Eldred Grove interviews Ellie founder of The Cordial Churchman, makers of fine bow ties and accessories
A while ago I was contacted by Ellie of the Cordial Churchman. She had spotted me on Instagram wearing a bow tie, and got in touch about her business and incredible range of bow ties. Before long I was sporting a beautiful floral bow tie of theirs made from Liberty of London print which I proudly sported for a shoot for the London College of Fashion. With that said, allow me to introduce you.
When did The Cordial Churchman start?
In June of 2009, I made a bow tie for my husband, Andy out of some leftover seersucker, a popular fabric here in the South, it turned out pretty nice and we started offering them through my blog at the time and to our surprise, they actually sold! We made seersucker and madras bow ties throughout that summer and in the fall we transitioned into velvets, wools, and silks and it’s been going strong ever since.
What was the inspiration for the business?
We were really inspired by the traditional and prep clothing styles we were seeing mostly online but also here in South Carolina. Mostly though, we used our customers as a gauge to help us know what to do next. Since we custom make almost everything, we are able to take requests from gentlemen who order from us. Once we get enough requests of the same thing we think – we should offer that product all the time. It works pretty well for us.
It started with me (Ellie) doing most of the legwork of the sewing, designing and marketing. Andy, my husband has been a great collaborator in this process though. I’m always bouncing ideas off of him. Andy has also been mostly the “face” of the business – even modelling each of the products we’d post online before we started buying mannequins and hiring models. We started hiring sewers in the first 6 months when we realized a hobby had turned into a viable business. Now we have 7 employees and we pride ourselves on trying to provide excellent customer service and personal touch with handwritten notes and quick responses to questions posted through e-mail and online.Who are the main players in the business?
Where is The Cordial Churchman Based?
We are in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We have a great workroom here on Main Street of our downtown. It’s a smaller town with a thriving art culture.
What makes you tick?
There’s plenty of things that make me tick….. but sartorially, It’s really hard for me to focus when I see a gentleman who has the bottom button of his waistcoat or blazer buttoned. In all we do, we strive to be truly Cordial and hope to inspire others to be cordial as well. A gentleman should dress and act in a way that sets others at ease and that’s what we try to do and encourage.
What are you most proud of?
When I first started sewing the bow ties, I thought I’d mastered the skill. What amazed me is that when I started teaching our seamstresses, they would catch on so well that they were actually making them better than I was. As a teacher, it was a real thrill to see our sewers grow to such experts. As a the business owner, I was glad to know that I would be able to offer a quality well made product that was made with such precision and care.
What do you take inspiration from?
I’m mostly inspired by fabric – the color of the threads and texture of the weave. But I draw inspiration from everwhere such as perusing the clothing at a local thrift store, travelling to larger cities, pictures on tumblr or instagram of stylish gentlemen, an abstract painting, a vintage print, the color of someone’s eyes, a book about vintage clothing.
What’s your favourite material to work with?
I love a good wool tweed!
Due you attend any shows with your products?
Only shows here in South Carolina and the surrounding states, but I’m open it.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I’ve never been good at this planning thing. If you’d asked me 5 years ago where I’d be, I’d never have imagined this. We love making the bow ties and I hope we can continue to do that as long as possible, but it would be fun to move into making other products as well.
I just hope that in 5 years, we’ve inspired many people to be a bit more cordial in the way they dress, speak and act.
Huge thanks to Ellie and the team at The Cordial Churchman for taking the time to speak to me and share their products. I wish them the very best of luck with their continued success and look forward to more products popping up on their site and their Instagram feed.
Find The Cordial Churchman
THANKS FOR READING!