Brackish Bow Ties Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary
Brackish founders Ben Ross and Jeff Plotner. Photo: www.brackishbowties.com
Anyone who has ever dreamed of running his own company has probably lost sleep over the widely held belief that 90% of new businesses fail within the first few years. Not so, however, for the founders of Brackish. In fact, partners Ben Ross and Jeff Plotner have a great deal to smile about. They’ve beaten the odds with a commonsense formula that includes a great product, sound fundamentals, strong leadership, a committed team – and yes, loads and loads of hard work. Just five short years after its initial launch, Brackish and its line of handcrafted feather bow ties now occupy an enviable niche in the world of men’s clothing and accessories. According to the company’s LinkedIn profile, what began as a “thoughtful grooms gift between friends” has evolved into an internationally recognized brand found on the shelves of such notable retailers as Harrods, Neiman Marcus and Orvis. And for those of you who prefer the ease and convenience of online shopping, a wide selection of Brackish bow ties, cummerbunds, and lapel pins is now available at www.epicmens.com.
Described as wearable art, each Brackish creation pays homage to the company’s Southern heritage and its founders’ deep respect for nature. The turkey, pheasant, quail, rooster and guinea fowl feathers used in Brackish bow ties, cummerbunds, and lapel pins, range in color from rich, earthy russets to shimmering, iridescent blues, and all are sustainably sourced from farms around the country. Each feathered bow tie takes four to five hours to assemble. And a team of 50 skilled artisans, based in Charleston, South Carolina, hand selects every feather, so no two bow ties are exactly alike.
To mark the fifth anniversary of Brackish, we went looking for the story behind the impressive brand – and we found it in a March, 2016, Forbes Trep Talks interview. During the back and forth discussion, Plotner describes the company’s humble beginnings and rapid ascension for Forbes staff writer Susan Adams. It turns out that when the artistic visionary behind Brackish, Ben Ross, decided to make turkey feather bow ties for the men in his 2007 wedding party, he didn’t realize he was laying the groundwork for a soon-to-be successful homegrown business. But the unique gift had caught the attention – and imagination – of Plotner, one of Ross’s close friends and groomsmen. While talking with Adams, Plotner recalled how, after graduation, he tried law school, as well as selling everything from mortgages and insurance to heavy equipment, but nothing stuck. He found himself searching for a great entrepreneurial idea, and luckily, he knew it when he saw it. In 2012, Plotner and Ross teamed up to launch Brackish, named after a combination of the fresh inland waters Ross grew up around and the coastal waters Plotner frequented.
Armed with only $750, the partners participated in an online flash sale, selling 450 feather bow ties in just 72 hours. It turns out selling the bow ties, however, was the easy part. Over the next week, Ross and Plotner converted the latter’s two-bedroom condo into a mini factory, working around-the-clock to fulfill those initial orders. A period of what Plotner referred to as “guerrilla marketing” ensued. Plotner was not shy about cold calling local retailers, and as more customers became familiar with the brand via word-of-mouth referrals, press releases, fashion blogs, and social media, demand ramped up quickly. Breakthrough moments, Plotner told Adams, included Bill Murray’s 2014 Oscar appearance wearing a dashing black tux accented with a one-of-a-kind Brackish bow tie. Since then, other celebrities, including actor Marcus Scribner and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., also have been spotted sporting the increasingly popular neckwear at such high-profile events as the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards and the 2017 Speedway Children’s Charities Gala. Additionally, Brackish has been featured on the pages of several trend-setting publications, including Forbes, Vanity Fair, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, and People Magazine. Loved by both outdoor enthusiasts and fashion elites, the up-and-coming brand attributes its universal appeal to an eye-pleasing blend of “natural elements” and “avant-garde style.”
Brackish has come a long way from where it started in a spare room of Plotner’s condo. Today, Brackish bow ties sell for between $165 and $275 and can be found in more than 250 retail locations around the world, as well as on upscale men’s apparel and accessory sites such as www.epicmens.com. Visit Epic Mens today to check out our best-selling Brackish bow ties, along with our most recent arrivals. We’re proud to be able to share this exciting men’s accessory line with you, and our hats are off to the entrepreneurs whose hard work and dedication made it a reality. Once you get a glimpse of these creative and truly stunning accessories, we’re confident you’ll feel the same way.
Congratulations Brackish on five incredibly successful years, and we wish you many more to come!