Fat vs. skinny: Entrepreneur makes old neckties trendy


(CBS News) In 1995, men bought a record $1.3 billion worth of neckties, and sales have been falling ever since, but if you don't buy new ties, the ones you have will soon be out of date. Now, it's all about skinny: skinny shirts, skinny jeans and skinny ties.

CBS News' Terrell Brown met the man behind the company SkinnyFatTies, who says that he can take any old, wide tie and make it fashionable.

Joshua Adam Brueckner has tied his livelihood to neckties. It started as a necessity. After losing his job last July, he was out of money and had a closet full of clothes too old to wear on interviews.

"And then I found a big box of neckties in my closet," he said, "and they were, you know, they were just too wide to wear."

Brueckner began to refashion his old-fashioned, wide ties into skinny ties. He watched videos online and taught himself how to tailor. He opened a business online, receiving old ties from customers through the mail.

Bruekner began branding his new company, SkinnyFatTies, on social media. By posting before and after pictures and directing people to his website, he became the buzz of fashion bloggers.

He told Brown the hardest part of business right now is keeping up with everyone that wants him to reinvent their ties because he doesn't have anyone working for him. Brueckner often spends his days working from 9 a.m. to midnight, six to seven days a week. It takes about two hours to re-make a tie, and they're shipped back within 10 business days.

He's seen sales triple in just one year. Working out of a shared workspace, Brueckner has customers from as far away as London, Australia and Japan.

The tailor told Brown that while he lives in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood, the biggest surprise to him was that his main customers aren't hipsters.

"That is probably the biggest shock to me," he said. "They're the real estate agents or the attorneys and sometimes teachers."

For Terrell Brown's full report, watch the video in the player above.