Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co.

A man’s wardrobe choices can make or break his entire career. But, what many don’t realize is, a man’s choice in accessories can make or break his entire wardrobe. Now, often, the most prominent accessory a man in business professional/formal attire is his tie. That being said, where do you think you ought to build your wardrobe’s versatility? If you guessed “From my tie rack,” you’re today’s winner.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetYou’ve likely heard of my go-to groomer Vince Jamael, of Adrian Fanus Grooming, Inc. (and if you haven’t, just click this whole sentence and you’ll get taken to a handful of posts on this site dealing with his greatness). One thing you may not know about Vince is that he’s not only a well-groomed groomer, but he’s also something like a style icon in his own circle. Always well-dressed for any occasion, Vince is constantly asked where he gets his threads. And, more often than you’d believe, his answer is “From XYZ Vintage Clothing Shop.” Much of his style is vintage with an intentional new school flare. Head to toe, the brother is sharp and I don’t say that about everyone.

I can recall the year after I graduated from undergrad and was sleeping on Vince’s living room couch (times were tough but look what God has done five years later), and I saw that he had this dope tie. Now, I didn’t have any skinny ties in my wardrobe at the time and, not only was this one skinny but it was a vibrant shade of red and made of cotton. Far outside my realm of comfort but it had my attention. Vince caught me checking it out and said I could have it if I wanted it. That was my first step to exploring more nontraditional styles of neckwear.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFast forward to present day and Vince has started his own neckwear company, Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co., based out of Brooklyn. His business model is a unique one, in which he carefully curates only the most exclusive neckties from vintage shops, both across the United States and in his international travels. His goal is to provide his clientele with the caliber of tie that their grandfather would look for at a reasonable price. The curation, purchase, and restoration of these timeless pieces are responsibilities that fall squarely on Vince’s shoulders alone, but ones that he accepts.

“My passion for helping young men and women feel their best when they put on a necktie is helping to make this dream a reality,” Vince said when asked why he’s investing so much into this vision. “I recall looking at classic photos of gentlemen from older days and thinking ‘What if we combined their knowledge of proper dress with this generation’s fashion sense? We’d be unstoppable.’ So here I am, trying to create a brand that is truly timeless.”

Initially doing private consultations to present clients with his neckwear, Vince is now able to be contacted on Instagram at @vtg_ties. As the brand grows, he will develop more avenues through which his pieces can be purchased but right now, he prefers “personal style consultations to cold cash-based sales.”

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You can’t put a tie on without a shirt without looking like a Chippendale, so get the shirt and trousers together but, when you’ve got those two checked off, make sure your neck speaks to a level of distinction without breaking the bank. The best way to do that? Grab a distinguishing necktie from Neck n’ Neck Vintage Co. and let it tell a story without you having to say a word.

Make quality neckwear a priority.

Maintaining Relationships

This past weekend, I had nothing to do and no one to hang out with (Desirée and her sorority sisters took a road trip), so I left work on Friday and hit the road for Charlotte. On my way there, I was posting periodically to my Instagram story and one of my friends of almost a decade, Bianca Payton of S&S Associates, shot me a message letting me know that one of her clients, Opera Carolina, would be having an early screening of “The Girl Of The West” that evening and she invited me to come as a “Tweet Seater” (blogger). I haven’t been to the opera in years but it is always nice to immerse yourself in settings that you aren’t regularly in. Not only did I get to see an awesome performance with spectacular music in an amazing venue (get tickets by clicking here), I was also able to meet some movers and shakers in the entrepreneurial and creative sphere, like photographer and re-branding consultant Josh Galloway and footwear designer La’Cario Sellers, owner of Customs by Cario. After the opera, my LB, author Brady S. Moore and I connected with our college friend, marketing specialist Brittany Maul.  Bianca and Josh met up with us there a bit later and we closed the bar.

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The next morning, after a 2+ mile run on the south side of Charlotte, I went to visit family and then took some time to catch up with my friend and the best barber in North Carolina, Tim Doe of No Grease Exclusive in uptown Charlotte. I had about 30 minutes to kill so I took my camera bag and shot around downtown before grabbing an awesome brunch w/ Brittany at Mimosa Grill. I closed out my trip by trying to catch an NBA playoff game with Sean Johnson of Toshiba Business Solutions, Cory Bennett of XChange NC, Branden Reid of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and Tony McNeal of Bank of America (I say “trying” because we spent the time catching up and missed the game in its entirety).

Thing is, the game was just wishful thinking. That last chill session with friends is what the trip was about one thing: catching up. As those of you who’ve been rocking with me for a while know, I lived in Charlotte for four years after graduating from UNCG. I loved the city but ended up moving back to Durham to be closer to family. Though the Triangle will always have a place in my heart and it is great for Desirée and me right now, eventually, I hope we get the opportunity to move back to the greater Charlotte area. That being said, though it is years away, maintaining relationships in Charlotte will be key to my success as an entrepreneur. And, though phone calls and text messages are nice, there’s nothing like taking some time to go hang out with those in your circle who are in the physical area that you’re looking to be in. When I came to Charlotte the first time, I had an aesthetically appealing résumé with no experience and I was still developing my network. If I return, I will come with a network that opens doors and experience that closes deals. But to have those doors opened, you have to invest in your relationships on the front end.

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Make professional development a priority.

What Motivates You?

This past weekend, my first cousin, his fiancée, my wife, and I went out for drinks and small plates and talked about life, work, and the opportunities that God was providing us with. It was great because Sean was my big brother when I didn’t have any siblings so, looking at where we are now and where we’ve been, I am grateful for how well we are doing.

But that’s not the point of this post. As we talked, Sean discussed his management style and it gave me an idea. I am often motivated by seeing the urgency in a situation and, as of late, I haven’t seen urgency in raising dollars. Not because there is no urgency but because I’m just going through the motions at this point. Sean gave me an idea to put on my door something along the lines of “This month, I was $x,000 under quota.” Now, I modified that from a sales model to a fundraising one but, on the white board in my office, I placed the sign that you see as the feature photograph for this post. If I go more than three days without a drop in the bucket, I the square to the right of the date goes from the black to the red (for those who aren’t into finances, being in the black is a good thing and being in the red is bad).

Now, that may not work for you but I encourage you to research things that will motivate you to be the best you can be and then put them into practice. It’s the only way you will get better.

 

Make professional development a priority.

Don’t Believe The Hype

Contrary to popular belief, everyone isn’t an urban hipster. Everyone doesn’t live in a loft, have a wild sex life, and drink lattes every morning. Everyone isn’t a creative nor an entrepreneur nor a photographer nor a Crossfit enthusiast. Everyone doesn’t dress like a model every day. Everyone doesn’t do everything. Everyone doesn’t do anything.

It’s alright to pick Budweiser over a rare local craft beer. There’s nothing wrong with spending your Sunday mornings in a church instead of hiking a trail. You can work an 8-5 with hopes of climbing up the corporate ladder as opposed to blazing your own trail. Sure, sometimes, try some of that “hipster” stuff, just to see if you like it. You never know, you just might. But what you cannot be is average. Whatever you do, whether marketing guru, blogger, or a stock team member at the local grocery store, you must work to be the best at it.  There’s no hype in that. Only hard work.

 

Make professional development a priority.

Why Going Viral is Not a Marketing Strategy

“I’m just going to create this one piece of dope content and it’s going to go viral and I’ll be on front street.”

How many bloggers think this is how it works?  Because those bloggers are wrong.  People post dope/motivational/thought-provoking content every single day and most are never recognized for it beyond one or two retweets, at best.  I like to think that I create quality content 4-5 days a week (I try to go for 5 but some weeks, I just don’t have a Fitness Friday in me).

Don’t get me wrong: plenty of people go viral by mistake.  Well, they plan to go viral and then get lucky.  Most people who plan to go viral never do.

It has taken me nearly 4 years to get 200+ followers on The Reader.  I have had one post go semi-viral and that is because I was retweeted by an executive at Black Enterprise.  Pretty cool day for my stats.  But that was it.

Now, I average a steady flow of 50-100 hits per day, with some days doing 200+ when I get enough retweets and my hashtags hit a trend.  And that is fine with me.  Because, that’s likely 40 people who come to my website every day to see what I’m talking about and get my input on professional development, leadership, millennials, lifestyle, and all other sorts of topics.  Might not gain me thousands of likes but I know that I’m making some people’s lives better on a consistent basis.

I create great content 5 days a week because I know that, one day, I won’t go viral.  I will slowly gain enough readers that I won’t need to.  And, in the event that I get lucky and have Beyoncé retweet me or have Diddy repost one of my Instagram graphics, I will have created enough great content to gain a consistent following.  The problem with one viral photo and no solid strategy to keep the momentum going is that you will lose that momentum very quickly.  For example, my place of employment just had a couple of photos go viral on Instagram and Twitter last week.  They needed someone dedicated to picking up the ball and running with it.  But, not having that led to a missed opportunity.  And, after that wave is gone, it’s gone with no guarantee of returning again.

So stop trying to make a picture go viral.  Just take the picture.  Or write the post.  And make it great.  The rest will take care of itself.  Or it won’t.  But at least you did your best.

 

Make professional development a priority.

Guerilla Marketing: The Contest

I’ve been wanting to give my readers a chance to show off what they’ve learned from my site and I’ve finally figured it out.  I’m having a giveaway and, the best part is anyone can win!  Whether you work in the field of marketing, like my close friend Devon Smith, are an up and coming visual artist trying to get her brand more exposure like Tatiana Camice, or even if you’re an experienced branding consultant like Natasha Nichole Lake, you’re just as eligible as the rest.

Now, I’m going to do what my mother said never to do: I’m going to start with the dessert. Before explaining the contest, I really want to make sure I get you all excited with the prize.  During my junior year of college, it was suggested that I, an aspiring marketer, read Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing.  So, the summer before my senior year, I checked it out from the library.  Since then, I’ve bought the book for my own library, then bought a copy to give as a gift to a friend, then bought another two copies since then (one of which is for you, assuming the person reading this right now is the winner of the contest).  And, I’m currently reading it again.   Why?  Because, as a young entrepreneur, I believe that if you don’t leverage yourself against larger companies, you’ll never succeed (unless you get lucky one day and have some content go viral by happenstance).  And thus, I’ve stepped into the purpose.

Why am I doing this?  I’m giving this book away because I believe in it and its methodology.  But, even if you don’t win the book, I believe that opening your mind up to different ways of thinking about how you can promote a brand is critical.  You see, even if you never want to own your own business or go into the field of marketing, you have to see yourself as a brand.  You go into an interview and, no matter what the job, your goal is to sell your skills.  This book really will help you think outside the box, develop a/your brand, and reach your professional goals.

So now for the process.  Pretty simple.  You must have an Instagram or Twitter account and be following @DanDailyReader.  Why?  Because this contest is photograph based.  Between now and Saturday, February 6, 2016, take photographs or video recordings of any form of cool, eye-catching marketing/branding you see.  This could be in the form of a blog, flyer, résumé, business card, billboard, television or radio commercial, graphic design, or anything else you deem worthy.  Being that one winner will be selected at random, there is no right or wrong submission as long as you feel that it was an interesting way of getting someone’s attention.  Upon posting it to Twitter or IG, you can put whatever you’d like in the caption as long as you mention @DanielsDailyReader and use the hashtag #GuerrillaContest.  You can post as many entries as you’d like, just make sure you mention the account and use the hashtag so that I can give you credit.  The more entries, the more chances you have at winning.  At halftime of the Super Bowl (February 7, 2016), I’ll be posting the winners.

Wait?  Winners?  Yep.  Winners.  I believe that sometimes, just giving something a shot will be your ticket to success.  One lucky shot.  But, more often than not, sheer persistence is what gets you the victory.  So, at first, I was going to give away one book.  But I decided that, because winning can happen multiple ways, I’ll give away multiple copies of the book.  So, once again, good luck.

I hope you win.  Really, I do.  But, if you don’t, consider buying the book, which can be found on Amazon, iBooks, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, or a ton of other retailers.

If there are any questions, shoot me a direct message via Instagram or Twitter.

 

Make professional development a priority.