We were lucky enough to sit down with one of our favorite style entrepreneurs in the game, Joshua Adam Brueckner, of SKINNYFATTIES fame. His innovative idea to make standard or vintage neckties modern once again has completely changed his life, and it’s a story that has left all of us inspired.
When did this idea for your company all kick-off?
J. It all started in July 2012, when I had lost my job and was back in the hunt, interviewing all over New York City, but not really sure of what I was going to do. I needed new interview clothes but didn’t really want to spend the money. So I started learning how to tailor clothing myself. I’d never sewed before in my life though, so I was leaning pretty heavily on google there in the beginning! Pretty soon, after getting the hang of altering shirts and pants, I found a box of old wide neckties after rummaging in my closet and I eventually taught myself how to deconstruct them. From there, I think that I took out a hundred bucks or so a few times and used it as entry fee to one of Brooklyn’s artist markets. I had some of the vintage ties I’d fixed up with me and it was there that I received a ton of feedback about how it would be great as a service. I decided to really run with that idea.
How did it progress from that point?
J. At the start I was ducking into Goodwill and thrift stores for ties, finding designs I really liked and tailoring those down. I’ve also learned how to make ties from scratch now and we sell those too. Really though, it’s the tailoring service that has been the big breakthrough. I keep looking at growing the product and service offerings for that particular side of the business.
Out of curiosity, for SKINNYFATTIES, where are your orders coming from?
J. We’re fielding the majority of our orders from within New York, since we’ve had tremendous support here and the local organic growth has been so crazy. But we also see a lot coming in from the West Coast cities, San Francisco, LA and San Diego… and most other large cities in the U.S. All over, really. It’s so awesome too when we see an order come in from Australia and even China or Japan.
What has been your favorite part of this experience?
J. The part that I am most proud of has to be SKINNYFATTIES’ involvement with a charity called CareerGear, which we send portions of our sales to and volunteer a ton with. Their organization helps men who are looking to get back on their feet and re-enter the workforce by supplying business suits and mentoring services. As my business grows, the more money and attention we can donate to that, the more I’ll view this company as being successful. It’d be great to be a part of growing that charity, since I really went full circle myself with my own story of unemployment.
Lastly, when did you first know that this idea really clicked and that you had something special?
J. It’s hard to say that it “just clicked” and it’s funny because I get that question often. The truth though is that I’ve really worked my ass off every day over the last two years. So it has felt gradual. It gets back to a lot of what you guys are about at Pursuit, talking about the path and earning your way. It doesn’t just happen immediately. It doesn’t just fall into place overnight. It’s a lot of building, building, building and struggling, struggling, struggling. There’s an ebb and flow. It was feast or famine at first. But we’re in a position now where we’ve worked hard to polish everything, our site, our photography, and we’re continuing to gather steam. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Size up your collection of neglected old ties hanging in your closet and check out SKINNYFATTIES. There may just be some life in them yet.
Josh Photo Credit: Adrian Morales