Monthly Archives: July 2015

Generally Speaking.

1_ties in a rowI would love to say that I have been on the General Knot & Co. train since they started. Admittedly, I was late to the party. But now that I’m in, I’m never leaving! NEVER!

Ann and Andrew (the owners, I use their first names…no big deal) created a company where their love and creativity show brilliantly in each piece of neck art they create. From the fabrics to the packaging, each piece is an exciting adventure. Like an Indiana Jones movie. Or STAR WARS! Fsshhwuuunnnn…Shwunnnnn….Fuhwnnnnnnnn…Sick sound effects bro! Cough Cough…excuse me.

The ties are made in limited quantity and feature insanely awesome fabrics from around the world, some dating all the way back to the early 1900’s.

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I had a chance to sit down with Anne and Andrew…via email …and asked them a few questions:

Where did the name General Knot & Co. come from?

Andrew: Yep- the name was all Ann! We had been playing around with the overall concept for a while- and even knew the essential look of the logo/font, but didn’t have a name. While getting ready in the morning, I asked her if she had an idea for the name. She took one look in my direction and boom, out it came… General Knot & Co. For some reason, it just went perfectly with what we were planning. 

What pushed you in the direction of Men’s Accessories?

Ann: It was always part of my career before we started this, plus I love putting a man together and seeing his confidence shoot up because he looks good.

Andrew: I’ve always loved ties (even as a child). In fact, my mentor Brian Bubb used to pay me in ties – he made beautiful ties, so I couldn’t have been happier. Combining that with a fascination for vintage fabrics and a lengthy career in men’s design, building a brand around making men’s accessories was the most natural direction to take.

Your customer service is amazing. So, why online and not brick-and-mortar?

Andrew: Firstly, thank you. Coming from a corporate background where we designed loads of products for customers we rarely met, having the opportunity to know our customers now (through social media and local events) is great fun and makes the whole creative process very personal. With that said, brick and mortar is a worthwhile goal that we will hopefully grow into.

Have you ever come across a fabric you loved but couldn’t use? Why couldn’t you use it?

Ann: We have a particular scenic that is from the 1930s which is beautifully printed on what appears to be a light weight linen and it is the entire story of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  We just do not want to take scissors to it and need to find a respectful way of using it.

Andrew: Too many to count! We purchase fabric all the time- whenever we see something we love, but don’t always have an end-use in mind. Sometimes the weight is not right for a tie or the pattern scale may not work, but we buy it anyway, assuming that the right “other” product will present itself down the road.

The way you package your items really generates excitement. It’s like getting a gift. How did you come to that decision?

Ann: Packaging came about because of Andrew.  It is more work but definitely makes a difference!

Andrew: Actually the word “gift” is the key. We work hard to create very special products and we like to think that our customers are purchasing them as gifts to themselves (or a friend). We always hope there’s a certain excitement when opening a General Knot & Co. box!

On your blog you have a few food and recipe entries. What’s your favorite home cooked meal?

Ann: We try to keep the cooking (experimenting) to the weekend but sometimes it spills over into the week if we find a cool recipe.  Our kids are very adventurous and are game for anything.

Andrew: We love to cook, even when we’re too tired to even think about it! Ann makes the most delicious salads (subtle and balanced flavors and textures), while I tend to be the one with a heavier hand (stews, sauces, and anything grilled). A favorite? Maybe our schnitzel or beef tips & mushrooms… accompanied by a great salad.

What is the coolest tie you’ve ever made? Can I have it? Can I at least see a picture of it?

Ann: I would have to say that each time we get a box from one of our factories I find my “favorite” which means every week it changes.

Andrew: That’s a tough one. I’d probably go with the “Cactus Flower”. I love the fabric and colors. Ann made the first one for me, so it holds a special place among my collection.

Who is more awesomer…the most awesomest… Ann or Andrew?

Ann: He puts up with me so I guess he wins that one.

Andrew: Ann, for sure. The most brilliant designer I know (and I know some amazing ones!)


And now what will no doubt become a famous segment – Five Signature Questions with Christian:

Who is your Favorite Superhero or Villain?

Ann: I don’t think Commissioner Gordon is a super hero but Gary Oldman is…

Andrew: The Joker (by Heath Ledger)

Who wins in a fight, Batman or Superman?

Ann: Batman- I don’t like a dude in leotards unless they are black… so Batman

Andrew: Batman (Christian Bale not George Clooney).

Which Star Wars character would you be?

Ann: Chewbacca.  Loud and cute

Andrew: Hans Solo. Always flying by the seat of his pants.

What’s your favorite cereal of all time?

Ann: Breakfast: Frosted Mini Wheats, Desert- Capt. Crunch Crunch berries

Andrew: Capt. Crunch (or Honeycombs)

Are your dirty clothes on the floor or in the hamper, right now?

Ann: Both and often, but don’t tell our boys.  We always tell them to be neat.

Andrew: Both (and elsewhere)

Thank you again to Ann and Andrew!! Please checkout their masterful work at

Giveaway Week has arrived!

Well today’s the day you’ve all been waiting for!! Or the day you’ve forgotten about and are sort of interested in…either way, it’s here! Today kicks off my special Giveaway week! It’s my way of saying thank you for all the support!

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The giveaway will be taking place on my Instagram account – so head over and join in the fun. I’ll be posting giveaways Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Here’s how it works.

For each post, to be eligible to win, you must:

  1. Follow me @gasketraynes.
  2. Like the picture
  3. Tag two friends in the comments. (Multiple entries welcome.)

The winner will be randomly selected once each of the three giveaway periods ends (see entry periods below). There is only one winner per giveaway – the winner will be notified via the original post. This giveaway is in not endorsed or sponsored by Instagram…blah blah blah, boring boring boring.

Giveaway 1 Entry Period – Mon July 27, 7:00 p.m. EST – Tues July 28th, 7:00 p.m. EST

Giveaway 2 Entry Period – Wed July 29, 5:00 p.m. EST – Thurs July 30th, 5:00 p.m. EST

Giveaway 3 Entry Period – Fri July 31st, 8:00 p.m. EST – Sat August 1st, 8:00 p.m. EST

What I wore: Velvet Fog

When you decide to purchase and wear a velvet blazer you run into styling issues pretty quick. The fact that the blazer is velvet can be overpowering. So you can let it do just that, be your center piece, or you can make the other elements just as powerful. That’s what I went for with this outfit. You have to be careful  and make sure your powers get along or you have a power struggle! And nobody wants that.  Then you have to go to the United Nations of Colors and nothing ever gets done there. It’s just a lot of gavel banging and crayon throwing. I used powerful colors and patterns to compliment the jackets beauty on this one. I think it worked…maybe?

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