Meet Our Friends: Otis James
We have a deep respect for craftsmen of many different trades and Otis James is certainly among them. A commission for custom neckties that Otis took a few years ago inadvertently turned into starting his own brand of handcrafted bow ties, neckties, and hats under the name – Otis James Nashville. We have been huge fans of Otis since reading about his neckties in Garden & Gun Magazine back in 2011 and were excited to finally meet the maker and visit his workspace located inside of a converted automobile plant. While there, we snapped a few photos as well as asked a few questions about the success of Otis James Nashville. What makes Otis James Nashville ties stand out from the others that are out there? The main difference between my ties is the material that we use. 90% of the neckties you find are silk, or silk and polyester blends. Most of the stuff we do is made from wool and wool-silk blends, which are more textured materials. Most of the fabrics we use are traditionally suiting and sport coat fabrics. We do a lot of bigger patterns, plaids, houndstooth, and pin stripes. Does using textiles traditionally used for suiting make the ties more durable? Wool is my favorite material and has a lot of longevity. It has a certain warmth and texture to it. You can have more textured silk but there’s just something about wool that has something special to it. Otis James Nashville and Ledbury were both featured in Garden and Gun Magazine’s annual “Made in the South Awards” back in 2011, was this as much of a game changer for you as it was for us? That was huge for us and I’m sure it was huge for you all too. The timing was fantastic, coming out right before Christmas. We basically ended up a month behind production schedule because when we were doing everything made to order we needed a month lead-time. It was a game changer in that it took my business from me making most of everything as a singular craftsman to moving towards an artisan production house. All I had never envisioned for Otis James Nashville was just me making stuff . . . I didn’t start this as a brand or think that I would have employees - it just came out of necessity. Through building your brand you unintentionally became an entrepreneur, what do you enjoy the most from this? I inadvertently created a brand but I’m still the person behind it. I enjoy the freedom the most. I have the freedom to do things the way I want to do them and can structure things the way I want them to be. There’s a lot of gratification in watching the growth and success of the company and knowing it’s from what I built. What are you most excited about in 2013? I’m most excited about our accessory for women that we will be releasing in April. It’s a ‘lady tie’ and kind of a new avenue for us. This is a whole new product that lends itself to different materials, design ideas, and a different clientele. We’ve been doing neckties and bow ties, there’s still a lot we can do with caps, and I’m going to try to keep expanding those. For more information on Otis James Nashville, visit their website as well as ‘like’ their page on Facebook.