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All Knotted Up

Ronald Jordan II started his custom bowtie business for big and tall clients when he realized the only way to get the product he wanted was to make it himself. Now, he sells his bowties and other merchandise through multiple web portals and a brick-and-mortar location in Oklahoma City.

For more than a decade, Ronald Jordan II’s dream was to start a big and tall men’s fashion line.

“As a big guy that enjoyed nice clothes, it was hard to find things that were stylish and in my size,” Jordan said. “Fashion for big and tall men is so underpopulated right now. I think there are designers now who are pushing forward big and tall representation in fashion, but even 10 years later, the big and tall stores still aren’t selling a better selection of bow ties.”

Everything came full circle at his 30th birthday in 2013.

“I wanted to wear a bow tie for my party but finding something that fit and was the right design was impossible,” he said. “Whether I searched stores in Oklahoma or stores online, my options were blue, red and black, and most were pre-tied. I said, ‘There has to be a better way,’ and that’s how the process started.”

For the occasion of his birthday, Jordan bought fabric and borrowed his mother’s sewing machine. He thought, at first, he could just add an extended piece so that the bow ties would fit a larger neck.

“But the bow tie itself was not designed for a full or larger face,” he said.

Jordan realized he had to develop his own pattern. After making a bow tie for himself, he began getting requests from friends and peers.

“I was a probation officer by day, so attorneys came in and I would talk to them about it,” he said. “They started making purchases, and then their acquaintances and coworkers began to make purchases. It bloomed from there. This was the beginning of Store Envy and Etsy. We sold our products on those platforms for a few years before we moved to our own website in 2015. And our business has just continued to grow.”

Ronald Jordan is the only “seamster” in the business. Each bow tie is made by him, by hand. Now, Knotted Bow Ties also offers hats, shirts, hoodies and masks as well as custom bow ties for men, women and children through their online store.  Along with his online store through his site and online stores like Etsy, his bow ties are also available at Belle Books & Boutique in Oklahoma City.

“I’ve worked with all kinds of fabric,” he said. “Silks, satin, polyesters, fur. You name it. The only thing I do not like working with is sequins. I have converted straight ties into bow ties. I have converted pillowcases. I will use anything that a customer brings to me as long as it is usable and pliable. I love working with clients to create a one-of-kind item.” 

From Ronald Jordan II: Tips for Creating a Successful Small Business

  1. Your first goal should not be to get rich. Prepare for hard work without reward at first. It may take a couple of years to see a profit.
  2. It must be something that you are passionate about. Running a small business is hard work. If you are passionate about the work, you will more likely have fun.
  3. It must serve a purpose. If you see the need in yourself or in your community, you are more likely to work hard and work consistently to meet your goals.
  4. If your artwork is good, people will wear your merch and advertise for you. Knotted Bow Ties has hats, hoodies, etc, that sell well because of the art. This is free advertising.
  5. Marketing must be consistent. Keep it up. Keep it consistent.
  6. Align yourself with other organizations that you can partner with. Find events that you can partner with. For example: Knotted Bow Ties found and partnered with Fields & Futures Annual Bow Tie Ball for mutual benefit and advertising.

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