On March 26, 2011, Judy Hill of High Cotton Ties brought an assortment of bow ties and cummerbunds from her spring collection for a trunk show at Brittons hosted from 11-6. High Cotton Ties offers washable, 100% cotton bow ties and cummerbunds hand-made in North Carolina. Hill celebrated her 1 year anniversary that same day, marking a momentous year for the bright, new company that supports the revival of North Carolina’s textile industry by choosing to hand-cut and hand-sew their products locally.
The idea for the business came to Hill after she made her eldest son four bow ties to take back with him to school. Unable to find a suitable silk, Hill, a seamstress since childhood, opted to use cotton. After the bow ties' debut, Hill received feedback that led her to believe she was on to something, and she was right.
Hill is pictured here with Todd Young, a sophomore at USC and member of Beta Theta Phi, in search of a bow tie and cummerbund for upcoming fraternity functions.
The company focuses on "classic southern mainstays" like tattersalls, ginghams, and madras plaids. Judy stands true to the company mission that, “Now more so than ever, consumers require more out of their products, which is why we offer washable products produced from some of the finest cotton fabrics available, as we feel it speaks to our cost-effectiveness and durability. Simply put, we not only trust that you will fall in love with our bow ties and cummerbunds, but we also expect them to become a long standing member of your wardrobe.”
High Cotton Ties works with a motto of C’s – ‘cotton, comfortable, clean, classic, and custom-made’. The easy-to-wear and easy-to-wash ties, as they've been tested many times through home-based stain washing, have customers raving about the wearability of the products, as they maintain professionalism without pretentiousness.
"Bow ties should be a regular part of a gentleman’s wardrobe, not simply reserved for formal events," said Hill in a press release. "By avoiding novelties and embracing traditional patterns, we create our bow ties with the expectation that they will be worn often and be admired just as frequently."
High Cotton Ties has already been picked up by a number of the South’s finest men’s stores and has launched campus campaigns at universities in the southeast who are setting up trunk shows and making regular appearances at football games and campus wide events.
Hill works with her son, James, a recent graduate of UNC’s entrepreneurship program who has always wanted the opportunity to help a start-up business grow. High Cotton Ties represents a greater social mission he believes all businesses must have in order to succeed. “Too often business seemed to be ‘all talk’ to me. I kept hearing that it was difficult for business owners to sleep at night, and knowing that I wanted to be a part of a start-up down the road, I knew the value of delivering a genuine product through a genuine process. If nothing else, when I do get a chance to sleep, I plan on doing so comfortably knowing that we've done everything in our power to stay true to the mission we've set out to accomplish.”
With High Cotton Ties, a family feel resonates when you hear their story. Maybe it is because of the way their company grew straight from the traditions their household kept, or perhaps it is from the way they have decided to do business, but either way, every customer seems to become a part of the High Cotton Ties family the moment they tie one around their neck. Customers are encouraged to post pictures where they ‘have been spotted wearing a
HCT tie!’ and when you contact High Cotton Ties, you can rest easy knowing that you will be talking directly to Judy or James, the way they believe customer service should be handled.
Products are always available for custom order, including the option to monogram the material for an even more personal touch. Another unique service High Cotton Ties provides is the conversion of vintage pieces. If a customer has a special cotton shirt or pair of shorts that they cannot bear to part with, High Cotton Ties will use the fabric to make a new tie or cummerbund to reinvent the beloved piece.