Chicago Neckwear Designer Discovers that Even Those with Money Have Brains

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Online tie shop finds that the wealthy are more careful about how they spend their money than most might think. Originally, the company sought to target the young struggling professional with "more brains than money," but $15 ties turn out to be a hit with doctors, lawyers and businessmen instead.

Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago’s most respected business publication, recently called The Tie Bar ( a one-of-a-kind retailer which offers gift ideas that “steer clear of the cookie-cutter.”

The Tie Bar is a unique online tie shop that sells 100% silk handmade and stain resistant neckties, but for only $15 each. Originally created to target the struggling young professional, The Tie Bar unexpectedly discovered that its clientele is coming from a much higher tax bracket. This information may shed light on the spending trends of the American affluent.

“Initially, The Tie Bar’s target market was the younger savvy professional with ‘more brains than money’,” explained Gina Shugar, co-founder of The Tie Bar. The rationale of the $15 price tag was to follow the bargain-seeking culture that is present in modern America. In previous generations, people would brag about how much they spent on their new clothes. Today’s professionals, however, are showing off how little they spent on their clothes.

Little did Shugar know that The Tie Bar’s real market would be the people who already have money. “Doctors are by far our biggest clients. We’ve had doctors order ten ties at a time, then come back two weeks later and order five more. We are also finding that lawyers and business owners are buying our ties. I guess we underestimated how carefully the affluent decide on their purchases.”

It was only two months ago when The Tie Bar launched its new business model. “While sales have been strong, it is ironic that our biggest selling point [the $15 price tag] is also our biggest obstacle. It isn’t easy convincing people that they can really get a luxurious silk tie for just $15,” Shugar adds. Those who have purchased the ties have learned for themselves. “We have yet to have a single return or complaint of our product,” Shugar explains.

The Tie Bar’s strategy was to change the entire mindset of how men think about buying their neckties, as described in its original press release ( The Tie Bar has learned, however, that many of its clients have had the same mindset for years – it’s not how much you make, it’s what you spend, stupid.

The Tie Bar's Winter 2005 collection is now available exclusively online at

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Gina Shugar
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