Tell us about your business.Charleston-based bow tie producers, Brackish, have created an accessories collection with a distinctive taste of South Carolina's great outdoors. The company was founded by Jeff Plotner and Ben Ross on the success of Ross' first experimental turkey feather bow ties-handmade by himself as innovative and personal gifts for the groomsmen at his wedding. Today Brackish bow ties are handmade by a small team of local artisans, each with their own skills and perfected methods that translate into one of a kind pieces. The intricate production process-in which the feathers are individually hand selected for each bow tie-requires a high level of quality hand craft and can take b/t 4 & 5 hrs to complete. While using feathers in itself provides a characteristic natural aesthetic, all of the feathers are sourced from farms all over America. This serves as an aid to small time farms who would usually have to dispose of them. Brackish prides itself on being unique, personal, and remarkable.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.We started at a kitchen table and have progressed to a 1800 sq ft shop in Charleston where every aspect of production is done. All of our artisans have their own personal and unique workstations that allows them to maximize their creative potential and artistic process. We welcome customers into a warm and nature oriented showroom complete with split hemlock tables, old trunks, and cypress knees. We also have a Wall of Fame showcasing designs, old and new. With giant handmade feather bow ties and nature inspired pictures hanging from the wall, our space reflects one of the core values of Brackish: respectfully repurposing the beauty of nature.
What inspires you?Nature, family and friends. Pushing the creative boundaries to do something no one has ever done before. Then taking that creative design and utilizing an artistic method that brings the product to fruition is incredibly inspiring. Originality. Coming together as a team and accomplishing something impossible for 1 single person. Creating a wearable piece of art that is recognized as a special purchase by our customers.
What makes your business stand out?Our products and the process behind each one makes Brackish stand out. We have created something completely unique and risked everything to make it work. It's hard to find something that nobody else has ever done these days. Creating a truly original work of art that cannot be duplicated because of the handmade nature of each tie is remarkable. Our artisans also allow Brackish to stand out. The consistency and personal touch that goes into each product is amazing.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Action. Plain and simple. So many people have so many ideas but never act upon them. Reject the status quo and the naysayers and follow through on your ideas. If you fail, so be it. I'm sure you learned something valuable along the way that will aid in your next venture.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made means staying true to all the aspects and opportunities afforded to us to make this company possible. Providing jobs to talented Americans without outsourcing anything gives one a sense of pride. There is a history in America of innovating and creating and we believe we're doing that everyday at Brackish.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONS ENDAug. 31, 2015
Final day for entering the Audience Choice Award competition.
VOTING ENDSOct. 19, 2015
Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
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