Tie Society and TieTry duel for the nation’s necks
Sometimes odd parallels emerge in the universe, like Hollywood producing two period films about magicians at the same time, or Kennedy having a secretary named Lincoln, etc. etc. The world of retail has now produced its own odd parallelism: childhood friends starting an online tie rental service.
Last December, I spoke with Zac Gittens and Otis Collins, the D.C. natives and BFFs behind the Tie Society, which launched in November. The guys are a two-man operation, working out of a house in Adams Morgan and offering a variety of neck ties for a monthly fee.
And now David Powers, a D.C. attorney with WilmerHale, has teamed with lifelong friend Scott Tindle to do pretty much the exact same thing. This month, they launched TieTry, a two-man operation that runs out of Tindle’s house in Alabama and offers a variety of neck ties for a monthly fee.
In addition to the shared cute backstory, the Netflix-ish models of TieTry and Tie Society are basically indistinguishable—classy websites, comparable pricing (one charges $19.95 for a three-tie monthly plan, the other charges $19.99), and free shipping.
Collins learned about TieTry after seeing someone tweet about the idea being stolen from Netflix and assumed it was in reference to Tie Society. Nope, it linked back to last week’s DCist article about TieTry. He isn’t worried about competition so early into his company's tenure.
“We welcome that,” he says. “It’s a validation of our model, in some respects.” Collins says another online tie service means customers are willing to change to a different retail model to get their cravats.
“The real story is the death of the retail model,” he declares. Yes, the death of the retail model is a fine story, but we prefer the story is dueling necktie rental services. Can these plucky upstarts co-exist? We'll be watching.
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