Celebrating Veteran Owned Business Week

by Jeremy Priest November 07, 2014

As a veteran business owner (this week is National Veterans Small Business Week), I'm extremely proud to share the story of how Knotty Tie Co. started and evolved, partly from my military experiences. Thank you #myvetbiz for providing the forum to share.


The USS Emory S Land

From 2002-2008, I served as an electronic technician in the Navy. I was deployed in Europe for nearly four of those years; where I repaired equipment for various military units in Europe, West Africa and the Middle East. Through military work and personal travel I gained an immense amount of respect for differences in opinion, richness of culture and the commonalities of humanity from Angola to Dubai. At the time, I was proud of the work our military was doing, I just knew I wanted to help provide economic opportunities to those in need and I wanted to learn more about how the world worked.

As a result, I left the service and went to college in Denver, Colorado to study international business and economics. My academic research focused on expanding economic opportunities, and through a community service project, I soon realized that there were hundreds of refugees and asylees in Colorado who needed my help. Their plight was enormous and resources to support them were minimal. Often, the arriving refugees and asylees lacked english skills or specific credentials to help them find work in the US. Additionally, some had been in a refugee camp for the last decade of their lives, had lost everything they had come to know, including their families and possessions. Thinking of how war brought this pain to them, I felt it was my responsibility as a veteran to help them find meaningful work in their new world.

Despite the loss of life and property, I was humbled by their willingness to forge ahead, restart their lives in an unfamiliar place and do whatever it takes to succeed. I witnessed their struggles first hand and realized there was a better way to help them; especially considering their plethora of skills in farming and sewing. I then pledged my energy towards gathering an impassioned team to create a company that could provide meaningful employment opportunities that coincided with the skills they already possessed. In my mind, this was the least we could do to welcome the world's citizens who could not return home.

And so, in January 2013 I set out with a partner, Mark Johnson, to create Knotty Tie Co. and begin making a difference in my community for those who needed it most.

First we went to Kickstarter and successfully raised money via crowd-funding from backers in more than 40 countries. After a few more months we continued to make progress and won the backing of a local non-profit, Colorado Enterprise Fund, who provided us additional financing to move our vision forward. Then in early 2014, we drew the attention of a local impact investor, Ed Briscoe, who helped us finally realize our vision as we hired on our first resettled refugee team members.

Imad and Bems, Knotty Tie's first manufacturing team employees

 

All this would never have happened had it not been for those 6 difficult years of service that opened my eyes, opened my heart and laid the foundation for a life of service.




Jeremy Priest
Jeremy Priest

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Sizing

Face Masks 

Adult Standard Adult Small
5" x 9"
Fits most male adults.
4.5" x 8"
Fits most women and young adults.

 

Neck Gaiters 

Regular Small
9.5” x 14”
Fits most men and those with larger heads.
8.5" x 14"
Fits most women and kids.

 

Neckties

Widths

Skinny Knotty Classic
2.25" wide 2.75" wide 3.5" wide


Lengths

Standard Long Extra-Long
58" long 62" long 66" long

 
Kids

Youth Self-Tied
52" long
Ages 10+

  

Bow Ties 

Adult Kids Pre-Tied Baby Pre-Tied
Self-tied style
Adjustable for necks 14-18"
Ages 2 and over
Adjustable velcro closure
Ages 2 and under
Adjustable velcro closure