Carbon Cravat - The Bow Tie Made From Rockets
Building a rocket requires the highest quality carbon fiber, and lots of it. But as aerospace companies shape and mold this advanced material, thousands of pounds of it are simply discarded as scrap. Far from regular consumer-grade carbon fiber, this material has unparalleled strength and durability, meant not for decorative car panels but important structural components on rockets headed to space.
That’s why, in 2015, Ryan Olliges founded the company 121c, hoping to remanufacture this post-rocket carbon fiber and to save precious aerospace-grade material from the landfill. Now, 121c has paired with Crooked Branch Studio, manufacturer and retailer of handcrafted wooden bow ties, to bring carbon fiber bow ties to the mass market with unprecedented quality and attention to detail.
In the process, we developed two prototypes, subtle variations in manufacturing techniques that lead to dramatically different looking products. The first one is:
The Original Tie
It all started with Original tie, which is crafted out of a flat sheet of carbon fiber. After being compressed and cured in an industrial hot press, the sheet is precision cut by a water jet and hand finished. This process gives the tie a glassy, mirror-like surface, a product of the high-polish presses used to compress the carbon fiber. It also ensures that the tie reflects light differently depending on the angle (the top photo is it straight-on while the bottom is when the fibers catch the light).
The flat tie possesses the distinctive ‘basket weave’ carbon fiber look found in high-end cars and electronics, a perfectly uniform intricate layering of carbon fiber threads into a single, fabric-like sheet. It’s a perfect gift for any space or automotive nerd, turning boring formal wear into a fun conversation starter.
However, in addition to the Original tie, we also developed:
The Contour Tie
The Contour tie is an alternate to the Original tie that has been surface-machined to a smooth, three-dimensional contour. We created this product because we recognize that many customers love the three-dimensional look of classic, fabric bow ties (and the contour found on our wooden bow ties). The contouring process machines the many layers of carbon fiber that make up the material, leaving a silky-smooth satin finish and giving the tie a smooth curve from top to bottom.
In the process, the machining process creates a flowing, interlocking look that gives the impression the material is moving (don’t worry, it’s not, the carbon fiber is rock solid and will not flake). This tie works great for both formal and casual outfits with a carbon fiber pattern that you will not find anywhere else, let alone in a bow tie.
All of our neck straps, as well as our center fabrics, are machine sewn in the USA, then attached to their powder-coated black clasps. The entire assembly is securely wrapped around the tie and secured with the high-strength epoxy JB Weld. Over the thousands of wooden bow ties we’ve shipped over the past couple years, we’ve never had one break, and we stand by their integrity with a full warranty on manufacturing defects.
Each individual bow tie comes packaged in a custom box made specifically for our design. This allows it to be stored and displayed safely (because we KNOW you are going to be showing it off).
After years of designing and perfecting the contours of our wooden bow ties, we're well acquainted with the techniques needed to construct a contoured bow tie.
November 9th - Launch campaign
November 12th - First test production run
(once we break through our goal we can secure a line of credit for our initial runs)
November 20th - Second production run
December 1st - End campaign
December 4th - Final production run
December 8th - Assemble and ship international Christmas delivery orders
December 18th - Ship final orders before USPS domestic Christmas shipping deadline
Late December/Early January - Ship out non-Christmas orders
Although we get our carbon fiber material for a great price through recycling it from aerospace firms, carbon fiber is nonetheless an incredibly expensive material and requires large purchasing contracts from these companies. Additionally, the costs associated with setting up the production machinery and workflows for this product require a lot of capital which we will only be able to secure through crowdfunding like on Kickstarter. We’re committed to doing this process right and are thus relying on your support to get the ball rolling.
Risks and challenges
With over 6 years selling handcrafted goods, a successful Kickstarter, and more than two thousand wooden bowties sold to date, Crooked Branch Studio has experience bringing high quality products to market and providing an incredible customer support. In fact, over the course of our four years on the Etsy marketplace, we have retained a perfect 5-star rating over the course of 140+ reviews.
On the carbon fiber side, 121c has had spent years perfecting their carbon fiber press technology, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in their Kickstarter campaigns and continually pushing the limits of what is possible with carbon fiber technology.
While this production process will no doubt be difficult, we believe that our experience and passion for the project will allow us to overcome almost all of the challenges in the campaign. If we find a challenge we can’t surmount, we’re committed to complete transparency and fairness, even if that means returning campaign money.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)