Students studying outside the library

Tied and true bow ties

Wofford student creates product to do good

Randall 382

In the summer of 2013, Will Randall ’19 had the idea to make bow ties for his friends and family. Immediately, people were drawn to the handmade ties he crafted with the help of his grandmother, not to mention the affordable prices he offered.

“I think from a construction standpoint, our ties are just as nice as what other high-end brands can produce. Plus, we make them from start to finish. They’re ‘our’ ties,” says Randall, a biology and Spanish major from Greenville, S.C., of his company Tied & True.

That same summer Randall took a service trip that would change his business forever. He traveled to Guatemala, where he worked with the organization Mission Guatemala, which seeks to provide medical care and community aid. It was at this point that Randall realized his business should be about more than making bow ties.

“Wearing a bow tie can give you confidence — and make you look good — but I am more focused on the broader implications of what my business can do,” says Randall. “My business needed motivation, and I found that motivation in Guatemala.”

Today, Randall donates a portion of Tied & True’s proceeds to Mission Guatemala, and he returns each summer to volunteer and to present Mission Guatemala with a check.

Randall also formed a partnership with the Work in Progress program at Chandler Creek Elementary School in Greer, S.C. Every Monday a group of 14 boys meets before school to learn life lessons, build character and practice social skills. Randall spoke with the boys and helped supply each with a bow tie. He believes that wearing the bow ties to their Work in Progress meetings will give them with a sense of confidence and will inspire them to “be excellent” throughout their school day.

When he arrived at Wofford, Randall was quick to get involved in The Space in the Mungo Center, the college’s professional development and entrepreneurial program. He knew the value of his ties, but he needed support to grow his idea into a full-fledged business. During his first year, Randall developed a brand and marketing strategy through The Space. He adjusted his retail prices and formed a limited liability company. Within the next year he hopes to develop a fully functioning online retail store that will allow users to purchase Tied & True bow ties from anywhere in the country.

Still, the greater good remains at the heart of his business. They’re “bow ties for a cause” he says.

“I’m thankful to be able to connect with local and international community organizations,” says Randall. “If The Space hadn’t helped me dream what this could be, I never would have realized the impact I could have.”

by Andrew James Levin, Wofford Class of 2016