Two college buddies are sticking their necks out in the business world, offering a through-the-mail tie-rental service similar to how Netflix markets movies.
Scott Tindle and David Powers, who graduated together from the University of Alabama's law school, were looking for an avocation to go along with their vocation.
Similar to Netflix , TieTry allows customers to buy subscriptions for one to five ties with the price ranging from $11.99 to $29.00 per month.
Powers practices in Washington, D.C., and Tindle hung his shingle up in Mobile, Ala. It's Tindle's home that serves as headquarters, warehouse and shipping center for the business, which kicked off in January.
"We wanted to come up with an interesting business idea, and since we are both lawyers, ties seemed to be a good fit," Tindle said. "With some ties going for $90, this is a good way to expand your wardrobe without breaking the bank."
The company uses the Netflix approach, where you pay a subscription and get movies each month. TieTry customers pick out their ties on the company's website and place them on a list.
They are delivered with an enclosed, prepaid envelope for return. Subscribers can keep the ties they pick for the month, or return them to get new ones delivered. The selection turns over as quickly as the postal service can get the new ties to you, Powers said.
"We have customers from every walk of life," he said. "Lawyers, college professors, people in business. We try to offer a good selection from known designers. We are also working with regional tie companies to give our customers a good selection to choose from."
Renting fashion isn't new. For ladies there's Rent The Runway and Lending Luxury, which rent designer dresses, gowns and accessories. For the guys, there is one other tie-rental outfit out there, Tie Society.
TieTry gets its ties from distributors carrying such designers as Brooks Bros., Hermes and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as Southern Proper, known for its bow ties. Customers can buy the ties they like. Once the ties are returned, they are cleaned. If the tie is damaged or stained so normal cleaning doesn't work, customers can be charged for the value of the tie, or what it takes to clean it.
For Nate Clancy, an IT consultant in Chicago, randomly finding TieTry on the Internet couldn't have come at a better time. He started a new job about two months ago.
"I went from a software developer that was jeans and T-shirts every day to a company that requires business attire Monday through Thursday, and no ties on Friday," Clancy said, who picked the two-tie-per-month option. "I've always considered myself fashion-conscious and had some ties. But now I need a bigger selection."
Even professionals with well-stocked closets can benefit from the program, said David Culver, a D.C. lobbyist.
"We have to adhere to a strict dress code, suits every day," he said. "I probably have 100 ties, but I only wear about 20 of them."
He gets three ties a month.
"TieTry allows you to mix things up," he continued. "You get to try different styles and designers. You can try some designs you would never think about buying. If you don't like the tie, just send it back. In two or three days you have your next choice delivered."
Contributing: Roney also reports for The Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser