Turns out finding and securing suppliers in an industry dominated by massive players with economies of scale is not so easy. For most of the past few decades, the name of the game in the tie industry has been industrial consolidation, with the explicit purpose of mass producing the minimum acceptable product that could still bring hefty premiums (one company, Phillips-Van Hausen holds 50 percent of the U.S. market). As with many other industries, material production and assembly have largely moved overseas, cutting off smaller tie-makers' ability to source in smaller batches from U.S. factories. Thus, it’s quite difficult to find companies that will produce high quality products for the little guy. This has certainly been our experience.
While we've tried to source all materials from the U.S., fabric production for ties just isn't done here anymore. We've looked everywhere (but if we are wrong and you seriously know of anyone that does produce State-side, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org). After several weeks of research, we identified a fabric producer in Shengzhou (which somehow is like the tie production capital of the world) that is willing to weave, digitally print, and screenprint in smaller batches using modern equipment (better for the environment). Since there are still several excellent cut/make/trim (CMT) shops here in the States--those are the companies that actually cut the fabric and assemble the ties--we've chosen a very well-regarded, family-owned business. But, to find the few shops that were even willing to work with us in such small batch sizes, we spent hours of research staring at a computer screen and cold calling companies across the States and overseas. Not so fun. Not so glamorous. But, it's all part of the experience, and in the end, it makes finding that those few fantastic suppliers all that much sweeter.