Bow Ties Sydney, Australia - Le Noeud Papillon - Specialists In Self Tying Bow Ties

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Remarkable Documentary - Becoming Warren Buffet

A few weeks ago I was with a good friend of mine who quoted Warren Buffet from a recent documentary on his life which piqued my interest.

I am not that much into financial stuff despite a degree in agricultural economics and basic understanding of commodities etc,  nor do I watch the financial markets closely or talk about it over dinner. The thing that interests me about money is how people attain it. what they do with it once they have it and I am fascinated by people who manage to manipulate other people to work for them in order to make more money. That might sound simple and stupid - but to me that is quite remarkable - that one human being might be able to grow a company through sales that is strong enough to convince another human being to come into that business and work for a wage, possibly to take some equity in the business and that they might go on to have a company with thousands of employees by the end of their lifetime. Personally I have a hard enough time motivating myself, so this particularly of interest to me and I hold these people in high esteem.

Perhaps this was why I wanted to know more about Warren Buffet and how he managed to convince a whole bunch of people to work for him. And it was fantastic to see how he did it, because it made much more sense after the documentary.

In my head I imagined someone that goes to work in an office where hundreds of people dart around and the thought of all that pressure just makes me cringe with anxiety - but what we see is Warren Buffet in a quiet office with 36 employees not that far from where he lives in Omaha, a quaint little drive from his home via the McDonalds drive-thru .

One would expect that sitting on all those billions of dollars you'd be sweating all day long but Buffet is relaxed and reads the papers, gets himself a coke, takes a few phone calls.

I just love this guy and I can understand the cult that has been built around his persona.

And his secret to success, which he repeats many times over during the course of the documentary, is the nature of compound interest over an extended period of time ( which is also explained well by Dr. Albert A. Bartlett here) and the fact that he has kept his expenses down. The second part is much inspirational for me than the first. Watching Buffet live a simple -  and perhaps comparative to his contemporary billionaire cohorts - frugal existence, is quite exciting and somewhat paradoxical.

For Buffet the accumulation of wealth was no more than a game that some other kid might play on Xbox which he played very well over the course of his lifetime. But the game was all about making or at least relying on human beings to consume. Without consumption and in many respects, over-consumption, Buffet would not have had such a great result from the game. But in order to play the game better, he himself made sure that he never fell victim to consumption. He avoided the pitfalls of the 'hamster wheel' of life, ensuring that his personal costs were at a minimum.

It is nice to know that Warren Buffet is one of the richest men in the world - he seems to be the right fit of character for that role. He carries with him a sort of Bernie Sanders-esque frugality about him from an era that understood what financial hardship was all about. But the game is what I don't understand and will never understand - the endless pursuit of numbers that sit in bank accounts like a score card.

The one thing I loved about Steve Jobs was he had one sole aim for his profits in the early days, and that was to make better products. Make a profit so you can make better products, to get more sales, to get more profit to make another round of better products. Whereas, it seems if Buffet's first wife had not died, the purpose of his money seems to have been nothing more than a game.

If you have a spare hour, watch this documentary on this remarkable human being.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Final Call

We now have to get back to our other work but we have loaded the final Yuzen silks onto the website with a few more to trickle in over the coming three weeks. We have enjoyed this process very much. 

Come see them -

Friday, March 17, 2017

New Yuzen Silks Just Loaded

If you watch enough videos on the topic of Yuzen silk you can become a little obsessed, as I have become.

Firstly, there is the patience and time that goes into one bolt of say 10 metres that will make up one kimono. It is a process that has artisans using a rice resist in pen like forms and using stencils to create the basic artwork. Then comes the dyeing which is done in house from scratch with sponges and brushes. Once this has been done, the  silk has to be steamed three times then washed in fresh water (often from natural springs that run underneath the factory). Then and only then when the dye is set and the resist washed away, does the artisan apply genuine gold leaf and silver.

It is almost sacrilegious to cut these silks up into bow ties if they didn't come out so beautifully. And I am very proud of them, they merge a number of skill sets, dyed silk and silk painting, the art of a jacquard loom and silk weaving and finally the skills of my seamstress and to a small extent my cutting, selection and design skills. But enough about me - all I did was connect the dots.

Anyone can make a bow tie - and I mean that - it wouldn't take more than a day or two to work out how to make one - you can go to a number of haberdashery stores in Sydney and get a private lesson for the morning and you will be mostly on your way. But these bow ties are something special, they are a search for something unique and different and the refinement of one product over nearly ten years now.

I hope you like them as much as I do.

How To Spot A Bargain Online And Restore Light Coloured Leather Shoes Into Your Own Patina Canvas

Don't be alarmed by the title of this post - I was told it was good for SEO. At the end of every sale I like to reward myself with a little bit of blog time indulgence. I am aware that barely anyone reads blogs these days now that everyone important is on Instaspam but I am compelled to keep up my blog because it's not all about the money and this truly was the way that a young brand could emerge in a digital era without having to sell my concept to venture capitalists or loan sharks (that is intended humour).

So this time my indulgence was a shoe restoration which I haven't done in some time and I wish to impart some wisdom on all my blog readers with spare time and a passion for good shoes. 

My advice is this - spend some time on Ebay and especially watch the selections from Ascot Shoes' store on Ebay as well as the store run by Elizabeth Varnish called Shoes Of Distinction and another Ebayer caller Thomas Henry Shoes (or on instagram as @4shoeboy. These three stores are excellent at picking up rare and unwanted English, Italian, Romanian (St Crispins) and Hungarian shoes (think of the brand Vass) . To say they are unwanted is a misnomer. They are either acting as agents, acting on behalf of people who no longer want a pair of shoes, on behalf of shoe shops shedding stock or else on behalf of shoe factories who need to get rid of seconds and thirds and shoes that were never picked up or never sold. That's a lot of excuses to have shoes, so you can imagine, they constantly have new ranges of shoes on their sites.

Personally these days I like to look for light coloured leather shoes that somebody else overlooked because they wouldn't wear the colour. Such was the case with the Barker Black shoes below that started life hard against the grain of trend and fashion. I had always wanted a pair of Barker Black shoes to work with because I had reached out to them when I first began writing the blog to see if they would give me a free pair or discounted at least and they promptly told me they weren't interested.

Patience and Ebay are a virtue and I managed to secure a pair from Ascot Shoes and I began yesterday the first iteration to give them a new lease of life. 

I stripped them with acetone and alcohol and I spent the first day giving them a marine blue and black toe cap and heel. I am using beaver hair brushes these days and I don't bother with any other kind. The beaver seems to glide on the dye so naturally and with such an elegant brush stroke. I also found this time around that the quality of the Saphir dyes is so much more superior to Feibling and the leather dye brands you can find in Sydney. There is a viscosity and depth to the colour as it goes on that seems so much more superior and tends not to leave that awful metallic shade that sometimes appears after a dyeing session with cheaper dyes.

All in all it took me about two hours to get to the first stage of waxing and with a pomade. From what they were (colour unwearable) to what they are now, is chalk and cheese. I have gone for dark blue and black because I would like to wear them with a navy suit and jeans and have a mid shine on them to make them not so ostentatious that they would attract too much attention but blue enough that they stand out from the black shoes being worn by others on the street. 

I will keep you updated as I progress but needless to say this is a work in progress and really for the small amount of money you pay to set up your dyes and brushes compared with the massive savings you can get by shopping websites like Ascot Shoes on Ebay (provided you know your size well, especially the width of your foot), well to my mind, it's a no brainer. 

Saphir products can be bought from Ebay too though I recommend places like Exquisite Trimmings in London and The Hanger Project in Dallas. The most expensive part will be your time but if you love being creative and if you need something to take your mind off the other shit you have to deal with in your life, try taking up shoe restoration, dyeing and polishing. It's almost as good as cooking....

Light coloured leathers like these tones often sell poorly and are optimal for home dyeing. I recommend Saphir dyes and a beaver brush. Most of the technique can be found by goodling patina restoration on you tube or the web. 

An initial beaver brush stroke using marine blue by Saphir - a dye that is superior in my experience to other brands I have worked with.

This is the first iteration, the desired finish will see the shoes being worn with a navy suit or jeans. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

You Live By The Sword, You Die By The Sword

People, customers, friends, enemies, frenemies - have all warned me about my sales. "You can't keep giving customers discounts" they'll say in various forms and anecdotes. One arrived yesterday from someone close to me who said "I was having coffee with Nicholas SoandSo and he told me he never likes to go to any coffee shop where they have a loyalty card 'buy ten coffees get one free', because in his mind, if the coffee is good enough he's happy to pay each time and it cheapens the brand if they offer it" .

The thing is, probably everyone that speaks to me is right. I am not denying that giving discounts continuously is probably harming my 'brand' but to be honest, I don't care. Every time we get stock out of the store and cash into the account I am free to explore new silks, new designs, new energy. If it weren't for cash none of our recent Yuzen bow ties customers would have received the 18k rose gold plated 925 sterling silver clips - mostly because I would have been too tight to throw money at a new project like that. You probably wouldn't have seen any Yuzen silks on the website either because who would explore Yuzen when the only bow ties that sell are black ones and polka dots - if you believe your detractors.

If I believed my detractors I wouldn't be making bow ties - that's for sure. "It's such a small market", "who buys your stuff", "I never knew you could make money out of bow ties" . 

Let me tell you something, I've had a gut full of my detractors - the real, the barely perceptible and the wholly fictional that you create in your own head. Negative thinking has it's merits but if you want to step outside of the confines of what is 'de rigeur' you need to keep exploring and pushing yourself long after everyone has told you to stop. You have to stay fresh and curious and really you can't do that sitting still.

We are all just going around the one time - I do believe that in my current state of knowledge and experience (unless my maker will reveal himself and assure me there is life after death). And who is to say whether the way I have carved out my niche is right or wrong. When my bow ties sell at their RRP I figure I must have done something right. And when others eventually sell at a discounted rate I know they mustn't be as wonderful as I first thought or at the very least, not in customer's consideration on that day. But it forces all parties to play their part and it frees me up to get on with the show. Perhaps I am the biggest idiot in the menswear accessories business - perhaps I will have to learn a hard lesson in life at some point - but for now, I just want to keep moving.  

Enjoy the end of the sale. You are allowing silk to be converted to cash to be converted into more silk and the exploration of more designs. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yuzen Silk Bow Ties - Now Live On The Website

What is more of a luxury than bespoke? Something that cannot be reproduced again. Something that is a moment in time and space and then is gone. Such was the case when we stumbled upon a cache of Yuzen silks. Yuzen is an art form of dyeing and painting silks that is derived from Kyoto. Principally it is a way by which Japanese artisans use a rice based resist to use silk fabric as though it were a canvas. Adding in the use of stencils, artisans have an ability to shade and graduate colour which creates some of the most striking silk prints I have even seen and certainly this kind of silk cannot be found in the digitally printed and screen printed worlds of silk. 

The system was developed by Yuzensai Miyazaki, a silk printer and dyer who perfected the system in the Edo period roughly 300 years ago in the Kaga district. 

Initially these types of silks were used in kimonos for aristocrats and the rich but over time kimonos in elaborate silks became more ubiquitous. The base fabric is woven in Japan from Japanese sericulture, whilst the dyeing is done in multiple cities, however, the most famed city is Kyoto.

The silk is first rolled out so that the artist can draw the basic design onto the silk roll either by hand or by stencil. Once the silk is drawn, a second layer of rice paste resist (which is created by boiling rice until you derive a starch paste) is drawn over the top. This will create the lines where the dye does not penetrate and allows the brushing on of dye over the top. Once the dye has been painted on the silk is set by steaming it three times in chambers where the silk is hung on pegs. After the silk has set it is then washed in very cold spring or river waters which flow through the areas where the silk is processed.

All in all this is a very labour intensive process but the silks speak for themselves, literally jumping out at you and visually dazzling your senses.

We have merged these silks with our own woven jacquards, allowing you to have two bow ties in one and giving you a complementing silk to the chosen Yuzen. Because Yuzen is dyed on a standard 36cm roll and where these designs are elaborate and long, we have to set aside each silk to choose the exact placement and hope to harvest one to two bow ties from each piece of Yuzen. 

Come and have a look. They are not cheap, but then, neither is good art. And as Oscar Wilde once said, "one should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art". 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Greatest Trend In 2017 - In My Humble Opinion - Will Be A Renaissance Of Hawaiian Shirts

I don't know how the world works but I do know that there is a book called 'The Tipping Point' and an ex advertising executive tried to explain to me how certain things build a latent momentum in society and at a certain point it tips and goes into being a full scale trend or fad. Why did I create a Hawaiian polka dot six months ago ? I told myself that it was because I had fondly recalled souvenirs we brought back for my grandmother from a family trip as a child to Hawaii . But perhaps there was a latency developing in me from things I had seen on Instaspam or Selfbook. I don't really know.

But onwards I went with my silk design and I knew most people would think it was a crazy idea - the only person who believed in me was a contact at an English silk mill who thought it was super-hot.

Fast forward to about one month ago and I was seated with two old friends I hadn't seen in some time and I explained my business and stretched out my turnover so I looked like I was financially doing better than I really was, and perhaps I exaggerated how much my customers adore my products, but hey, we all need a little bit of bullshit to help things along in life.

My friend stopped me as I walked him through my new silks -  "wow" he said,  "that reminds me of Double Rainbouu Hawaiian shirts". And, as is usual, I put my cell phone down, he picked up his, and we switched looking at screens. And boy was I excited. Colour flooded my screen and I was totally obsessed from the get go. Wow, wow, and more wow.

Sadly, the website didn't have a phone number and because I couldn't get any size information I managed to forget the name of the business, but the concept ignited my interest in Hawaiian shirts. I was in the process of getting back samples of my Hawaiian polka dot as a t-shirt but  I was salivating over the thought of wearing a proper Hawaiian shirt around town. Why? Because I was bloody sick of the Sydney heat and terrible sweat I had the moment I put on a shirt. And I was sick and tired of t-shirts. I was upset that as nation we hadn't worked out a national costume for the summer months - we ought to have been in Balinese sarongs or walking around with G-bangers a la the Indigenous Australian population we usurped this land from. In fact, as I finished the book the other night "The Coat Route" by Meg Lukens Noonan (a fantastic read by the way), there was reference in a chapter of her book as to why Australians had adopted clothes that didn't fit with the climate. As one historian wrote, commenting on Australian menswear, it was a symbol of our wish to enter modernity that we adopted, contrary to the first Australian settlers, more dark and sombre tones to emulate the British and many of the lighter colours and fabrics that had first been worn by early colonial Australians were done away with.

The Hawaiian shirt resembles a nice bridge between the clothes of Europeans and that of those who might live in the Asia Pacific Rim. The history of the Hawaiian shirt is in fact Asian if we're honest. It wasn't a Polynesian invention at all. The first Hawaiian shirts were made from Japanese yuzen kimono silks and were originally sold through "Musashi-ya", which had been established by Japanese immigrant Chōtarō Miyamoto, who opened the store in 1904. His son then took over the business and slowly the Hawaiian shirt evolved into something more familiar that we know today,  with a spurt in demand and growth in production when in the 1930s a Chinese merchant named Ellery Chun of King-Smith Clothiers and Dry Goods, a store in Waikiki, began moving large volumes, then after the war when ex-servicemen returned to the mainland stints on Hawaii. After the 1950's the garment became more ubiquitous when the cost of flying and the distances that could be flown meant that more people vacationed in Hawaii. It didn't hurt when in the 1960's the local government made it official summer garb or that singers and movie stars like Elvis Presley wore them, or that Harry S Truman wore one (perhaps with some irony given their Japanese origins) on the cover of a Time Magazine edition.

To my mind though the greatest reference point for them remains Magnum PI, the 80's cool cat who drove a red Ferrari and sported a huge brown moustache. His selection of shirts was top notch and to this day he is my pinup reference and perhaps the reason I was wanting to sport a Hawaiian shirt this summer.

In the end, I purchased mine from Double Rainbouu - the brain child of two ex Ksubi creative directors of their denim division, Mike Nolan and Toby Jones. In a nutshell, they take a Warhol pop-art chic design aesthetic and make eye-popping and playfully sexy garments with the core product being Hawaiian shirts.

And whilst I don't think Hawaiian shirts should be our national garb - because of course they are Hawaiian (or Aloha shirts)  - I do think they are a closer fit to what our nation needs for a summer ensemble, more than polo tops, more than t-shirts. We need something for our summers that is light, protects against the sun and vibrant in colour. Because, let's face it, we're not living in rainy Britain and it's 2017.

Double Rainbouu - a remake on the classic Hawaiian shirt

Elvis Presley in a Hawaiian shirt for Blue Hawaii

80's heartthrob Tom Selleck in one of his signature Hawaiian shirts.

Watch a video on the traditional making of yuzen silk in a workroom in Kyoto. Kimono silk was the original use in the making of Hawaiian shirts. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Groucho Marx On Dick Cavett - A Truly Wonderful Experience

I cannot say I immediately warmed to Groucho Marx the first time I watched a Marx Brothers film, which I believe was Duck Soup. Like other great comedians, in which I include Woody Allen, Sasha Cohen, Ricky Gervais and Larry David, in order for them to get a certain reaction from an audience they often do things which make you very uncomfortable or in the very least they are cringe worthy.

Of all these great comedians I mention, many are easy to get to know outside of their entertainment because they would give interviews from time to time but Groucho Marx was from a different era and I don't think I had ever bothered to search for interviews where he was present.

However, recently, in trying to find a biography that I could read on him and the Marx brothers, I stumbled upon this celebrated interview he conducted with television host Dick Cavett in 1969. It is the first portrait of Marx I have outside of his on-screen character and one I wish to share with our readers if you have a spare hour.

Marx was born in 1890 so this interview makes him 79 years of age and really, he is so sharp and so on the ball, a truly great comic mind and such a delight to see him in colour.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Diamond Point Always Bodes Well For The International Groom

It's lovely to see our bow ties turn up in all sorts of places and when we were tagged last night at a wedding in Lake Como, Italy (which is a stones throw from where a portion of our silks are woven),  I had a rather big smile on my face. To think that around ten years ago I walked through the streets of Como trying to find out how silk was made and writing a blog post about it, to now seeing my products being worn in Como for weddings, still made in Australia, well that was worth smiling about.

Congratulations to the bride and groom and remember, a diamond point bow tie is very easy to tie and stows very easily in your pocket. The perfect sort of bow tie to take travelling, especially if you are carrying a few of them for yourself and your wedding party, and very easy to tie. 

Many Thanks Alexander Kraft

The CEO of Sotheby's International Realtor in France is also considered one of the 50 most rakish men alive according to The Rake Magazine. Wherever Alexander Kraft goes he takes a fair bit of euro-chic with him and certainly he has been on our radar for many years and he was also the feature model for Cifonelli who we interviewed some time back in 2016 when they were launching their RTW line. 

It was a pleasure to see our eye shades pop up the other week in his instagram feed along with a super pair of Stefano Bemer tasselled slippers. 

If you don't already follow Alexander, perhaps consider watching what he is up to here

I'm Getting Older So I Don't Like Skinny Ties Anymore

Recently I picked up some glorious ties from Tie Deals and I knew exactly what I was looking for. In my late 20's I was still playing around with 'fashion' - that is, I was just slim enough to try and wear a skinny neck tie or slide myself into Christian Dior jeans or a tapered YSL jacket. That was around 2007, just before the world economy tanked and I got rid of my credit cards.

These days I am less liberal with my money and, being an internet shopper just like most of my blog readers and website customers, I really only go in for the kill when I see something that's particularly stand out, as is the case below with both the Borrelli and Marinella ties, both from Neapolitan makers.

I would say I buy ties rarely and reluctantly - in many respects because we make great ties and in others because the only time I'd need a tie I couldn't make myself is where I don't produce that particular fabric.

And these two are exactly that. Two printed silk twill ties, one which is a classic navy with white polka dots, the other a wonderful contrast tie for a navy silk in a kind of latte/cream ground with blue floral geometric motif.

Both houses are famed for ties but perhaps Marinella more so. The stories that I hear surrounding Marinella have been few, some of which are that Drakes of London used to make their ties, that the silk is sourced from England and that each year when new ties were released at Christmas there would be a line running down and around the street. Of Borrelli I have heard less, but I am aware of the quality that they are renowned for and having owned a Borrelli shirt many years ago I would agree.

The other reason, apart from the look of the ties, is that I am now chasing a wider tie for the breadth of my chest and shoulders, given that, as I am ageing, I have steadily put on more and more flesh in my torso, not necessarily fat, but size. And that size doesn't seem to be decreasing, so a smaller tie is beginning to look ridiculous on me. 

I had always laughed when I picked up my father's old ties that were 9.5 and 10cm - but it seems we have come full circle, with my recent acquisitions being 8.5cm and 9.5 respectively. 

Both the presentation and make of these ties is impeccable but if I had to fault them I would say this. Silk twill is very light, especially in some ties like the Borrelli pictured below. In order to give the tie balance and weight, a heavy interlining is usually sourced to bring more body to the otherwise flimsy twill. However, sometimes this creates a less than ideal handle, where the weight of the interlining is overpowering on the tie because it is being used to keep the tie together, like a very heavy anchor. The Marinella tie was also superb but the silk seemed very slippery to touch and you can feel when you grab a silk twill tie, almost immediately, as to whether it will knot well or be sliding all over the place. I will knot it a few times over the weekend but certainly the balance between the interlining and the silk was perhaps superior to the Borrelli tie. 

I love both ties, I am sure I will keep them for years, but there is something to be said for woven silk jacquards over printed silk twills - one is not necessarily better than the other, but on jacquards you really can rely on the body of the fabric to make the tie and it's handle, not relying on interlining to build up the body. Whereas finding the right interlining and ensuring the silk has the correct handle and feel is so important to a printed silk twill tie. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Finally - Some Charismatic Leadership In Australian Politics

So far as folklore goes, nobody in Australia seems to have more than Kerry Packer and Ned Kelly. With regards to Packer, one of the things he once said which has become part of his folklore is "I'd never want to get between Malcolm Turnbull and a bag of money". Probably this comment was not that Malcolm Turnbull was money hungry as much as it was that Turnbull seemed a worthy adversary for Packer with a carefully sharp legal grounded mind and the ability to go hard and cruel if needs be to protect his interests.

Fast forward to 2017 and mostly all we've ever seen is Malcolm In The Middle, Malcolm back peddling, Malcom compromising, Malcolm constantly trying to justify himself, Malcolm trying to be very careful with his words, Malcolm always trying to carry his QiGong with him to present himself as calm and relaxed, even under intense fire. Even when Malcolm was right (mobile phone technology and data services would eventually outstrip the need for NBN so we were better off with fibre to the node to save money), everybody still threw rocks at him.

Then on Sunday night I watched Laurie Oakes, that masterful political commentator who has been with us for so long and through so much, prodded Turnbull in a manner which resembled someone getting right under Turnbull's nostrils with a knitting needle and jabbing it very hard up his nose. Turnbull tried so hard to be careful with his words but you could see he might have, if he'd indulged himself, said something like "listen here Laurie you fat fuck, what have you ever done with your life" - but he didn't. There was Malcolm smiling, holding back his grimace, his forehead showing deep furrows of a man who was getting hammered day in day out. Today it was that Sean Spicer didn't even know how to pronounce his name (#Trunbull), the following day Cory Bernardi was trying to run off with a portion of his party.

Then on Wednesday something changed. Malcolm Turnbull finally - most probably because he was with his back so hard up against the wall - snapped. And he stopped trying to be the composed and unruffled Malcolm and instead he got up and pulled out his acerbic tongue and lashed it at the Opposition leader Bill Shorten. What he said was rough and mean spirited but it was, possibly for the first time in his political life, that we finally got to meet Malcolm Turnbull. The fighter. The man who won't lie down taking it forever. The guy who had been pushed around and maligned as Mr. Harbourside Mansion for too long and without any real retribution. And what came back was frighteningly real and possibly the first glimpse of what Kerry Packer was afraid of. A sharp mind chomping through Bill Shorten like a Great White Shark taking out a seal. Because the truth was that Shorten wasn't 'one of the people' and he wasn't 'for the people' either, his insincere speech after he knifed Julia Gillard was the thing that gave it away from my perspective. And these politicians think the people are stupid, but the average Joe like me isn't that dumb and can sniff out when someone is not honest with themselves or with others.

Most importantly, it was a genuine shellacing that came from Turnbull and what Bill Shorten lacked, was that he was disingenuous, even when he was delivering his smarmy and dull repeated insult of Mr. Harbourside Mansion. So Malcolm spoke the truth, even though it was a nasty one - and boy will that go down in history as one of the most animal like attacks in parliament, Keating-esque in its delivery, but very Turnbull in its ferocity.

Maybe that is what Australia needs more than anything - someone who speaks his mind and isn't always trying to kowtow to their party, someone that isn't going to be insulted every day because he made money in business - and no, I don't support Donald Trump!

I am not entirely for Malcolm Turnbull - but for the first time I was happy to see him be himself and hopefully he will harness more of that feeling - that he has nothing to fear or lose. If his party knocks him off his perch, so be it. At least he won't die on his knees.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gold Boxes For All Bows Ordered This Weekend

To further entice you to indulge in the Dutch Auction Sale we are offering our limited edition gold boxes on all bows ordered this weekend ending Sunday 5th February. Just a nice little additional touch, and certainly a lovely way to send a gift. Shop the codes live now on the website. 

A Reminder - We Close Out The Sale Shortly

This Dutch Auction has probably been the least successful of all that we've held and it is a great wonder to me since we are offering some of the best products we've ever made. Whether it's Donald Trump and the state of the world right now or that it might be a changing of seasons, too hot Down Under, too cold up North, time will tell. But right now, all I see is great product that nobody is claiming. Hopefully some of you will stop past the Dutch Auction Sale, otherwise, you are welcome to come pay retail at our Sydney Studio. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Silk Eye Shades - Quite The Turn On For Valentine's Day

Someone recently asked me "when you do you wear your eye shades?" and I think he was asking it suggesting that it was something of a novelty never-to-be-used but very ornamental kind of product. As if the next barbed question was "sell many of them?" . 

I responded in earnest "I use them every day" and I really do. I wear them when I meditate, I wear them to avoid sometimes the annoying lights from mobile phones and charging cables and docks and radio alarms. I use them whenever I just needs "lights out" and, music to my ears, the customers that have bought them feel the same. One customer who bought six pairs at Christmas gave them to a celebrity Sydney couple and when I saw him recently he said that they thanked him for the gift and use them..... every day. Especially the wife, who apparently fell in love with them from day one.

You see, unlike most other eye shades, ours are made of woven jacquard silk which encompasses the whole shade. Silk, being a natural protein mono filament derived from silk worms which weave the filament around the cocoon, is made of two proteins, fibroin and serecin. These proteins are very similar to human skin which is why we have such a natural predilection towards silk, its smooth and doesn't irritate our skin. It's why surgeons use it in sewing humans up after surgery.

We then add on the inside a felted wool we get from South Australia which makes this delightful padded wall between the silk that comfortably rests across the nose and eyes and forms the density which means light doesn't penetrate. 

You could wax lyrical all day about them but put simply, they are comfortable, beautiful and functional.

Meditating, sleeping, travelling, siestas, mindfulness and sun bathing - there are no two ways about it, our eye shades are beneficial to all those who own them.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Selection Of Still Lifes To Help Entice You Away From The Doom And Gloom And Help You Focus On Our Sale

For those of our blog readers that work in offices on salaries, I envy you. Apart from the routine jargon and associated games of having to jump up and down when it comes time to assess your KPI's and whatever other bullshit the corporation throws in front of you, I think it would be nice to be able to turn up to an office and know that you specialise in your job, and the guy on the other side of the floor does his. Given that I work on my own, probably the use of the word 'guy' is no longer welcomed in your world and I ought to switch out to 'person'. I envy you. Not always though.

To run a small business is to wear many hats. I am the designer, the cutter, sometimes the seamtress (is there a male equivalent), the janitor, accounts receivable, accounts payable, new business development, the finance director, the chairman, business ethics, IT, human resources and, most importantly, the buck stops with me. 

If I don't meet my deadlines, I have nobody else to blame. If I run late to work there are no excuses, I miss out on sales. If I don't answer my emails I can't blame it on the IT department. This is an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes I will get ten enquiries in one day and drop off 100 units of black stock to one customer, 25 to another and pack and send another 20 to the States. A good day. Then there are days where you just sit and wait and find things to do to pass time because you know that between Donald Trump's first week as President, the Australian Open finals, the rise of nationalism across the globe, Justin Trudeau's attention grabbing headlines, cycling, cricket, parents getting their kids ready to go back to school and about one thousand other tiny little things that are happening in the world right now, people just switch off.

Years ago I watched a superb documentary that showed the way animals responded to drought on the Serengeti in Africa when the rivers ran dry. My favourite was the crocodile, whose response, after millions of years of evolution, was to slow his heart beat right down, crawl into a patch of moist mud and do nothing but wait for the rain. If water is the bringer of life to all nature then cash is the bringer of all life to business. Without it we are all crocodiles waiting for rain.

And so, pondering on all this yesterday I spent the afternoon trying to take my mind off customers and cash flow and all of that which causes me great anxiety and might well put me into a mental hospital if you took it all to heart. Instead I did something which I've been wanting to do for a long time, still lifes of our bow ties with flowers using silk as a backdrop. 

Last week I attended a Canon workshop at their HQ in Sydney to learn and understand macro lens photography and in doing so I picked up some wonderfully handy tips on how to better shoot out bow ties. I am very happy with the results and the most wonderful thing was that it took my mind off the trials and tribulations of a small business. 

I hope you like them and incidentally they make quite lovely wallpapers for your phone.