When Bradley Myers decided that buying certain accessories to his business wardrobe were going to mount up the expenses, he decided that making those items would be more cost-effective.
So Bradley, the mastermind behind Hattiesburg’s Professional Beard Oil, called out to the Mother of Invention again. He had already designed the beard oil after growing out his beard to win a local contest – and a trip to Boston – so this was just the next logical step for Myers.
With money he made from the sale of the beard oil, Myers bought a sewing machine, went to YouTube for sewing lessons and now is making his own assortment of ties, bowties and pocket squares.
“Everything has been made out of necessity,” he said. “I work at Hattiesburg Clinic, where I am a nurse practitioner in oncology. I like to look professional, I like to dress nice and I wear a tie every day. Well, I was spending $50, $60, $70 on ties. One day I thought to myself as I was looking at them, ‘I’m pretty sure I can make this.’ I had never tried before, so on a whim I used some money from my beard oil company and bought a sewing machine. I started making these ties for $4-$5, the cost of the fabric.”
As far as his training goes, the Internet was Myers’ go-to.
“Nowadays, you can literally learn anything off of YouTube, literally,” he said. “I learned how to thread my sewing machine off YouTube and I learned how to change needles.”
Ironically, one of Myers’ major productions doesn’t have the same value for him.
“While I said I make things out of necessity, the bowties are the only things that I can’t wear because of my beard,” he said. “You can’t see (the bowtie) because of my beard. I actually cut seven inches off of my beard and you still can’t see one; that’s OK.
“A friend of mine messaged me, asking if I would make a bowtie for her dad. It turns out her dad is a physician that I worked with that I extremely admire. As soon as I found out he was her dad, I told her that I was absolutely going to make her one. At the time, I didn’t know how to make one, but I found out and I made one. I actually made him three. Out of everything I make, the most fun is a bowtie. Not too people wear them, so when I find out people wear one, you’re going to get one.”
Myers has since improved on his original bowtie design.
“In the beginning when anyone wanted a bowtie, I had to know what size they needed and measure it out,” he said. “Now I can put four buttonholes on one side and a button on the other side. Regardless of what neck measure you are, it will fit.”
Of course, getting the sewing machine and learning how to use it were crucial for Myers.
“A friend of mine, Staci Cox, started sewing about the same time I did,” he said. “Staci sewed herself a pair of yoga pants and I was just blown away. They looked amazing; I couldn’t believe she did it. So I bought a pattern and decided to try and do it. I knew my wife could use a pair of yoga pants. They turned out great, but they didn’t turn out as good as Staci’s. You have to do a lot of handsewing without a sewing machine.”
As far as selling his ties and bowties, Myers is hesitant to venture into the business side.
“I actually haven’t sold a single one yet,” he said. “I give them away to people that I know would use them. If I find out that anybody wears a bowtie, I’m going to make you a bowtie.
“When I hear people talk about my trying to sell my ties, I take a lot of pride in my work. If something’s just not spot-on impeccable, I feel bad about selling it to anybody. I’ve only had my sewing machine for only about four months now. I’ve learned a lot from my sewing. I’ll make a tie and I’ll say, ‘Oh, I can fix this.’ The next time that I make it, I can find something else to change. If I do ever decide to sell them, you’ll know that I think they’re perfect to that point.”
For Myers, the ultimate satisfaction of completing an item is the reward.
“Now it’s just fun,” he said. “I get to go to work, go to the gym, come home, cook supper and sew. It’s a huge stress relief and it’s fun.”
However, Myers must start a different line of clothes now.
“Everything has been made from necessity; the bombshell is that we are now pregnant,” he said. “So I am about to venture into making baby clothes. We are not only pregnant, but pregnant with twins. That’s a whole new world. I can start making burp cloths, onesies and other clothes.
“I made a onesy for my side of the family and a onesy for her side of the family when we got a positive pregnancy test. The onesy took forever; I had never made one before. They turned out really well, but it took about six hours to make.”
Myers said he is fortunate that his hobbies have been productive.
“Hobbies are extremely important, to your physical health and your mental health,” he said. “I saw something the other day that said you should have three hobbies: one that keeps you healthy, one that makes you money and one that makes you happy.”