March 5 2015 Latest news:
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The departure of Tie Rack from the high street might suggest it is not the right time to become involved in that particular side of the fashion industry.
And that very point was made to Sam Carlisle when world leaders appeared at last summer’s G8 summit without a tie in sight.
However, undaunted by the doubters, Mr Carlisle, 25, has already passed several significant landmarks since launching his tie business, Augustus Hare, 18 months ago.
The brand, named after a 19th century writer and raconteur - “for me he embodies British formality with playfulness which is what I am trying to create” - has quickly become established in Selfridges and other upmarket outlets, and Mr Carlisle recently spotted one of his creations being worn on television by David Dimbleby.
The son of former government minister Sir Kenneth Carlisle runs his enterprise in a studio on his parents’ Wyken Hall estate at Stanton, in Suffolk.
Harrow-educated Mr Carlise has always had a passion for art but his first venture into tie design came during his gap year before he studied theology at Edinburgh University.
He said: “I took 10 designs along to Sudbury Silk Mill and we worked together on turning them into ties; I had no idea of the constraints of weaving in silk.”
He sold that first collection to friends and shops in Paris during his gap year.
“At university, I continued it on the side and ran a business selling ties to clubs and societies,” he said.
Since relaunching and rebranding the business, he has reached the point where he is selling 10,000 ties a year in four seasonal collections.
The designs reflect everything from historical themes - “I am currently interested in the Bloomsbury Group of artists from the 1930s” - to patterns in nature.
Mr Carlise, who also sells online at www.augustushare.com, aims to more than double his first year turnover of £40,000 and has just taken on his first part-time staff member to help with PR and branding.
He has been helped in developing his entrepreneurial skills by Watershed, a pioneering organisation that offers residential business courses, consultancy and access to potential investors. He attended one of the free courses at Langley Grange near Loddon.
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.