Blog Archives

Interview with Brian Sacawa of “He Spoke Style”

After taking a break from my Menswear Insider Interviews, I decided that it would be about time to add a new feature. This time I am excited to feature an interview with Brian Sacawa, the founder and voice of one of my favorite menswear blogs, Hi Brian, as a fan of your blog let me start off saying how excited I am to feature you as part of my Menswear Insider series. I read your bio and you have quite the impressive resume, including being a professional Saxophone player and elite cyclist. Now, what motivated you to start a menswear blog?

Brian: Honestly, I needed something to do! Let me explain. So, in addition to “retiring” from cycling two years ago, I’d also stopped running the music series I’d founded, so I was left with no extra-curricular projects in my life. I have trouble sitting still and menswear was something that had interested me for a while. I felt there was a bit of a void in the space and decided to add my voice. Looking how far HeSpokeStyle has come, it is clear that you definitely haven’t been sitting still. You have been quoted saying that “I see many similarities between style and music”. Tell me more.

Brian: Both are forms of communication. Both are forms of art. Both are lifelong journeys. Now, He Spoke Style is a success story on its own. But for every successful blog there are dozens that fail. If you could give an aspiring menswear blogger a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Brian: Do only what you love and are passionate about. Be a great writer. Post only original, high-quality content and artwork. Have a unique voice or point of view. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Tell me about your “first steps” as a blogger. Did you have any blogging experience before you started He Spoke Style?

Brian: I did, actually. When I was first building my career as a musician, a well-known music community website invited me to write for them. At first, I thought, nah, there’s no way, I don’t want to share my personal diary, and so on. But I did it and it was one of the best non-music-related career moves I could have made.

10 years ago, blogs weren’t as popular or ubiquitous as they are today and I was actually one of the very first “performer bloggers.” That put me in front of many influential critics and allowed me to show a different side of myself, beyond the musician that people would hear and see on stage. It also taught me that your fans are generally interested to know more about you. That’s a lesson I’ve been revisiting as HSS has continued to evolve. That is great. It just highlights again how important it is to have a “unique voice” as you said earlier. Now, how has your blog changed/evolved since it has been launched?

Brian: We’ve been doing more lifestyle content to supplement our style posts. This has been a lot of fun and I’m glad that readers have responded so positively. Style isn’t just about the clothes you wear, but how you live your life, the complete package. It’s also been a great way to begin to explore more editorial content and to tell bigger stories.

We’re also doing more video. The Ask He Spoke Style series has been a really fun way to engage with readers and show them my personality beyond the photos we take. Definitely check out what’s new on the YouTube channel! Without doubt, you are a creative person. Is there anyone or anything that inspires you?

Brian: People who are intelligent, passionate, and professional. Like?

Brian: It may seem odd because I’m a menswear publication, but I get a lot of inspiration from female fashion blogs. Sites like The Glamourai, The Chriselle Factor, Gary Pepper Girl, Man Repeller, and Atlantic-Pacific are all so amazing in very different ways. Now back to menswear/clothing for a second. If someone gave you $100 and said you could only buy one clothing item, what would it be?

Brian: A Biltwell Bonanza motorcycle helmet. How about if it was $1,000?

Brian: Since fall is right around the corner, it would have to be this Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Plaid Chesterfield coat. Tell me about your personal style. It is obvious that you know a lot about menswear. But on a day to day basis, are you more a jeans & T-shirt kind of guy or suit & tie?

Brian: Man, it really depends. On the weather, on the season, on my mood! I don’t have one particular go-to look, but regardless of whether it’s dapper or casual, I think it’s important to look put together. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, how you present yourself has a direct effect on the interactions you have with people. Tom Ford said, “dressing well is a form of good manners.” It also shows respect, in my opinion. Without doubt, dressing well can only help. Surprisingly only few men take advantage of dressing well. Be it ignorance or poor laziness, which single men’s style faux pas bothers you the most and why?

Brian: Do I have to pick just one?! Okay, I really can’t stand the t-shirt (white or otherwise) showing under an unbuttoned button-up or polo. I understand the thinking–trying to squeeze a little more life out of a shirt between washed–but it looks terrible. When you’ve got your shirt open, it’s framing your face and the t-shirt just really messes that line up. Where do you see the site headed over the next few years?

Brian: Great question. I’d really like to develop the creative side of what we do and tell bigger and broader stories. I’m a creative person and there is so much inside that I need to get out. And honestly, the only thing preventing us from exploring that direction more right now is time. Rob and I are both extremely busy and do our best to balance the blog, work, and life. My hope is that as HSS continues to grow, we’ll have the opportunity to more fully invest and immerse ourselves in more editorial content and projects. Sounds like you may be hiring an intern? =) Joking aside, are you looking to hire someone to help grow your site? If so, what qualifications are you looking for?

Brian: Maybe somewhere down the line, but not right now. If and when that happens, this person would have to be extremely detail-oriented, a self-starter, and require little to no supervision to accomplish things. Ideally, this is someone whose work I’m already familiar with and respect. Very well. Thanks for all the great insights. It was a pleasure. Best of luck to you!

Interviewed by Tie-a-Tie founder and neckwear aficionado Hendrik Pohl.

Interview with Taylor Camp – AKA TheTieGuy

After taking a short break from my menswear insider series, I am opening the discussion again by featuring one of my favorite Tumblr pages – a site that obsesses about men’s ties almost as much as I do. I am talking about TheTieGuy, a photo blog with more than 60,000 active followers (and growing). I had the chance to chat with the creative mind behind this page: Taylor Camp.

thetieguy-interview Hi Taylor, thanks for joining in today on my Menswear Insider series. You are better known as The Tie Guy through your popular Tumblr page. What inspired this name?

TheTieGuy: Hi Hendrik! Thanks for giving me this opportunity to be interviewed! Once i started dressing better the name behind The Tie Guy simply clicked. The Tie Guy first started on Tumblr and then eventually expanded to both Twitter and more recently, Instagram. are 24. Most young men at your age don’t care too much about wearing ties. How long have you been a tie aficionado? What sparked this interest in ties and menswear?

TheTieGuy: I’ve been interested in menswear and neckties for about four years now. I started buying ties for exactly one dollar from local thrift stores around my area. As i continued to shop at these thrift stores, i eventually started buying dressier pieces like overcoats, blazers, dress shoes and sweaters. I remember thinking to myself “Wow, i can use these stores as resources to look great AND spend very little money on clothing!”. Ever since i realized this, I’ve been slowing curating a wardrobe for myself. Being an expert on ties, who do you think makes the highest quality ties if there was no budget?

TheTieGuy: Any of the extremely expensive Italian clothing companies. Some of these include: Kiton, Brunello Cucinelli, Borrelli, Isaia, Hermes (French), and Bulgari just to name a few. Assume you had to spend $100 on clothing today. Where would you shop and what would you buy?

TheTieGuy: I would shop at either Gant Rugger or Suit Supply. I would either buy a nice knit or paisley tie or a shawl collared sweater. What if it wasn’t $100 but $1,000?

TheTieGuy: I would still be shopping at both Gant Rugger and Suit Supply. I would by myself a three piece suit. are quite the spokesman of these two companies. What do you like about these two companies/brands? If you could only pick one clothing brand for your entire wardrobe, who would you choose (from any, not just these two)? Why would you choose this brand?

TheTieGuy: I like how classic both these companies are. The products they sell are made with care and aren’t rushed. They sell pieces that will last you a long time which i think more companies need to look into. Quality and not quantity! TheTieGuy is one of the most popular tumblr pages on menswear with over 60,000 followers. How did you become so popular?

TheTieGuy: I became popular on Tumblr by using it and interacting with my followers every day. It was a series of events that lead me to where i currently am. First, Nick Wooster AKA “Woostgod” recommend my blog on and previously over the summer, Tumblr contacted me and added my blog to a list of suggested street style blogs to follow under the explore section. Talking about Nick Wooster and street style blogs, who are some of the blogs that you follow?

TheTieGuy: My two favorite street style blogs are Themidwestyle and TheSartorialist It is clear that you have a strong interest and good eye for the menswear industry. What are your plans for the next couple of years, after you are done with school?

TheTieGuy: After i graduate this upcoming summer, i have plans to live and travel in either Italy or Japan. Through traveling and living in one of these places I’ve always been inspired by, i hope to my expand upon my current love for food, red wine, coffee and most importantly, menswear. After I come back from traveling next January, i hope to live and work in either San Francisco or New York City and pursue my career goals of working as a Social Media Manager for a mens clothing company. What about your tumblr page? Will you continue to run it? Would there be a way to turn your Tumblr page into a viable business?

TheTieGuy: I will continue to work and focus on my blog every day. I hope to continue to make some money from it and eventually turn it into a full time business. for meeting with me today, and best of luck to you!

TheTieGuy: Thanks, Hendrik

Interview with Menswear Blogger & Style Consultant Antonio Centeno

For today’s interview I am excited to feature men’s style expert Antonio Centeno. I have personally known Antonio for several years now, and his passion for the industry is truly inspiring. He is not only a respected menswear blogger but also the founder of a custom tailoring business. Needless to say, I am excited to feature Antonio on my menswear insider series.


Tie-a-Tie: As a military veteran, you have quite an unusual background for a fashion blogger. What inspired you to get into the menswear industry and start a bespoke clothing business?

Antonio: My introduction to custom clothing came when I got married in Ukraine in 2004. Looking around the clothing shops there I could only find badly fitted off-the-rack suits made from cheap material or very high-end luxury Italian suits, with no middle ground. I wanted something good for my wedding, but didn’t need a $10,000 novelty! Finally, I found a traveling tailor from India who rotated between cities in Russia and Ukraine. He fixed me up with a custom suit and three custom shirts for $1200, and my interest was born.

Fast-forward two years to 2006, when I was in business school at the University of Texas and found myself needing a good interview suit. Remembering my experience in Ukraine, I looked around for a custom tailor and found Jack out of Hong Kong who made three suits ten shirts for me. Jack’s situation impressed me. Here was a guy with a pretty basic education who was making hundreds of thousands of dollars and only working six months out of the year, serving a client base that was mostly located right there in Texas (although he did have some customers further afield in the United States). That got me thinking that there was room in the tailoring industry for someone who could bring a business school education and some creativity to the market. I founded at a time when there were almost no custom tailoring businesses online, especially for men — looking back on it, I think I remember looking and finding exactly one other business trying it out around the time I was getting started.

So the idea was novel, back then: you could take your own measurements, send them to me, and have a custom-tailored wardrobe delivered to your door within weeks! Realizing that my clients needed to trust my judgment and my understanding of style to make that investment (my suits are not cheap), I started putting some articles up on outlining the basic principles of menswear.

When I realized how much traffic those were drawing, I decided that there was a market hungry for information as well as for clothing, and that’s how I ended up creating and getting into the business of fashion writing and style education. So it’s been a fun journey — but if I had to pin it down, it started with my wedding in Ukraine, and with a pair of traveling tailors making custom suits!

Tie-a-Tie: Since you founded A Tailored Suit we’ve seen lots of new companies emerge in the online bespoke menswear sector. Do you think there is still potential for new companies offering custom menswear online? Or is this now an oversaturated market?

Antonio: I do think it’s more saturated, but I don’t think it’s oversaturated. If you can bring in a unique offering, you can make it. What I don’t see is enough companies leveraging unique advantages to make their companies easy and tempting to use.

My twist on custom tailoring for, in addition to the online ordering, was to focus on complete wardrobes. The goal was to make it easy for a guy to come to me and to have all his dressing-up needs taken care of in one go, without much thought or effort on his part.

That has a lot of appeal to a section of men that wants to look good but doesn’t want to spend years building a painstakingly selected wardrobe from many sources. If I could convince customers that I was a reliable designer of menswear — which is what the style articles were originally for — I could become a one-stop shop, and that was my unique advantage.

So there’s still room for new companies. But they need to be looking for a specific customer base, and they need to be thinking about how they’re solving a specific problem for that customer base.

Tie-a-Tie: How would you describe your own personal style?

Antonio: Simple, understated, and functional. No need to go into too much more detail there — I stick to the classic look and let it speak for itself. A lot of suits and jackets, of course, but I do wear jeans and more casual sweaters and coats as well.

Tie-a-Tie: After launching you started a successful menswear blog at, which offers style advice. What made you branch out from a business offering physical goods to one offering information?

Antonio: Once the site was up, I found myself receiving tons of phone calls and e-mails from people who wanted to pick my brain for style advice. And as much as I wanted to help people, I didn’t have time to answer them individually.

When I put a few basic style information articles on my website and saw traffic go way up, I realized that there was a lot of appetite for information, even from people who could never afford one of my suits or wardrobe packages. Around that time I was also approached by Brett McKay over at to be one of his first style writers, and I saw how successful and popular the business of information was for him.

That was when I started giving out a free e-book of my best writing to site visitors. From there I moved to setting up, which started out offering nothing but free advice. Since then I’ve been slowly introducing new ways of delivering information, like online seminars and college-level courses in men’s style. And they’ve all proven popular — there’s still a huge demand out there for good fashion advice presented in an easily accessible manner.

Tie-a-Tie: What do you think is the biggest faux pas or style sin that men commit?

Antonio: Not caring. If they don’t understand why it’s relevant, they’re never going to make any other changes. I can tell when a guy doesn’t care. It’s very easy to spot. Most men you see look completely generic. They’re not making any effort to set themselves apart from the crowd.

My target customer isn’t a guy who wants to blend in. I sell my products to men who want to be great and do great things. Those are the men who can use the power of clothing and style to get what they want out of life. If you don’t care about something as basic as your own appearance, it’s like you’ve already given up on life.

Tie-a-Tie: Why do you think dressing well is important?

Antonio: I don’t think it — I know it. There’s tons of science that backs this up. Google “the halo effect” and you’ll see how a general positive opinion based on first impressions will color everything people think about you from that point on.

It doesn’t have to be a rational impression. Think about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: everyone always loves to praise Steve Jobs as this huge innovator and creative genius. No one ever says that about Bill Gates, or at least no one outside the tech industry. When he’s not vilified, he’s made into a cartoon stereotype of a computer nerd.

None of us actually know these guys. But we have emotional impressions from their products that we associate with them: Apple is sleek and futuristic-looking; Windows is colorful and cartoony. Steve Jobs wore minimalist black; Bill Gates had big glasses and frumpy pants. So those impressions spill over into how people talk about the men and their personalities, even though the visuals don’t have much to do with how the men’s brains worked.

Clothes do the same thing. Strangers look at our clothes and think of them as either “good” or “bad” looking. Then they associate those good or bad qualities with us, and their minds are very resistant to changing that impression. Well-dressed men get the benefit of the doubt where the rest of their character is concerned. Poorly dressed men just get the doubt.A good style lets you say great things about yourself before you even open your mouth. That’s very important.

Tie-a-Tie: What are your favorite clothing stores, either online or brick and mortar?

Antonio: Well, when you manufacture your own clothing, you don’t do as much shopping as other people. I wear a lot of my own suits, jackets, and dress trousers. Shirts I also mostly make for myself, but I do have some from 5th & Lamar, out of Austin, TX. I wear Lee and Levi jeans, and I highly recommend the company Brown, Diem for guys that can afford custom denim.

For shoes I like Paul Evans, and I have an amazing pair of winter boots from — a great company for men who can afford some serious footwear.I like the look of the guayabera shirt, which is a Cuban / Mexican style, and I get mine from

Luggage and bags I mostly get from Blue Claw Co. and Saddleback Leather Co., and smaller leather items I like to get from handcrafter Kenton Sorensen. I also like Rogue Wallets for their slim, RFID-shielded wallets. And lately I’ve been keeping an eye on Satya Twena of New York for headgear and classic men’s hats. Finally, it should go without saying that I like Bows ‘N Ties for neckwear!

Tie-a-Tie: What are your plans and goals for in 2014?

Antonio: The big thing will be putting out more videos and starting a podcast. There will also be more online courses and other ways of packaging information — I’m all about finding new ways to get information out there, since every man has his own preferred learning style.

Tie-a-Tie: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Antonio: I’ll probably be focused more on military issues and working with veterans. I’ve really enjoyed building High Speed Low Drag with John Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire. is a website that focuses on the transition from military to civilian life. It’s a great project that we’re going to give more love and care to really get things rolling. That’s an issue I care a lot about, and helping other veterans succeed is definitely something I’m going to be working on over the years to come.

Tie-a-Tie: That’s great! Thanks again for joining me here today, and best of luck to you.

Antonio: Thank you as well!

Interview with Stylist, Model, & Blogger: Marcel Floruss


It has been over a month since I have started my “Menswear Interview Series“. So far, I have interviewed several entrepreneurs and bloggers that are shaking up the menswear industry. Today’s feature is no different. I was able to spend some time with NYC based model, stylist and blogger Marcel Floruss who is literally the face of

Over the past year Marcel’s eye for style has gotten quite the attention. He has appeared on dozens of well-known menswear blogs, accumulated tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram, and is on his way to become the face of a well-known men’s clothing brand. I was able to spend some time with Marcel to ask him questions about his style influencers, what his plans are, and what tips he has for other men wanting to break into the industry.

Tie-a-Tie: Hi Marcel, thanks for joining me today for my Menswear Insider series. Over the past year or so you have made quite the name for yourself – something that is especially surprising since you grew up in Germany and just relatively recently moved to NYC. What brought you to the United States?

Marcel: Frankly, I had this random fascination with New York City, probably since I was about 13, without ever having been there or knowing much about about it. The first thing that physically got me here was dance. I came here one summer with my best friend to take classes, fell in love with the city, and discovered FIT, the school I now go to.

Tie-a-Tie: Do you think you will ever move back to Germany?

Marcel: I’m not planning on it. Even though, as the fashion industry in Berlin grows, I hope to travel there a lot.

Tie-a-Tie: Now, prior to modeling you were a hip hop dancer. What was it that got you into modeling?

Marcel: Modeling actually started with dancing, as I had my first photo shoot for dance. But it was actually in New York that I was just surrounded with fashion and photographers and I always wanted to do it – and then I kind of just made it happen. In the end, it didn’t work out on a longer term and I am perfectly happy just modeling for my blog right now!

Tie-a-Tie: In the past year or so you have made quite the name for yourself. Besides a certain look, what do you think an aspiring male fashion model needs to be successful in this industry?

Marcel: I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a model, but instead a style blogger. Modeling is a major part of what I do, but to me one of the less important ones. To be successful in blogging, you need a solid sense of fashion, have social media skills, have an understanding of photography and design, and be persistent and eager to get where you want to go.

Tie-a-Tie: Speaking of “Social Media Skill”, you are quite popular with close to 40,000 followers on Instagram and 15,000+ fans on Facebook. How did you became so popular? Of all the social media channels out there, which one is most important to you and why?

Marcel: I don’t know exactly. All I know is that I do all of the above (and some extras) passionately, with heart and soul. Definitely Instagram, since it is the most visual. The big draw-back is that you don’t have active links though, which makes it hard to drive traffic to the actual blog…

Tie-a-Tie: Tell me about your own personal style? What inspires you?

Marcel: Nothing in particular comes to mind but everything all around me every day. In terms of my own wardrobe, I get most of my inspirations from the streets of New York, either directly or through street style and blogger’s Instagram accounts. That’s probably why my style is very versatile and changes a lot. Inspiration just comes from many directions. That’s also what inspired the name of my blog, combining both “Dapper” & “Street-Style”.

Tie-a-Tie: Featuring street-style goes back quite some time now with the works of Bill Cunningham for the NY Times, or the more recent Scott Schuman – aka the Sartorialist. Which street-style blogger/photographer do you follow? Are there any newer, lesser known ones which you think might become the next Schuman?

Marcel: Two blogs I really like in terms of street style photography are by Adam Katz Sinding, and Jak & Jil by Tommy Ton. I think their eye for art, and talent for photography will go far!

Tie-a-Tie: If you have $100 to be spend on a certain clothing store, which one would you walk into? What do you think you would buy?

Marcel: Right now: a sneaker shop, and I’d spend it on a pair if dope new running shoes that you can also rock casually once the weather gets less … Arctic.

Tie-a-Tie: What about $1,000? Different store? Different pieces?

Marcel: Definitely a different scenario. I am a shoe geek though. So probably some Ann Demeulemeesters found on Mr. Porter. Or Common Projects. Or a J. Lindeberg suit. Anything upscale. Been yearning to climb up that ladder.

Tie-a-Tie: Lastly, a question I commonly ask, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Marcel: Ha! Hmmm, 10 years from now I see myself high up in a global fashion corporation, with my blog running on the side. I hope I’ll be on the verge of going my own way around that time – meaning starting another company, aside from my blog.

Tie-a-Tie: That is a great goal. You certainly don’t lack ambition. Thanks again for joining me here today, and best of luck to you!

Marcel: Thanks for having me!

Menswear Interview with Giuseppe Timore

Since I started my Menswear Insider series, I have enjoyed interviewing several entrepreneurs that have launched either a menswear clothing brand, or online retailer. While it is fun, interesting, and inspiring to hear their stories, I am equally excited to branch out a little with today’s interview feature. Today I am interviewing one of the most notorious thrifter in the country, Guiseppe Timore, founder of An Affordable Wardrobe. For the past several years he has shared his passion for finding bargain deals on elegant, high-end clothing pieces via his blog, and later on also opened a brick-and-mortar thrift shop in Massachusets.


Tie-a-Tie: Hi Giuseppe, thanks for joining me on my Menswear Insider column. You have a very Italian name. Tell me about your heritage?

Giuseppe: I come from a 100% Italian family. I used to joke with my friends about being a “pure bred”. Both my mother’s parents and my father’s father were born there. Growing, we lived with my mother’s parents, and the neighborhood was full of native Italians. We all attended Catholic schools and went to church, and heard as much Italian spoken as we did English. I think my mother, though born here, may have spoken Italian before she spoke English.


Tie-a-Tie: Now, Italians are often stereotyped as being stylish and well dressed. You being a well dressed man of Italian decent, do you think that being stylish is nature or nurture?

Giuseppe: I think that having style is somewhat inherent in one’s personality, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn. Style is an ever evolving thing, and the most truly stylish among us never stop learning and changing. I don’t think being Italian necessarily guarantees that one is stylish, though I suppose it can’t does’t hurt.


Tie-a-Tie: Have you always cared about dressing well? What inspired you to start your An Affordable Wardrobe?

Giuseppe: I guess I have. From a very young age, I was always interested in “dressing up”. I liked to wear jacket and tie, and would relish any excuse to do so. The older I got, the less I cared what people thought of it.

I started an Affordable Wardrobe to fill what I saw as a gap at the time in menswear writing and commentary. Being interested in clothing, I had always read the magazines, and later the blogs. While many of them served as a source of ideas and inspiration, none of them showed anything but very expensive stuff at full price, stuff that was way out of my reach.

Over the years, I had developed quite a knack for sourcing those very same things on nearly no money. I knew it could be done, and I wanted to be a voice for all the elegant, stylish men who just might not have that much money.


Tie-a-Tie: You are infamous for being a savvy thrift shop buyer. Tell me about your most memorable thrift shop experience.

Giuseppe: I get that question a lot, but it’s not an easy one to answer. One of the things about thrift shopping is that you come across so many great things that picking a “favorite” can be impossible. There’s always something new, and the element of surprise keeps it fresh. I once found a Barbour jacket new with tags for $10. Just recently I picked up a bespoke Chesterfield coat made in Boston in 1935. Even as we speak, I’m wearing a handmade flannel suit from the Andover Shop and an Italian tie from Barney’s New York. All great finds, but who knows what I might run into tomorrow?


Tie-a-Tie: How do you find these kind of pieces, and what tips do you have for our readers interested in finding great deals on designer menswear items?

Giuseppe: Firstly, you really have to know what the good stuff is. Educate yourself about quality, fabric and construction. Knowing good labels helps, but learning to recognize quality itself, regardless of brand, is infinitely more helpful It like the proverb giving a man a fish or teaching him to fish.

Secondly, be persistent, and don’t get discouraged when you strike out. Truthfully, when you shop this way, constantly hunting for bargains or digging in thrift shops, you’re ten times more likely to walk away empty handed as you are to “score”. You can’t let it discourage you, you just have to keep coming back.


Tie-a-Tie: Now, if there was no budget, what designer/brand do you value most and why?

Giuseppe: My own personal style derives mostly from a traditional East Coast look, so I like Brooks Brothers and J. Press quite a lot. Polo is a favorite too. But if I could only wear one “brand” and had unlimited money, I would get everything at the Andover Shop in Harvard Square. Not only is the place steeped in “cool” history as a result of its endless list of storied customers, but it’s distinctive in just the right way. Mostly, they do East Coast traditional, with its attendant “go to hell” pants and ribbon belts. But there is an extra level of quality and taste to everything there. Fabrics are gorgeous, and the house style combines just the right British details into the mix in a way that no other shop or “brand” does. It’s perfect.


Tie-a-Tie: Speaking of “no budget”, what is your most expensive clothing piece that you didn’t buy at a thrift shop? Was it worth the price?

Giuseppe: I think the Brabour jacket I have now might be the most expensive single piece of clothing I ever bought new, but I even got that o deep sale at an outlet store for $150. It was worth it, though. I wear that jacket to death, sometimes to shovel snow, and sometimes over coat and tie.


Tie-a-Tie: You have since opened your own thrift store. What do you like more, buying or selling menswear pieces?

Giuseppe: The hunt can be the most fun part of all this once you get into it, and obviously selling things and making money is nice too. But the best part about doing this kind of work is how happy you can make people by helping them get something top quality that they never thought they would be able to own. It’s really gratifying.


Tie-a-Tie: As someone owning your own men’s clothing business, what advice would you give someone interested in opening a brick and mortar store in the menswear industry?

Giuseppe: You have to be willing to work crazy hours for terrible pay, but I guess that’s true for any dedicated small business owner these days. If you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s not going to work, simple as that.


Tie-a-Tie: What are your plans and goals for your business in 2014?

Giuseppe: To stay in business! (joking, kind of…). Seriously, though, I would love to get to the point with my own business where I could quit the other job I have and do this full time.


Tie-a-Tie: The word about your business is certainly spreading… Now, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Giuseppe: In a thrift shop, pulling a bespoke suit out of a dirty bin from under a heap of old sweatpants and tee shirts.


Tie-a-Tie: Great answer. You certainly love what you do and turned your passion into your every day job. Thanks for meeting with me today.

Giuseppe: Thanks you as well.


Interviewed by tie aficionado and Tie-a-Tie founder Hendrik.

Menswear Insider Interview: Dan Soha of Argoz


The last two weeks I interviewed the founders of two different necktie companies, SkinnyFatTies as well as Tie Society. While I am always fascinated with ties, I am excited to be featuring a slightly different niche retailer for this week’s Menswear Insider Interview. This week I was able to meet with Dan Soha, a serial entrepreneur who lives right here in San Francisco. Dan has founded several companies in a wide range of industries, one of which is called Argoz – a stylish high-end sock brand featuring a signature Argyle pattern.


Tie-a-Tie: Hi Dan, thanks for joining me here for my new Menswear Insider series. You are a true entrepreneur, and have started several companies, one of which is Argoz, an online retailer selling socks. Running several businesses made me wonder how you manage your time? What is a normal weekday like for Dan Soha?

Dan:On the surface, managing several businesses sounds insane, but it’s really not quite as bad as it seems. I essentially work “The 4-Hour Workweek” ten times a week. Though the specifics of my day are never the same, my work days all look fairly similar. I wake up around 7 am and start handling important emails immediately. I workout from home and then get to my office by 9:30. Rather than go through a list of tasks, I keep my mind focused on end goals and my brain will keep me focused on whatever the most important task is – this took years to perfect because I feel that we naturally get compelled to what we enjoy doing rather than what is best for one’s business. I work until 6:30 pm with a 15 minute break for lunch. I then go out to meet up with friends, go to a show or anything fairly active. It’s hard for me to keep working hard if I’m not playing hard. I get home around 11:30 and work until 2am or sometimes as late as 4am, go to sleep and then repeat. I am most productive very late at night and so those are the work hours I cherish the most.


Tie-a-Tie: So what time did you go to bed last night?

Dan: I went to bed at 1:28am and woke up at 6:57am — I have a think for numbers and, for some reason, they get stuck in my memory… in this case, the time I went to sleep and woke up.


Tie-a-Tie: What makes Argoz different from your other businesses?

Dan: Almost every business I’ve launched is very different. I’ve started a service business, a SAAS product, a subscription product, and others. I’m more compelled by the type of the business, rather than the product itself. Argoz is a fashion product and sells physical goods… two things I’ve wanted to do. Beyond that, how I operate the business is very similar.


Tie-a-Tie: It was interesting to read that you actually have a background in Computer Science, what inspired the idea of starting a sock business?

Dan: I tried buying some argyle socks online and all the ones I found were terrible. I analyzed the market with some tools and algorithms that I built and that there was a growing market in terms of people looking for argyle and socks. So, it was a product that I enjoyed and there was a large opportunity, so I went for it. If anything I do is properly “calculated”, it never feels like a “risk.”


Tie-a-Tie: You decided to raise money for Argoz using Kickstarter, and you successfully raised over $20,000. What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur wanting to launch a campaign via a crowdsourcing platform? From your point of view, what are the biggest Dos and Don’ts for raising money this way?

Dan: Kickstarter should be used for very unique products where crowdfunding is necessary for its success. The only recommendation I would give is that it is necessary to get traction and traction is made by getting a lot of customers in a short time period. At that point, it’s all about word of mouth, press, and what other products are being features on the site. In other words, there’s a fair amount of luck involved and I don’t recommend crowdfunding unless you have no other options. I don’t regret doing it and we found a large market by doing so, but, if I could go back in time, I would have focused my efforts elsewhere.


Tie-a-Tie: Let’s assume you can indeed go back in time. How would you have spent your efforts and time instead then?

Dan: I would have maintained our focus on the product and marketing. I couldn’t have predicted that the Kickstarter campaign would coincide with such a heavy growth period for Argoz and managing the Kickstarter campaign was a “time suck.”


Tie-a-Tie: Over the years we have seen many other niche sites emerge that design and sell socks, what makes Argoz different?

Dan: The sock brands that we get compared against are often referred to as “novelty socks.” They are fun and often times funny. Our goal has been to make extremely high quality socks that take a “heritage” pattern, with a bold twist. It has always been absolutely necessary that we manufacture the highest quality sock on the market. In addition, they are the type of socks that you can wear with a suit and look like a fashion statement rather than a novelty statement.


Tie-a-Tie: You name your company Argoz and most of your designs feature the classic Argyle pattern. I assume this is not a co-incidence. What is it about the Argyle pattern for you? Are you planning to branch out into other patterns, or will the argyle always be your signature?

Dan: I just really like argyle and there was/is a great market. I really like the idea of taking an old pattern and giving it a modern twist. Sometimes I feel like an old man trapped in a 32 year old body. Argyle epitomizes that “heritage” style. We have recently branched out to modern twists on classic stripes, polka dots and paisley. We will have many more styles coming, but elements of argyle will always be around.


Tie-a-Tie: Your company has been growing steadily. How do you plan to continue this growth rate?

Dan: There really aren’t any clever tricks or marketing strategies. We’ve found that focusing on high quality socks with fresh new patterns keeps the business growing and our customers keep coming back. We will continue to make new patterns and refine our manufacturing. In doing so, I’m confident we will continue to grow. At this point, though not astronomical, growth has been steady and consistent and we expect it to continue to do so.


Tie-a-Tie: What was your biggest success with Argoz to date?

Dan: On paper, it would probably be appearing in GQ only a few months after we launch or WSJ more recently. Though to me, they don’t feel like successes. Every time we launch a new styles of socks, it feels like a bigger success. After we launch new styles, we email our customers, and they immediately buy our new styles. It really is the greatest compliment. It feels great to have customers that appreciate how much effort we make in creating quality socks and jump on buying them once they are available.


Tie-a-Tie: Congrats on landing the GQ and WSJ features. It would seem that those are hard to land placings. You must be doing something right. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in the menswear industry that are looking to get such placements? Got any tips to share?

Dan: Develop something unique that has a great story and make sure that you contact them when the time is right to display them. Often times, you only get one chance, so the first impression could, literally, be everything.


Tie-a-Tie: How about the biggest downfall or failure, and what did you learn from it?

Dan: From Kickstarter to Press Releases to testing new Marketing channels, we’ve seemed to try it all. I can’t pinpoint which was the greatest failure. But, if there’s anything I’ve learned is to focus on the core business. If anything feels like a “stunt” it’s probably a waste of time.


Tie-a-Tie: Finally, I often ask successful entrepreneurs for a final piece of advice to give to an aspiring entrepreneur. What does it take to be successful?

Dan: When people tell me that they are an aspiring entrepreneur, I always respond the same way “don’t do it.”. Being an entrepreneur shouldn’t be because you want to do it, it must be because you need to do it. If you look at the cost-benefit and the rewards from being an entrepreneur, it’s really not a rational decision. I love being an entrepreneur, but in many ways it’s not what I’ve chosen to be, it’s what I am. When I meet anyone who has started several businesses like I have, I always find that they agree with me on one major point: being an entrepreneur feels like an illness Being an entrepreneur is difficult in ways that are hard to imagine and I don’t recommend it to anyway, but I also would never consider doing anything else with my life. If watching The Social Network, made you want to be an entrepreneur, then you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons.


Tie-a-Tie: Interesting answer. This is actually not the first time I have heard entrepreneur say this. Thanks again for meeting with me and best of luck to you and Argoz.

Dan: Thank you. It was my pleasure.


Interviewed on Jan 17th, 2014 by Hendrik Pohl, founder of

Menswear Insider Interview: Jake from Tie Society


This week’s menswear insider interview features yet another necktie company, one that has created quite the excitement amoung necktie aficionados and menswear enterpreneurs over the past year. I am referring to a necktie subscription service called Tie Society, a Washington DC based start up that has become known as the “Netflix of Ties”. Today I am interviewing Tie Society’s co-founder Jake Kuczeruk:


Tie-a-Tie: Hi Jake, thank for meeting with me today. You started Tie Society together with Zachary Gittens. Chances are that many of our readers already know about your business, but for those who are not familiar with it yet, please explain to them in one sentence what you guys do.

Jake: Hey Hendrik, happy to be here! Needless to say, I’m a big fan of what you’ve been doing with the Menswear Insider series and am honored to be featured on behalf of Tie Society. Tie Society is a monthly subscription service, similar to Netflix, that gives guys the opportunity to rent ties and other menswear accessories from our growing collection. Bow ties, cufflinks, pocket squares, tie bars- there has never been an easier and more affordable way to do accessories.


Tie-a-Tie: As a tie aficionado myself, I love the idea. What inspired this?

Jake: Alcohol. Just kidding- though we did actually conceive the original concept for Tie Society while at bar.

In the early days, we were just a couple of recent college graduates looking to dress to impress around the office and in our everyday lives. Ties, as you certainly know, can get to be very expensive. When you’re primarily eating ramen for most of your meals, you can’t really afford to drop $60 on a new Brooks Brothers tie every few weeks. Then, on one fateful Sunday afternoon (over beers and football), inspiration hit. We could trade our ties amongst each other to keep our collections fresh. Zac Gittens, Tie Society Co-Founder and CEO, would bring his J.Crew ties to the bar and trade for another friend’s Original Penguin. As more and more began to steadily take notice of what we were doing, we decided to take our service online to address the demand.


Tie-a-Tie: Talking to you makes it quite clear that you love men’s neckwear. Have you always been a tie aficionado or did this evolve through the launch of Tie Society?

Jake: Yes, I’ve spoken with my mother about this and she distinctly remembers me emerging from the womb sporting a double windsor. Ties are an essential part of life. Even when I was first getting into menswear, it was clear that the tie is really the main thing people tend to notice when you’re well dressed. You can wear the same two suits everyday of the week- it’s the tie that gets all the compliments.


Tie-a-Tie: What is your role with the company and what is Zach’s?

Jake: I am our CMO and Co-Founder. I primarily handle our marketing efforts, fundraising and investment outreach, style advice, intern coordination, social, events, press, B2B partnerships, and international expansion (we’ve now taken Tie Society to Japan).

Zac, our CEO and Co-Founder, works from our Washington DC base of operations and is responsible for the branding and logistics behind our service. All elements of the process- from shipping, packaging, cleaning, and inventory acquisition, are overseen by Zac. In addition to this, we work closely together on strategic planning, fundraising, and customer service.


Tie-a-Tie: If you two ever disagree on a certain business aspect. How do you come to an agreement? Are there any tips you could give to other aspiring entrepreneur teams regarding internal communication between the founders?

Jake: Since Zac and I are located on opposite sides of the country, keeping a steady flow of communication flowing has been essential to our success. Since we are both well keyed-in on what the other is doing, disagreement tends to be rare. If ever we do share opposing viewpoints, we take the classic strategy and both present a list of pros and cons to support our case. If that doesn’t work, I’ll play him for it on Call of Duty.


Tie-a-Tie: Sounds like you guys are working well together. That is great to hear. You guys have received lots of press including features on NPR, USA Today, and more. Besides having an interesting business idea, what do you contribute to your publicity success? What advise would you give young entrepreneurs in the menswear industry, that are looking to spread the word about their idea?

Jake: Hard work from each and every member of our team and the efforts of a few select PR specialists that we’ve worked with in the past (shoutout to Suzie Chase of Orca PR).

We’ve become experts at getting our name out there because that’s what it takes to survive in the competitive E-Commerce space. We’re the guys at each event walking around and connecting with everyone else in the room. A lot of our wins have come in through friendships we’ve made with others in the industry. For instance, I often discuss style and new music recommendations with Adam Lehman, a Chicago-based blogger for his site Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets. Our friendship began before he started his blog, and as he’s continued to expand, he was able to help us out by getting our Black Friday offer mentioned on the front page of the Details Network this season.


Tie-a-Tie: What has your biggest success been to date?

Jake: While we have seen our fair share of wins (acceptance into our 500 Startups batch, the Japanese expansion, and achieving profitability), the biggest success for Tie Society has been the reward of running a business that we’re proud of. Zac and I both wake up thankful each morning that we’re able to do something that we truly love.


Tie-a-Tie: How about the biggest failure or downfall, and what did you learn from it?

Jake: Hmm, that would certainly be the service issues we experienced this last Spring when our postal carrier neglected to inform us that our PO Box was full and started storing our member’s return orders in a locked back room. When we repeatedly attempted to track down these packages, no one at the shipping office was able to locate them. The manager who had stored them back there left for a new job, and didn’t tell his replacement about the hundreds of ties he had locked in the back. Understandably so, we witnessed a high level of frustration amongst our members until we were able to fully resolve the issue. Fortunately, this helped us to practice and improve our customer service abilities. We became better at communicating with our members and those who we do business with.


Tie-a-Tie: What plans do you have for Tie Society in 2014?

Jake: Total world domination. In the mean time, 2014 will bring a dedicated store for the direct sale of items that aren’t as well suited for the rental model. This will include vintage ties and items we maintain limited quantities of, along with venturing into new territory by offering high-end leather goods. You can also expect a crop of around 100-150 new ties to arrive on Tie Society within the next month, with regular updates to our collection added each Friday. We’ve stepped our game up this year.


Tie-a-Tie: Last but not least, where do you see Tie Society in 10 years from now?

Jake: In ten years, I see a Tie Society operating in every country that has a demand for it. The online rental model just makes more sense financially and in terms of convenience to the user. Hopefully, we will have made first contact by then and I will have the opportunity to bring our service to Martian civilizations…assuming they have necks.


Tie-a-Tie: Who knows, maybe they even have two, three, or a dozen necks. Thanks for joining me here today.

Jake: Thanks for having me.

Other Recent “Menswear Insider Interviews: Founder Joshua

Interview with Joshua of SKINNYFATTIES

skinnyfatties logo
Are you interested in the mens fashion industry? Then my new interview series titled “Menswear Insider” might give you some interesting insight on what it takes to succeed in the competitive menswear industry. Each week I will be interviewing up-and-coming movers & shakers, and get their insights, thoughts, trend forecasts, and business tips.

In today’s interview I’m featuring Joshua Brueckner – the creative brain behind a Brooklyn based necktie tailoring service called SKINNYFATTIES.

menswear insider interview

Tie-a-Tie: Hi Joshua, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed here on Tie-a-Tie for my new Menswear Insider Series. Now, first off, what motivated you to start your necktie tailoring business?

Joshua: SKINNYFATTIES began out of necessity. Laid off and in need of job interview clothing, I learned how to tailor what I had in my closet. My friends were impressed by my unique skill of tie tailoring that I decided to run with the concept and turn it into my full-time job. SKINNYFATTIES now donates a portion of our profits to Career Gear, a non-profit organization that helps low income men reenter the workforce.

Tie-a-Tie: Being new to the menswear industry without prior industry experience, what expect ions, if any, did you have about this industry before you started your business? Are they true? Were there things that turned out different than anticipated, and what were the biggest surprises?

Joshua: I had no expectations. At the beginning, I was so focused on refining a service that customers would love and use often that I didn’t even realize SKINNYFATTIES could be a leader in men’s fashion. It wasn’t until major publications took note of the tailoring service that I knew I had a unique place in men’s fashion.

Tie-a-Tie: The media certainly has taken notice of you and your service. We have seen your ties in the news. Is there any celebrity that is wearing one of your ties right now? If so, who?

Joshua: Not yet, but I’m dying to get The Pop Collection on Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher and Ryan Gosling!

Tie-a-Tie: That would be amazing indeed. Now, you have already received lots of press including features by DETAILS Magazine, Men’s Journal, and CBS. Besides having had a unique business idea, what is the secret to your success?

Joshua: Working 7 days a week full of 14+ hour days. Not just using social media as a tool to talk, but to engage and listen. Never stop thinking about ties. Researching what’s been done and how to do it better. “Can I tailor a tie for you?” to anyone and everyone in press. Loving what I do and not imagining doing anything differently in life. Knowing SKINNYFATTIES will be a globally recognized brand. Basically, in short, living and breathing SKINNYFATTIES.

Tie-a-Tie: It is really nice to see such dedication. You have mentioned previously that you still do lots of the tailoring yourself. By now you have probably re-tailored a wide range of necktie brands and fabrics.. Based on the construction and use of fabrics, which designers/manufacturer are you most impressed with, and why?

Joshua: Louis Vuitton. The fabrics are gorgeous to the eye, smooth to the touch and as a tailor, they are great to work with.

Tie-a-Tie: It seems that you get what you pay for with this designer. Now in terms of designs and patterns. You see a lot of unique ties each day, that customers are sending to you from all over the country. Which tie that you have re-tailored stood out to you the most, and why?

Joshua: Paul Smith ties are just plain cool. The tipping patterns on these ties are so uniquely different than the face of the ties, but it always seems to work. I just love it.

Tie-a-Tie: Did Paul Smith design have an influence on your new “POP Collection“?

Joshua: Yes, it certainly did. With the POP Collection customers can not only choose between several widths but they can also opt for different fabrics used on the tipping.

Tie-a-Tie: Being a tie aficionado myself, I know how difficult it can be to make a decision on a tie to wear (because there are so many nice ones). But if you could only own 5 neckties, what would they be? Why would you choose those 5?

Joshua: Overall, because I am 6’1″ and very thin, I only wear 2″ neckties. Here are my top five:
The POP Collection: I’m currently obsessed with the Black & White Gingham front, with the Green tipping/loop fabric mix. A standard black necktie like the Formal Solid Black Silk Tie from (tailored down to 2″, of course), a classic striped tie, a paisley tie, and a cotton floral tie.

Tie-a-Tie: All excellent choices indeed. You mentioned the importance of matching tie width. As a tie expert you pay attention to menswear trends. What trends in men’s neckwear do you anticipate for 2014?

Joshua: I am proud to say that SKINNYFATTIES is a leader in men’s neckwear. For years, necktie widths have been dictated by trend. As a tailor, it just doesn’t make sense. A 275 lb. man shouldn’t be wearing a super skinny tie, just like a super skinny guy shouldn’t be wearing a 4″ tie. Ties should be chosen based on body type. That said, we created The Pop Collection, which is the worlds first online tie builder, based on the principle that neckties aren’t one size fits all. 2014 says goodbye to being “on-trend” when it comes to tie widths.


Tie-a-Tie: Being an entrepreneur in the menswear industry, what piece of advise would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur that wants to break into the industry with his/her idea?

Joshua: Don’t take no for an answer, but learn to say no.

Tie-a-Tie: A great piece of advice! Now, one last question related to men’s neckwear trends. We (Tie-a-Tie) are based on the west coast (San Francisco) and you are in Brooklyn, NY. From your travels to San Francisco, do you see any differences in tie trends between our two cities?

Joshua: Ties are weird. They are that one piece of clothing that men can be as loud as they want with. The most macho man in the world can wear a pink floral tie and not a soul would judge. Whatever city you are in, the great thing about ties is that anything goes and that’s why I love my job.

Tie-a-Tie: Well said! Thank you again for agreeing to the interview. I very much enjoyed it and wish you the best of luck and success for 2014.

Joshua: Thank you, and thanks for having me.

Interviewed by Hendrik,owner/founder of