Southern Indiana teen takes bow tie business to the next level
A southern Indiana teen is already gearing up to keep men stylish during Derby.
FLOYDS KNOBS, In. (WDRB) -- We're still months away from Louisville's premier event, but Ethan Thomas is already working to keep Derby dudes stylish.
"I'm thinking about Derby in January, which is kind of fun," said Thomas who owns and operates "All Tied Up Bow Ties." He built and operates the business in his childhood bedroom, which is still his bedroom, because he's just 16 years old.
"So my mind just completely shifts at 2:26 p.m. when the bell rings and it's bow ties instead of school," said the Floyd Central High School student.
But don't let his age or set up fool you. His is no amateur operation. "A thousand units by Derby, and that's blowing my mind because that's what I did last year," he said.
Thomas started the bow tie company after getting his first bow tie at 14 years old. He didn't have the budget to buy the ties he wanted so he started making them himself.
"So my grandma taught me the basics of sewing, how to stitch a line, how to thread a sewing machine and I started taking apart old bow ties and putting them back together," Thomas said.
What Thomas didn't expect was people wanting to buy his ties. He sold a few hundred his first year. Now he's selling thousands.
"Going from that, to doubling that, and then hopefully tripling that in three years time is just crazy to think about as a junior in high school," said Thomas.
This year looks to be his biggest and best year yet. He's brought on business partners, investors and manufacturers. That allows him to focus on more of the creative and business side.
"I tell people all the time just to do it," said Thomas. "By me just taking that first step and just doing it led to this two years later."
With his business taking off and Derby just a few months away, Thomas has a lot on his plate. But he still makes time to sew a few ties by hand.
"This thing is 60 years old, and I've made every single tie ever on it," Thomas said, describing his sewing machine.
It's a mature operation for this teen tycoon, who hopes to one day move outside his childhood bedroom.
"Now I'm seeing this as not a hobby, but an actual business, possibly for the future which is incredibly exciting," said Thomas.
All Tied Up Bow Ties are available for purchase at several local stores and online.
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