It seems like almost nothing is made in America these days, but in Brooklyn, NY-based Graham Withers is bringing handmade goods back to market. This two-man outfit based out of an old whipped cream factory makes ties, bowties, and pocket squares by hand in very small batches.
It began as a passion project, but when they started giving away their handcrafted ties to friends and family they quickly realized there was money to be made and started selling them at local craft fairs. Eventually they enlisted the help of a manufacturer to help make the ties faster. Now they sell a few hundred ties and pocket squares each year, and they never make more than a couple dozen of any one item. It may not be big business, but it is unique.
“Our value is in our quality and exclusivity,” writes Paul Hanan, one of the two founding members of Graham Withers, in an email. “We use hard to find fabrics of exceptional quality, and we use one of the best tie manufacturers in the world who has close to 50 years of experience in the business. If you buy one of our ties, you can rest assured that you are buying a truly limited piece.”
If you browse the catalogue on their website, Graham Wither’s products indeed have a unique look. They work with fabrics from Italy, Japan, and England and summer products tend to be cotton or linen, while fall and winter line up is mostly cashmere or wool. Although they do use a manufacturer to produce their wares now, the end product is still the same.
“When Dave (that’s Dave Roma, the other half of Graham Withers) and I make one it takes about 2-3 hours from cutting the fabric to finishing the tie. Our manufacturer is much faster though, and they use some time saving techniques like cutting all the fabric at once,” writes Hanan.
“I don’t think our end product has changed much,” he adds. “We have experimented with some more formal pieces from time to time, but we always just make what we want to wear, and what we would be comfortable wearing. We never follow trends.”
Chris Riddell is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers art, business, and urban life for various fine publications. Also a poet and aspiring novelist, he’s busting his butt trying to get his name into a few literary magazines these days. He encourages you to check out his website for a look at what he’s been working on lately.