Looking for the next new thing?
Maybe it’s an old thing.
Consider the bow tie, a piece of neck wear associated with the likes of Winston Churchill, Karl Marx, Thomas Edison, George Will and Bill Nye the science guy. Not the sort of people, in other words, you’d expect to see every day, and certainly not in business settings where no one butbankers even wears regular ties anymore.
Unless, of course, you rebrand it as a lifestyle accessory with a twist that ties directly into declaring this isn’t your father’s stodgy neck wear.
Bow-Tying Everything Together
Which is exactly what Brandon Etheridge, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of South Carolina, did in establishing Deck Head, a design house and online retailer of patented interchangeable bow tie halves that can be combined into different looks. Like many entrepreneurs, Etheridge turned a personal passion into a business.
As he explains in UYD magazine, he began wearing a bow tie in high school, but couldn’t afford to own more than one. Wearing the same tie everyday, however, defeated the purpose of trying to achieve a unique look. At which point he hit upon the idea of the interchangeable bow tie that is exclusive to Deck Head.
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In an interview with The Huffington Post, Etheridge says he plans for the company to expand beyond bow ties to become a lifestyle clothing line for women and children as well as men. Which is why the name “Deck Head” (i.e., the underside of a ship deck) is intended to connote not just bow ties, but the southern sailing culture of the Carolinas. Which goes to show that even when you’re building on the old, your brand needs to look to the future.
Made Green in the USA
Another old idea is that of made in the USA quality, a manufacturing commitment Deck Head shares with another Carolina-based apparel maker. Dirtball makes eco-friendly jeans, shirts, hoodies, socks, polo shirts and shorts, most of which are manufactured within 200 miles of its Hickory, North Carolina, headquarters. According to The Huffington Post, such proximity allows the company to reduce shipping costs, as well as the environmental impact of transportation; the savings are put back into hiring labor.
Dirtball is also updating that old tried and true staple of leisure wear—blue jeans—by making them green. The company makes its jeans out of recycled water bottles and cotton. Every 100,000 pairs of jeans are estimated to remove about 900,000 water bottles out of landfills.
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Reinventing the Wheel
Conventional business wisdom holds that you shouldn’t waste time reinventing the wheel. The companies we’ve discussed demonstrate that reinventing the wheel can actually result in a better, more marketable wheel. While the fashion industry in particular is noted for updated old trends to make them new again, most any business can do the same. If you’re looking to reinvigorate an old product idea, Attention Getting Marketing recommends asking yourself the following questions:
- How do I add functionality, extend usefulness and/or differentiate it from what’s currently on the market?
- How can I package it differently to interest new and existing customers?
- How do I position it to new markets?
- How do I add a “cool” factor relevant to today’s users?
As the TriplePundit maintains, maybe we need move away from throwaway products and work less on making more stuff than making the same old stuff better.