Debra D. Bass
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) St. Louis entrepreneur Jennifer Hill shares her journey starting and growing “Lonesome Traveler Brand” which produces unique wedding ties and bow ties for men who don’t normally wear them.
Having always liked menswear, starting a niche neckwear business was “a no-brainer for me,” said St. Louis-area resident Jennifer Hill, whose Lonesome Traveler brand consists of handmade unisex neckwear and accessories.
Hill, who is married and has a son, loves wearing her products, which range in price from $24-$62 and are sold at a few retail locations and online.
The brand launched at a time when both men and women were looking for items that felt both retro and modern. Her biggest business is wedding ties and bow ties for men who don’t normally wear ties.
“I think it just strikes a balance that feels formal” but not stuffy because the items tend to look just as good with a navy or cream suit as they do with a hoodie and jeans, Hill said.
She does custom wedding ties but otherwise produces limited-edition items for clients who want something distinctive.
-Sew young: “I learned to sew at 7 or 8. I was hand-stitching garments and then as I got older I think I saved some bat mitzvah money and bought a sewing machine,” said Hill, 35. It was pre-YouTube, so “I had to follow a sewing manual. No one in my family can sew. Mom can’t even sew on a button.” She said it was a “really basic Singer sewing machine” that costs about $120. “It was the biggest purchase I’d ever made in high school,” said Hill, who used that machine for years, took it to college and even used it at the very start of her business. In school she made handbags and a wrap skirt, but by the time she attended fashion classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, she was thinking a little more “business minded.”