Can a Netflix for neckties succeed during this rise of the sharing economy? Yes, many of us men still wear ties, whether we work as i-bankers on Wall Street or are fashionistas who wear them with shorts. Ties also keep spiking in price: prices over $100 are the reality at high-end department stores. Even if you catch a sale at a store such as Macy’s, a decent variety of neckties will cost you. Now online sharing services that specialize in neckties and other accessories such as cuff links are jumping on the sharing economy bandwagon. So whether you want to change your look without having a closet full of ties, or covet that Versace or Prada tie but will not walk on the runway anytime soon, necktie sharing services for the man with exquisite taste (or a very small closet) are a reality.
FreshNeck, TieTry, Tie Society and Tie-Man.com are among the companies that allow subscribers to borrow ties by paying a monthly fee. FreshNeck and TieTry lead the pack of necktie sharing services: both not only appeal to the idea of the sharing economy, but offer a large selection of ties from a variety of designers. The fact that most men wear their neckties only once every few weeks makes the switch to a sharing service a compelling option.
New York-based FreshNeck provides access to neckties, bow ties, cuff links, tie clips and pocket squares. Founded by David Goldberg, who started his career as a public attorney and then worked for large financial institutions, FreshNeck avoids the tired and inefficient model of purchasing ties. Instead, the service offers its members a vast selection of ties and other accessories, and therefore offers unlimited access to over 100 designer brands. Subscribers can choose from three different memberships that range from $15 to $55. For those who want the experience of wearing a Hermes or Versace tie, the most pricey gold level gives you unlimited access to ties as well as first dibs on clearance sales. Similar to Netflix, you receive an envelope of tie(s), and another prepaid one in which to insert your worn ties. Memberships include dry cleaning fees for minor stains, but really bad aim with that Starbucks morning coffee will set you back $8: and if you destroy or lose your borrowed tie after a wild night out with the clients, FreshNeck will bill you for the cost of replacement.
Located in Mobile, AL, TieTry is a similar necktie sharing service. Noting that many of their ties retail in stores for over $90, the company offers price points from $12 to $30: the more you spend per month the more ties you can receive per shipment. TieTry offers a large variety of necktie brands, from Abercrombie & Fitch to Zara. As is the case with FreshNeck, minor stains are forgiven, but if you ruin it, you buy it. Founded by two college friends, David Powers and Scott Tindel, the company emphasizes a social mission to work with charities providing educational opportunities for low-income kids. Like many companies vested in the sharing economy, TieTry has its share of growing pains--a pitch on the TV show Shark Tank did not end with an investment from Mark Cuban et al.
So while the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption, is permeating the fashion accessory industry, these services post some tough questions. Will men be quick to share ties with folks they do not know? Will they be patient and wait a few days to receive their ties (both services only send and receive ties from one location)? And in an era where less men wear ties to work, is there a large enough market? This is one corner of the sharing economy that deserves some follow up a year from now.
Leon Kaye, based in Fresno, California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business; his work has also appeared on Sustainable Brands, Inhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost).
Image credit: FreshNeck