During the ESPN broadcast of the BCS National Championship Jan. 9, Auburn University football head coach Gene Chizik, a guest commentator, drew heat from Alabama fans nationwide for his choice of a gold tie similar to colors of the Tide’s opponent, LSU.
While Chizik defended the color choice as a “good look,” he could have rubbed it in even more by changing into different colored ties during each commercial break — say a purple, navy or burnt orange tie — had he only been a member of TieTry.com.
TieTry.com, a business built off the Netflix model, is the brainchild of 2003 Auburn graduates Scott Tindle and David Powers. It allows subscribers the opportunity to “borrow” ties just as Netflix allows users to borrow movies.
After watching an episode of ABC’s show “Shark Tank,” in which a panel of wealthy celebrities and entrepreneurs negotiate investment deals with budding entrepreneurs, Tindle and Powers were inspired by one contestant, who applied the Netflix model to children’s toys.
After throwing around several ideas, Tindle and Powers settled on ties. Both are attorneys and each must wear ties at least four days a week.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m tired of wearing the same ties everyday,’” Tindle said. “So, let’s see if we can actually pull this off.”
After a year of planning and working on the business model, Tindle and Powers finally launched TieTry.com last week, and Tindle said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The response has also been fueled by an ironic twist of fate that occurred at almost the exact same time as the launching of the website.
During a recent episode of FX’s hit show “The League,” character Taco MacArthur, played by Jon Lajoie, jokingly brainstormed the idea of a rental tie business called “Neckflix.”
“(Taco’s) obviously a smart guy,” Tindle said with a laugh. “We wish our site would have gone live right before the show, but we’re happy either way.
“We think it’s a win-win all the way around,” he added.
Prices for TieTry.com range from $11.99 per month for one tie at a time to $29.99 per month for five ties at a time.
“Basically, for 25 bucks a month, you could never wear the same tie again,” Tindle said.
Tindle said the business currently has an inventory of approximately 200 different styles of ties, ranging from traditional neckties to bowties.
The business works just like Netflix in that a customer goes online, selects the plan they would like, chooses the tie(s) they would like and TieTry.com immediately ships the selected tie(s).
Customers are allowed to keep the ties as long as they would like, or they can go online to set a queue of future ties they would like to try.
Once TieTry.com receives the returned ties, the customer’s queued ties are immediately sent out.
All ties are inspected upon return, treated for spots/stains, sanitized and returned to inventory. Any tie that doesn’t meet inspection requirements is thrown out and the customer is charged a replacement fee.
“We’ll never send you a tie that I wouldn’t wear in front of a client,” Tindle said.
Following the 1988 Sugar Bowl, in which Auburn rallied to tie Syracuse 16-16 on a Win Lyle field goal instead of going for the touchdown and the win, a Syracuse radio host sent Tigers’ head coach Pat Dye thousands of neckties in protest of the coach’s decision to go for the tie.
In response, Dye signed and auctioned off each tie, raising more than $30,000 for Auburn’s general scholarship fund.
Tindle hopes his business will soon have the same success as Dye did with his ties.
“Maybe we can get (Dye) to be our spokesman,” Tindle said with a laugh.
TWER readers who would like to try TieTry.com will receive a 50 percent discount on the first month by entering promo code TWER.
Austin Phillips is an adjunct journalism instructor in the Auburn University Dept. of Communication and Journalism. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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