K-Knots Bowties

Emily Inverso

Folded and knotted and looped all around, turn down the collar, a bowtie is found.Since he was 17, Kevin Bouknight has run his own custom bowtie business, a word-of-mouth venture existing for the past two years.Bouknight, a sophomore human development and family studies major, said the idea for K-Knots Bowties came to him because of his aunt.“My aunt was in town, and she’s a seamstress,” he said. “We were going out and I wanted to wear a bowtie, but I didn’t have anything to go with my outfit. She folded a handkerchief into one while I watched her, and from then on I started making bowties.”At first, Bouknight only made the ties for himself. When patrons of his church began asking where he found them, though, he started to sell his bowties for $5 each.It’s all in how the fabric is folded, Bouknight said. Once it is folded, he chooses another piece for the middle of the bowtie, and hand-sews the two together. A string or ribbon is attached to tie around the neck. Each fabric is customizable, choices the customers make with Bouknight.“My bowtie is black with white polka dots, and the middle is white with black dots,” said Aaron Radcliff, a junior justice studies major and customer of Bouknight. “Kevin had a business state of mind to accommodate me and a fashion state of mind to accomplish anything.”The process of making a bowtie takes five to 10 minutes, and Bouknight said any profit he makes from them goes into a savings account. Although he is not a fashion major, he said working with GQ magazine is the dream job he is too scared to pursue.“Maybe if that bank account balance gets high enough I can use the money to open a shop,” Bouknight said. “If the opportunity is given to me, I’ll pursue it.”He recently began to expand his designs, including dresses, headbands, purses and other accessories in the shape of bowties. This was a move he had not really considered, he said, until a friend suggested Bouknight design for the Homecoming fashion show.“I thought it would be really perfect for Kevin to have his own scene in the Fall into Fashion show,” said Nadja Cook, a junior nursing major. “He’s fashion forward and really went crazy with it, making 12 pieces for the show in just a couple days.”Although Bouknight has not sold any of these new accessories, he said that might soon change.“I fall into temptation,” he said. “If my friends keep talking about selling my new accessories, I’ll probably start selling them.”Along with that possible venture, Bouknight is in the process of launching a website. Customers can currently talk with him by phone, e-mail or Facebook, but he said he hopes a website will add to the more than 200 bowties he has sold thus far.“It takes courage to feel comfortable with selling your items,” Bouknight said. “Once you have that, you want to be professional, so you make business cards. You push yourself and sell yourself, staying positive and as trustworthy as much as possible. It’s really working well for me.”

Contact Emily Inverso at [email protected].