Tell us about how you got your start making leather bow ties. 
How did the idea come about and what was your inspiration?

While watching “Shark Tank” about five years ago, I saw a wooden bow tie. I immediately thought, “Somebody needs to make a leather bow tie.” Having never made anything with my hands, I just sat on the idea. By August of 2015, my wife and I welcomed our third child, Maxwell. He came to us with Down syndrome and would require open heart surgery at just 6 months old. At that time, we knew our rhythms were going to change drastically. I wanted to find a way to, over time, work more from home and help with logistics of Max as well as our other two children. And so I finally acted on the idea and learned about how to make leather bow ties.

What has been your favorite part 
of the creative process?

I especially enjoy the early stages of processing I go through now when I look at a leather hide. My mind does somersaults over colors, markings, thin and thick spots as I look over potential hides to buy. 

What are the custom components of 
your ties? Are they made local?

I am proud to say I personally make every last bow tie. Eventually I’d love to put someone else to work with me, but for now, the workload is such that, from start to finish, I do each part of the making of these bow ties. You will commonly find me in the garage, in a workspace I’ve set up there, as well as in my home office, cutting, beveling, coloring, stitching …

What have you learned as a local 
maker/entrepreneur that has benefited your business? Any advice for someone wanting to create their own product?

I learned early on to focus on one thing. Leather creates opportunity for countless products, but I am sure had I done so many they would have been pretty marginal. By focusing on one concept and honing my craft, I have one primary product, but endless variations. I’d advise anyone wishing to create their own product to take that idea and run with it right away and stick with it. Many times I have felt like quitting, but I’m learning the importance of perseverance in all this. 

Where can our readers find your bowties? 

Etsy.com/Shop/MadisonStreetLeather. To find local stores, visit MadisonStreetLeather.com.

Can our readers find other products 
made by you around town?

I also make belts, wallets, dog leashes, kids/pets bow ties—they are simple products, but it helps me to create a new customer base, even while creatively using leather in some other ways.