Beauhawk Offers Classy Ties for Classy Guys (And Gals)

You may be able to buy a tie at any department store in the area, but Beauhawk, a tenant of the Runway fashion incubator, offers a new twist on a traditional idea. From skinny to traditional with unique patterns and fabrics, Beauhawk offers a variety of long, skinny-pointed, pre-tied and bow ties. With their ability…

Photo by Moxy Imagery Studios

You may be able to buy a tie at any department store in the area, but Beauhawk, a tenant of the Runway fashion incubator, offers a new twist on a traditional idea.

From skinny to traditional with unique patterns and fabrics, Beauhawk offers a variety of long, skinny-pointed, pre-tied and bow ties. With their ability to offer special orders, and combination of non-traditional prints and fabrics, you can get a tie unique to you, unlike anything you’d find in a department store.

Founded:

Ian Mull
Jim Sylvain
2012

Problem Being Solved:

Until the establishment of The Runway, there really hasn’t been much fashion in Greater Lansing. BeauHawk strives to change that and provide an opportunity for a fresh fashion perspective in the area. It gives residents of the area the chance to look good while discovering home grown talent. Ian says they want to, “sell special products that mean something to people.” Instead of the mass produced product you find at department stores, these products have a story and local roots.

Where the Idea Came From:

Ian’s partner, Jim Sylvain, is a physician and discovered a study that stated long ties were contributing to the spread of disease, particularly Mersa, in hospitals. Jim decided to start wearing only bow ties and since Ian had always had an interest in fashion, they decided to start a line. They focused on making ties than were different than your traditional ties. “It’s based on a traditional idea,” says Ian, “but we added a twist.”

The ties sometimes use two different fabrics with nontraditional fabrics and prints. “You can get two different looks out of one tie.” The ties also use a number of different linens instead of silk.

“They embrace a different path.”

Exciting Opportunities:

Taking a small, kernel of an idea and developing it into a product that is enjoyable, functional and fashionable is exciting to Ian. “It’s great to see it end up with a happy customer.” But the excitement doesn’t end there, and Ian enjoys the fact the product is always evolving and changing. “It’s a fun process.”

Target Customer:

While they are going for doctors who don’t want to contribute to the spread of disease in their hospitals, they have also noticed a rise in the tie-wearing population. “The bow-tie is being worn less formally,” says Ian, “It’s pretty versatile.”

They are also looking to the Hipster population, and even women.

Biggest Challenge:

“Everything is always a little more complex than you think it will be,” says Ian in regards to their biggest challenge. Things take longer and cost more than you expect and, he says, if you don’t have the endurance it can make things very challenging.

They also strive to stay local when it comes to materials but because of rising costs, this can also be a challenge.

Lessons Learned:

Beauhawk took a break and they are now back in the Runway and ready to launch. But, through that absence, Ian learned you have to have a lot of mechanisms in place to run a business.”You have to make sure you check and double check things, think ahead and anticipate all different alternatives.”

Funding:

Bootstrapped

The Future:

In one year, Ian would like the expand the variety of products they offer and eventually offer a full, ready to wear collection. In five years he hopes they can double in size with more employees, higher sales and just continue growing, eventually expanding into their own chain of stores.

Advice:

Ian’s advice to those entering the startup game would be to stay true to your product and your vision; don’t compromise. “Any time you do, it sets you back.”

Lansing’s newest incubator, The Runway, one of 7 best places in Lansing to start a business, is up and running and will soon be open for retail sales. The state’s first fashion incubator, it houses individuals and companies creating unique, innovative, and of course, stylish lines of clothing.

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