Fashion Cartel Bow Ties
Bow Ties for Every Occasion
In 2014 I bought two bow ties from Fashion Cartel Bow Ties. One was leopard print and the other was navy blue with white polka dots. Those bow ties got me a lot of attention from the ladies (pre-marriage). Even my wife loved the way I would coordinate my outfit with the leopard print design. His business journey is very inspiring and teaches that though we may experience many challenges in pursuing our dreams we must continue to persevere. Check out his interview below!
Note* All pictures were provided by Fashion Cartel Bow Ties.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Frantz. I am of Haitian descent, raised and based in Orlando, FL. I am the co-owner and CEO of Fashion Cartel. I grew up in a single parent house household and watched my mother raise both me and my sister. I struggled during my high school years and have been expelled twice from Orange and Osceola county, and was a victim to gun violence at the age of sixteen. I am now a father, student, and businessman.
How did the idea of Fashion Cartel Bow Ties begin and what were some of the challenges you faced when you first started your business journey?
The idea was born in 2014 when I first made the ultimate decision that I wanted to be my own boss. I just didn’t know how to go about it. We were trying to find different ways to make income. We thought about buying items for cheap and reselling them and stumbled upon bow ties. After receiving them, I took one apart and thought to myself “I can make these” and the rest is history. This entire journey has been self-taught, from making an $80 investment on a Brother sewing machine, to watching YouTube videos on how to make a bow tie and creating my own website. I started off making pre tied bow ties and a client asked if we offer self tie bow ties. At the time, I had no idea what a self tie was because remember I had jumped into a market I had no knowledge of.
Starting my business, I did not have any guidance, a mentor, an investor, or anyone to look up to regarding my vision. In addition to these factors and not growing up with a family with money, these have by far been my biggest challenges. They have always taught me the values of getting a job, going to school, and working hard to make a living for myself and my family but doing it on my own was not thought of as an option. I am a first-generation business owner and you never know how difficult that is until you find the courage to do so.
You shared a story on Instagram about not making sales and having some second thoughts about Fashion Cartel Bow Ties, but through resilience and trusting the process you began to see your business grow right before your eyes. Can you share that experience with us and the lessons you learned from it?
In the beginning of 2017, I found myself homeless. The biggest reason was stepping in my faith and vision to bet on myself. Betting on yourself does not always mean you will win every game. It means that no matter what you go through, you see the end even if no one else does. My sales were slow and I thought to myself, “Have I failed?”. But you have not failed until you quit. That is why those negative feelings quickly faded. I still had people supporting and rooting for me; people I did not even personally know. As cliché as it may sound, I learned that I have to continue learning. Remember, I am betting on myself and it is solely up to me. I also learned when the only way to go is up, then there is no reason to back down. When the only way to go is forward, there is no reason to go backwards. If you have a vision, stick to it and do not let other’s fears affect that… keep pushing.
In our community, lately there have been many discussions about ownership and equity. In your opinion, how important is it for us to create something that can be passed down to the next generation?
Not only am I from a black impoverished community, I was also born into a family of immigrants. We are taught to “go to school, get a good job, and pay your bills”. One thing I have learned in this cycle is that you can’t pass down a job to your children. However, you can pass down land, equity, and companies to your children. This is how you break generational suffering. There is a reason why the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.
What are 5 tips you want to share with those who are interested in starting their own business, but are getting cold feet due to the anxiety of failing?
Tip 1: Do your research. I cannot stress how important this is. You will save yourself a lot of money, time, and headaches. Research your market, how you can make your business more efficient, and marketing.
Tip 2: Find a mentor or someone you look up to in your industry. Having knowledge and advise from someone that has succeeded from where you are starting is a game changer.
Tip 3: When you’re just starting out, be sure to have another source of income. Success does not happen overnight. The last thing you want to have to worry about when starting your business is how you’re going to eat and pay your bills.
Tip 4: Do not let other's opinions and fears scare you from your dream. Being a first generation entrepreneur, I have heard it all from everyone. My family still thinks I’m crazy but I know my vision and where I’m going.
Tip 5: Just start. It is okay to get cold feet and anxiety is normal when starting anything new but the only true way to fail is giving up. Take the leap. You will thank yourself later.
What is your favorite bowtie that you created and why?
A client of mine requested that he wanted a cork pre tied bow tie. This is something I have never made before, but I knew that if I could find cork fabric thats thin enough to use, then I would be able to create a bow tie. The first thing that I could think of when I hear “cork” is when you are pulling one out of a champagne bottle.
What are some of the goals you have for Fashion Cartel Bow Ties for this upcoming year? Also, where do you see Fashion Cartel Bow Ties in the next 5 years?
Honestly, I like to move in silence. I don’t really like sharing the goals for my company until it’s already a go. I will say this, what I am doing has never been done before. 2021 is literally a golden year for myself and Fashion Cartel. I also want to build a team and bring on some new hires. Right now it’s just my wife and I, which is great but I’m ready for that next step to take our business to a new level. We will also be rolling out some new lines and offering different items so look out for that.
Where can we go to purchase bow ties from your business? Also, please share how we can contact you if we have any requests for custom bow ties?
I have a website and an Etsy shop. Also feel free to send a message on Instagram or shoot me an email (email@example.com) with any requests or even you just want to say hi.
What are you most grateful for as the owner of Fashion Cartel Bow Ties?
I am grateful for being blessed with a vision that I was able to bring into reality. This vision will forever change and shift the narrative of my family’s future generations. I have built something that my kids can carry on. I have also realized the importance of having ownership. I am also grateful for the people who have been supporting me since I first started the brand. I remember all their real and/or Instagram names. I refer to them as my day 1 supporters because without their continuous support I would not be where I am today.
Is there anything else you want others to know about your business that I have not already asked?
What do you think of when hear the brand name “Fashion Cartel”? People generally associate cartel with drugs. There is almost always a negative connotation attached to it. But I want you to look at the glass half full, not half empty. Work ethic, reinvesting (re-up), and loyalty are a few of many concepts also associated with the word cartel. Growing up, a lot of the people I associated with or be-friended chose to make a living off illegal activities at one point in time…myself included. I want my people to know you can apply a majority of the same concepts and rules to something legit, to a brand, to yourself. Even if you have never seen it done, you can create your own lane. We’ve all heard the saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough”. You don’t always have to walk by sight. Many times your vision is enough; you just have to believe in it as much as your subconscious does.