Young guys don’t wear ties, but Randa is hoping to change that.
This story first appeared in the September 14, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In a move designed to appeal to the Millennial customer, the New York-based accessories brand has created a tie with a stretch panel that will be introduced at retail next month.
Judy Person, executive vice president and group president of Randa, said the company has been in the neckwear business for more than 100 years, and in that time, the innovations in the category have been few and far between.
That, coupled with the trend away from traditional business attire and toward ath-leisure, has cut into neckwear sales.
So the company embarked on extensive consumer research to figure out why. The number-one complaint about neckwear is that it’s not comfortable, according to 56 percent of respondents, said Heath Golden, Randa’s president of neckwear and jewelry. The second-biggest complaint, with 33 percent, is that ties make the wearer look stiff.
“Stretch is happening everywhere today,” Person said, “and if you have a dress shirt with a collar that stretches, it doesn’t mean anything if the tie doesn’t. So we created the first stretch tie.”
Randa’s patent-pending technology, InteliStretch, offers an elastic panel built into the back of the tie that hides underneath the collar of the shirt. It allows the wearer to have the comfort of a loosened tie without looking sloppy.
The first of these ties will be offered in the company’s Countess Mara division in October and sold through the Sprezzabox online subscription service. They will retail for about $4 to $5 more than traditional Countess Mara ties, which sell for $59.50. “We don’t think it’ll be a sales inhibitor,” Golden said.
InteliStretch will then be offered to other Randa customers, including retailers such as Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, which use the company for their private label, as well as other national brands that Randa has as licenses.
The company is also planning to test related stretch technology in belts for holiday. But instead of a panel, the belts themselves will stretch.