical influences that go with growing up in the Annapolis area and the general desire to present a better image to the people I interacted with both on a daily basis and just occasionally.
What do you hope your products will convey about yourself and your style?I don't know that I hope to convey anything specific with the products other than it's possible to dress nicely and still have fun. You don't have to conform to the 4" wide power necktie or the once again popular "mad men look," you can dress nicely and enjoy doing it because you get to express your personality in what you choose to wear.
What has been the hardest thing about starting your own business?
For me personally, the two hardest things were and are the amount of time that running a business properly (including but not limited to customer service and creating quality products) and finding a way to fund the business on a small budget of someone who just recently finished undergrad and lawschool.
What other products do you hope to add to your portfolio?
Ideally, we'll be adding Koozies sooner than later so that people can rep Starboard at tailgates and elsewhere. We are planning on adding a "premium packaging" option soon for bows intended as gifts, or just as a nice addition to any order. Additionally, eventually we would like to do neckties for those out there who like our style, but simply don't like the bowtie. Finally, we're looking at adding both a t-shirt and a few polos, as well as a hat or two. All of these are in varying degrees of research and development and we don't have a firm timeline for any of them, but we certainly intend on expanding the product line beyond bowties and croakies in the near future.
I can't wait to see what else Starboard Clothing comes out with. You can be sure I'll be telling BF about this... or maybe something will just pop up in his Christmas Stocking ;).