INK Menswear is a new company launched in Orem this summer that is turning men’s ties on their tails. Literally.
The three minds behind INK Menswear -- Freedom Hamill, Nathalie Linge and Seth Ferguson -- have taken the “business in the front, party in the back” idea to a new level in men’s fashion wear. Well, without all the negative mullet connotations.
“In an INK tie, you can go to work or church and feel totally confident. Our ties combine a classic and sophisticated front, or ‘tongue,’ with a personality-charged ‘tail.’ Tails are subtle and cool -- meant for that 'accidental' sighting,” Hamill said.
The INK team is targeting its skinny ties to the millennial/hipster crowd -- those who want something different than the large, loud ties their fathers wore.
“We think ties fall into two categories: too busy or too boring,” Hamill said. “Living in a tie-wearing community, we saw a need to design ties truer to the population wearing them.
"These are not standard, run-of-the-mill men/young men. These are students, athletes, scientists, app designers, rock-climbers, cyclists, musicians, snowboarders. These are discoverers and game changers -- men with passion and purpose.
"In reality, no man or woman is ‘standard.’ We recognized this truth and integrated it into our unique design.”
The idea for INK ties was hatched about a year ago when Hamill and Linge, who are neighbors, came together with design ideas and a goal to reach a segment of the fashion market looking for something different. They started creating timeless designs for the fronts of the ties, and then Hamill started designing the tails.
They also reached out to local teens for tail design ideas, and incorporated many of those designs as well. Unique to their line, as well, is how they incorporate their INK logo into the tail designs.
They brought on Ferguson, who is studying economics at Brigham Young University and is also trained in crowdfunding, to help them get to the next step.
“Kickstarter is where we are testing it, to see if there’s really interest in our ties,” said Linge, a film and entrepreneur student at the University of Utah.
There must be an interest, as they launched their ties on Kickstarter at the beginning of October, and were fully funded within 48 hours. Currently, they are at more than double their funding goal, and they still have two weeks to go in their campaign.
And they are more than excited for that milestone. Funding will pay for further production, manufacturing and marketing to get their ties out to the masses.
Hamill is very passionate about reaching out to the world, and hopes to go global with INK. The name of the business stands for “International Next of Kin,” a very deliberate and symbolic name for Hamill and company.
“We’re all ‘tied’ together in one way or another, and it is our privilege and responsibility to help each other succeed,” Hamill said.
Hamill is the daughter of a Vietnamese father who, as an 8-year-old orphan, ran the streets of South Vietnam prior to and during the Vietnam War. He was adopted by an American soldier and brought to the U.S., and given a new opportunity at life.
“This is what International Next of Kin is all about. We each have the potential to reach out, to strengthen, to learn and to grow from those around us," Hamill said. "We are capable of a lot of good. We are uniquely designed, collectively united -- just like our ties."
In addition to their goals for their business, Hamill and company are already mentoring and helping others as a philanthropic arm of their business. Using the model of a “for-profit business to alleviate poverty,” they are involved in business mentoring programs locally and in third-world countries. They don’t want to just give handouts, but help people help themselves.
“We want individuals to learn the skills necessary to grow their own businesses and achieve their own dreams. To accomplish this, we have teamed with Motiis, a company changing the frontier of impact enterprise in Mombasa, Kenya,” Hamill said.
“On a local level, we have teamed with Teens Act, an organization driven to provide educational opportunities to underserved youth.”
In line with this, Hamill is very excited about one of their Kickstarter backing options -- the chance to inspire a classroom. Hamill, who also has a background in education, will go into a local class and will talk pursuing artistic and business goals.
She already has one backer who has supported that endeavor, and she’s excited to fulfill it.
“Anytime I can work with and inspire youth, I love that,” Hamill said.