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April 04, 2017 4 min read
Do you remember that part in Goonies, when Chunk has been captured by the Fratelli’s and they’re threatening to put his hand in the blender if he doesn’t tell them where the other “goons” are? So he tells them the story of when he was at the movie theater and he dumped fake throw up on the people below him, which caused an epic chain reaction of puke fits throughout the theater. And he felt so bad……….
So that’s kind of how The Tough Tie started. I use "kind of" loosely. Actually the only relation to that story and ours is the puke. And ours came from babies instead of moviegoers. Kevin and I, Skylar, were young working professionals at a commercial real estate firm back in 2014. We enjoyed what we did and took pride in our first “real” jobs out of undergrad. We were also both newly married and started growing our families at almost the exact same time. Kevin and his lovely wife had a baby girl in Feb. of 2015 and my beautiful wife and I had a baby boy a few months later in May. That’s when the crap hit the fan. Not literally, although I have heard the newborn horror stories... No, ours had more to do with the never ending spit up that babies seem to produce. It’s like an unstoppable supply of unmentionable substance that always comes up at the wrong place and the wrong time.
At our jobs we dressed professionally. Shirt, Tie and Slacks every single day. Over the first year at the firm we both acquired a nice collection of these dress clothes. None were terribly expensive, but still an investment for young guys just starting out in their careers. Unfortunately our closet of goodies was short lived. After each having a kid we soon learned that kids and nice clothes, or anything nice for that matter, don’t mix well. We’d each get home from a long hard day of cold calling prospects to our beautiful families. First thing we would do, like any good father, is pick up our adorable little babies and tell them how much we loved and missed them. And as a sign of happiness and love for us the first thing they would do is spit up a combination of puffs and milk all down our fronts. The first time this happened was sad, but manageable. The second time was frustrating, but understandable. The third time was confusing because we still hadn’t learned our lesson. After getting to work one Monday morning and realizing that we both had gone through the same process of sadness, frustration and confusion at the obliteration of our neckties, we decided it was time to quit complaining and begin solving. So the conversation began about how awesome it would be to own machine washable neckties. The discussion evolved to include other durable features that these neckties would have so they could stand up to not only our babies chunky monkey sauce, but all of life’s mishaps. After five minutes of talking we decided we would start a business based on these rugged, durable neckties. The Rugged Tie. The Super Tie. The Dad Tie. Then it happened.The Tough Tie. Man that sounds good. There it was, the million dollar name!
Picking the name was the easy part though.We quickly realized that we actually had to develop the product and get people to buy it before we could live the rest of our days with our toes in the sand. So we started consulting with our good friend for more direction. You may know our friend. His last name is Le, first name Goog. After much consultation we found a local fashion designer and agreed to pay $150 for a meeting. The rest is history really. One thing led to another. We ended up at an LA Fabric show a couple months later and looked horribly out of place. We somehow figured out manufacturing, marketing, financing, and other aspects of starting a business. And now here we are, two young dudes just trying to create awesome products and an awesome experience for other people who find value in solid products that are made to withstand life’s messes.
Ultimately the point of telling you this story is to show that there’s no secret formula for doing things like this. There’s no magic background, skillset, or partnership that equates to guaranteed success. Really it’s just taking an idea that you’re passionate about, and running with it. The tools and resources available in our world today are unbelievable and enable even the simplest folk, such as ourselves, to create something out of nothing. So get to it, start thinking of solutions to every day problems that you face. But keep going after that. Pursue your dreams and do things you’ve never done before. When you get stuck simply try again. Need to bounce your idea off someone who has no context? Call or email us. We’re happy to throw in our two cents. Sometimes an outside perspective is what gets you to the next level. It has been for us multiple times. Just remember that life is short so you might as well spend it pursuing your own goals and aspirations rather than simply existing.
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