TieBro Handmade Bow Ties
Noel Gregory owns and, with his wife Ericka’s help, operates TieBro Handmade Bow Ties, which offers spiffy bow ties in just about any color or design imaginable — from professional sports teams and colleges across the county to superheroes, cartoons, country flags, funny sayings and countless other designs.
The Gregory’s don’t limit their clientele to humans, either, as evident from the banner draped in front of their white festival tent, which read “Bow ties for People and Pets.” Their setup includes a selection of bow ties specifically for dogs.
“During the pandemic, everyone got a pet,” Ericka Gregory said. “It was the big thing, and we were like, ‘Let’s just go with it.’”
As a special education teacher, Noel Gregory dresses up each day because he believes it’s important for the students to see a male role model dress professionally. One day, Gregory’s students asked him why bow ties weren’t a part of his wardrobe. He decided to buy a shirt from a thrift store and cut it into a bow tie as part of an in class art project. “It just kind of took off from there,” Ericka Gregory said.
Over time, the bow ties became an incentive for Noel Gregory’s students to behave well. His students can accrue credits for good behavior that they can use to earn one of their teacher’s bow ties. “They affected actual behavior in our school,” Noel Gregory said. “Some kids are like, ‘Let me behave a little better because I want that bow tie.’”
Ericka Gregory’s professional background is in marketing, so she said that her mind went to different ways that she and her husband could turn a monetize the bow ties. And just like that TieBro was born.
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What is The Columbia Festival of the Arts?
The Columbia Festival of the Arts is a multi-weekend event that celebrates music, art, and entertainment. Each Festival kicks off in June with Lakefest, a free, three-day outdoor celebration at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront. Lakefest includes live performances, children's creative activities, a juried fine arts and crafts show, a variety of hands-on workshops for all ages and outdoor festival food fare.
The days following LakeFest are comprised of a variety of free and ticketed events, including performances in multiple disciplines, master classes, workshops, fine art exhibitions, literary offerings, film and frequent opportunities to interact directly with artists.