MiVT: Beau Ties
Greg Shugar owned one of the largest internet neckwear companies for nine years. He sold it six-and-a-half years ago, but when the founders of Beau Ties in Middlebury were ready to retire last year, they made the call to their former top rival.
"I certainly knew about them. Our whole industry knows about them," Shugar said. "What I didn't realize, is such a gem was hidden here."
Beau Ties has been in business for more than a quarter of a century.
"We take so much pride and care in every single tie that we make," said Elizabeth Smith, who has been with Beau Ties for more than 20 years.
When Smith started, the ties were being made out of the home of the founders, Bill Kenerson and Deb Venman.
"We literally had to go through their bedroom in the morning to get to work," Smith said.
They eventually built and moved into this space. It's where Beau Ties' hard-working employees hand cut, sew and care for the neckwear. In fact, it's a 22-step process.
"Each stitch, everything is done and closed by hand," Smith said.
"We make bow ties actually slowly, which is maybe bad from a business perspective, but from a quality perspective, it's great," Shugar explained.
"That's what we call a diamond point," Smith said.
Shugar and Smith design the ties. They release about 25 new fabrics a month. Beau Ties also does custom work to fit all shapes and sizes. They'll even use some of your favorite fabric.
Standard bowties cost $48.
"These ladies make absolutely beautiful products, with such great pride, day in, day out, I'm so proud," Smith said.
Since taking over the company, Shugar hasn't been just tied up with neckwear, he's branched out to shirts, cummerbunds and shoes.
"Something we think you could wear with your work clothes, you could wear on a Saturday night, you could wear to work," Shugar said. "It feels on the outside like a very much a New York Fashion Company and yet it's a very proud small independent shop in Vermont."
Maintaining a tradition of quality and class is all the fashion at Beau Ties.
Much of the work Beau Ties does is for private labels, so you could get a tie in New York City in a retail store where the label is someone else's name, but it's actually from Beau Ties.