On this day in 2011, I made this bowtie. And then I learned how to tie it. ???? Since then, I have made SOO many bowties, tied many bowties and taught lots of folks how to tie Bowties. What a fun, silly business this is. I’ve also now expanded the product line and have added many different haberdashery items; suspenders, pocket squares, pet bowties, baby onesies. I have so much to say about bowties, suspenders and my business and going forward, I’m going to make an effort to tell more stories. Over the years, I’ve made lots of goals (I tend to be goal oriented). Some I have not accomplished at all (like all the times I’ve resolved to blog regularly) and some I really have accomplished. Like right now, I’m supporting myself with the business alone. I am grateful to so many people for this to be my reality. Friends, family, fans and customers… You are all the best!
I would really like to share with you, a bit of the story of the past 6 years of growing the biz….
This is my first booth at Saturday Market. Pre-Bowties. I always wanted to have a business making stuff. I had sold at Holiday Market before this too making bags, wallets, dreamcatchers and pillows. I consider those puzzle balls you see in this photo to be the pre-cursors to bowties.
This is Jeff, a friend from middle school/high school in Florida. He and his band visited and played at Sam Bond’s. They wore bowties on stage and I thought it was a pretty cool look. I was heading up to Portland in a few weeks for The Crafty Rock show and I thought bowties seemed like a fun idea so I made some. I loved them!! Making them was really fun, similar to the puzzle balls, but took much less time. And I loved tying them…like they weren’t actually completed until someone put it on. Well, no one bought them at this show. No one really bought anything. Ha! It was a terrible show. But I had a good feeling about bowties anyway.
I brought that first batch on a family vacation to Vermont. Here is my lovely supportive family wearing the first D&L bowties. I gave them all away. I remember telling my mom, sitting on a dock at the lake, that I felt like I was on to something.
I came home from that trip to get ready for Holiday Market.My Dad came to visit that year and helped me in the booth where I sold bowties for the first time in Eugene.
From then, I was a bit on a bowtie bender. I was pretty obsessed. I have had some very patient roommates and friends who have greatly humored me and my weird messes and constant bowtie business talk.
I could probably write a thousand pages about Kathleen. Just look at this picture! What a good friend. She listened to endless bowtie talk, while turning bowties inside out. And took pictures. And hung out with me in the booth. She needs her own blog post.
This is the house I still live in, but luckily, I have a real living room now!
I’ve moved many times always trying to upgrade my studio. We (me and the bowties) started at the Lawrence Street house. (My studio started before that in a little cabin, but the bowtie factory started there.) I had a small little office off my bedroom where I sewed and 3 roommates. Then the Van Buren house where I had a separate room for the bowties and two roommates. Then, my McMillan house, that I oh so love and still live in. This was just me and the bowties. This was the height of crazy bowtie lady. I didn’t get out much or talk to other people much until Market time. Then I moved the bowtie factory out to the west 11th warehouse with Marley’s Monsters. And now, Marley’s Monsters and I just moved this year into our current studio/shop at 6th & Adams. SO COOL!
I also have a lovely helper, Liat, who keeps me sane in many ways. We do production work together… we get things done and have so much fun. Its really a dream and I’m beyond lucky to have her in the shop.
That pretty much brings it up to now. As I said in the beginning of this story, I have much more to say about bowties, my business and reasons why I love it all. So if you are interested, stay tuned! Once I figure out how to get my email sign up sheet going, there will be one! You can follow along on Instagram @durianandthelyon… that’s where I’ve been doing most of the posting, check out the stories too.
You can still find me down at Saturday Market most weekends through November. The next big show is the Corvallis Fall Festival September 23 & 24 and then my favorite, Holiday Market! Also, do come visit the shop at 886 W 6th Ave. Make an appointment because sometimes, like today, I decide to work from home and I enjoy the freedom to do so. For those not in Eugene, check out the online shop… and please email me if you can’t find something. I’m working on it. I’m pretty happy with where the business is right now, but I do know I could be doing more and am going to keep going.
Thanks for being here! See you out there.