AT WORK IS A SERIES DOCUMENTING PITTSBURGH CREATIVES, MAKERS AND ENTREPRENEURS, THEIR WORK AND THEIR SPACES.
THIS WEEK WE'RE AT WORK WITH BUSINESS OWNERS AND CRAFTSMEN MICAH AND ALICIA LIST.
You own Neck and Tie Co., one of our favorite accessory brands. What do you guys do?
As a whole, we are a cut & sew operation. We craft neckwear that is inspired by our desire to endeavor in a craft where we are able to care as equally for the process as we do the finished product. Our goal is that the quality and style of our neckwear will translate to the first item a guy thinks to throw on when dressing up for a nice night our or for his daily 9-5 hustle.
How did you get into crafting neckwear?
I (Micah) sort of fell into it. I had lots of ties and as the trend went to a more modern width, I knew I had to change something about my wardrobe. This idea was the beginning of the journey of Neck & Tie. Tailoring some of my ties at the time turned into making some from scratch for a friends wedding, and so on. Then it took root and just didn’t stop.
It's funny how we fall into the work we do. What are you working on now?
Our spring line. This year we are going for more of a muted vibe with some pops of color and botanicals. Its been a process to pull it together but its been worth it. We also are gonna give this whole neckerchief thing a go. So we are excited to launch those this spring. Besides launching our spring line, we are always working on improving our brand and the efficiency of how our product is made. We actually just finished our product packaging re-design which will launch with the spring line, so keep an eye out.
How do you find inspiration for your collections?
Ha. A lot of it is just what we are drawn to personally. We both love patterns and textures. For our upcoming collection, we jumped over to a few of those big textiles shows in NYC. We were introduced to a lot of new styles, which was fun and exciting. together we were able to reign in all the different styles and designs we like to create something cohesive. We typically do our research on colors that are in for the season and allow that to inspire us as we search for fabrics that we love. We usually end picking a lot of blues, which in the beginning was frustrating, but we decided to stop fighting it and allow it to become a part of our brand identity.
What does a typical day look like at the studio?
Well, [it looks] so many different ways depending on the day. We have 4 employees now who do the majority of the artisanal work with our products, which has freed us up to really focus on growing the business and casting vision for new opportunities. I (Micah) spend most of my days looking for new ways to work with stores and other brick + mortars as we don’t have our own. This might look like a collaboration, wholesale, or even an event sometimes. Alicia works mainly with our custom wedding clients because she has an amazing eye for design and loves working with our amazing clients!
"...the overwhelming feeling for us is joy. The joy that we get to do this together, rain or shine."
Speaking of, what's it like working with your spouse?
Ooh, thats a good one... It is amazing to get to do something like this together. We really are pursuing a dream. Mainly the dream of running our own gig and not being tied to a 9-5. We want to travel and see the world as a family (we have two kids under two as well) and building this business together is a huge part in making that happen. Don’t get me wrong, there are the hard days were we don’t agree on how we want to design a certain product or some other trivial thing, but the overwhelming feeling for us is joy. The joy that we get to do this together, rain or shine.
What excites you most about your work?
Specifically, that question would probably be answered very differently by each of us, but as a whole, we are most excited about new opportunities. It is always fun to wake up to an email about a potential collaboration, a raving review, a new product idea etc..
Seeing the success we have had in a very short period of time and thinking about the possibilities always gets us going.
Last question: what are three things you can't live without?
Coffee, our kiddos, and an obsessive excess of green plants.