I recently had the chance to interview Jorge Santana, an ally and the creator of Gay Bow ties.
Hello Jorge, please tell us about yourself;
My name is Jorge Santana. I had a lot people that helped me and mentor me when I was growing up. I want to give back, I am a very passionate person that likes to empower children, people, and I love volunteering.How did you come up with the idea of gay bow ties?
Thinking back, it all started three years ago on my wedding day when I tied my first bow tie. I have enjoyed wearing them ever since, and have since refused to wear regular ties. In fact, I gave all my old ties away, and let the bow tie become my personal brand!
Why was this company created?
Mark Cuban from Shark Tank once said, “If you are going to make a company, make sure you find a need that people have.”
That statement motivated me to pray for ideas and led me to research if anyone was providing quality bow ties to the LGBT community. What I found were companies that were purchasing bow ties at a low cost and reselling them at a much higher price. On those ties, the LGBT colors were not correct, nor did they represent the flag. I then began my journey to find the Gay Pride Bow Ties domain, and purchased the ‘Gay Pride Bow Ties’ domain. I created an LLC, and applied for a registered trademark. One year later, with a half granted trademark, it was time to create the product.
We have a lot people to thank for helping start this company. We discovered all these other factors involved, such as; creating labels, custom boxes for the product, ribbons for the box product, consulting with lawyers to complete the registered trademark, table covers for trade shows, bags to deliver the product, e-commerce, website design and music, as well as the shipping carrier. Wow!
We are not afraid to be different. As you know, when someone visits our website, the first thing that appears is our mission statement. We want to unify people. We want everyone to see it does not matter if you are Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Allies, or whatever religious affiliation; it is important to know we need to coexist and respect each other.
This is why we will donate $5.00 for every bow tie sold. We want to unify people, and make a difference in the world.
I understand the silk is from the UK?
All bow ties are authentic hand-woven silk from the United Kingdom and made in the United States, in the state of Vermont.
How did you come up with the designs?
We wanted to provide brighter colors and new designs that were not in the market. Before the fabric was ordered I picked each color and with weight of each fabric. I wanted to reflect the colors of the LGBT flag. I also wanted to bring some new designs. No one in the market has bow ties with the LGBT flag, or the black bow ties with the LGBT sign. I wear the bow ties all the time.
In May it will be two years from when the process was started. As mentioned, we discovered all these other factors involved, but it has being a great learning experience, and the most rewarding thing I have ever done in business. I never expected the process to take this long to launch.
I understand that every tie you sell, you are going to donate to LGBT Community Organisations?
(all the bow ties have LGBT design)
There are 3 non-profit organizations that we donate to, which we feel impact the world;
Their mission is to provide a safe, welcoming space where LGBT+ individuals, their families, friends, and straight allies can come for education and resources; and to build a cohesive LGBT+ community in the Midwest.
To be recognized as the community center that helps individuals, regardless of sexual
orientation or identity, to fully realize their potential. To provide a safe, welcoming space where LGBT+ individuals, their families, friends, and straight allies can come for education and resources; and to build a cohesive LGBT+ community in the Midwest.
LIKEME Lighthouse: https://www.likemelighthouse.org/
Kansas City Aids Walk:
The AIDS Service Foundation works to raise money and awareness for organizations that provide shelter, medical care and emergency services for the more than 5,700 men, women and children in Kansas City affected by HIV/AIDS. Contributions to the AIDS Service Foundation benefit equally the Kansas City Care Clinic, SAVE Inc., Good Samaritan Project and Hope Care Center as well as the ASF Community Fund. The ASF Community Fund awards grants to not-for-profit organizations that service the specialized needs of the diverse communities dealing with HIV/AIDS, provide support to their families and friends, and/or promote education and prevention.
Ko-Falen Cultural Center
Their mission is to promote cultural, artistic and educational exchanges between the people of the United States and Mali through art workshops, dance, music and ceremony school programs.
When we sell 12 bow ties, we will sponsor a child in Mali, Africa to go school for 1 year. We will blog the total number of children we sponsor in one year.
Mission & Philosophy
Ko-Falen Cultural Center seeks to promote cultural, artistic and educational exchanges between the people of the United States and Mali through art workshops, dance, music and ceremony school programs. We believe Ko-Falen’s vision is that a greater understanding and respect between people can be reached through these profound personal exchanges. Ko-Falen’s vision is that a greater understanding and respect between people can be reached through these profound personal exchanges.
“The Ko-Falen Cultural Center gives us a reason to learn about other cultures and places that we otherwise wouldn’t know exist. This is definitely the beginning of creating relationships and getting acquainted with each other.
Once you get to know each other, it’s easy to work together and appreciate each other. This is a great dream!”
So what have you got planned next, in regards of designs?
We have three designs currently, but we would like to add more designs. Because clothing can’t be patented,
I can’t share the next designs. I would gladly like to come back to show you the new designs.