DENVER — No matter where you live or where you work in Colorado, we all want to be a part of something bigger.
And one Colorado business is reminding us we're all in this together.
Knotty Tie Co. in the heart of Denver is welcoming refugees and saving the environment with apparel that's authentically American.
Take one peak inside their little storefront off Santa Fe Drive, and you'll see the colorful display of products — fashionable creations that are uniquely Colorado.
"There really is an iconic Colorado experience," said Knotty Tie owner and founder Jeremy Priest. "Whether it's biking, mountains, animals, outdoor adventure, things like that. Governor Hickenlooper I think wears that [tie]," he said, pointing to one with mountains and wildlife. "Governor Polis wears this [tie]," he said, pointing to another with the iconic Colorado "C.”
Maybe the only thing more impressive than the ties is the process to make them.
Priest has taken a page from our country's founding, hiring refugees and giving them new life in the United States.
"We knew that more needed to be done to create intentional employment pathways," Priest said. "So that the skills that arriving refugee populations had would lead to real professional opportunities."
As a navy veteran, Priest saw first-hand the fallout from war and persecution in the Middle East and West Africa. He said so many people who flee those countries come with viable skills and an impeccable work ethic.
"They've been sewing for 30 to 40 years, some of them," Priest said. "So, they know how to make dresses, suits, curtains, pillows, and reupholster things."
Meanwhile, he's bringing apparel back to America. It's an industry that was lost to overseas manufacturing decades ago.
And he's letting the consumer have a hand in its design.
"We developed our own printing technologies and sourced our own fabrics," Priest said. "So that we could make everything look and feel like silk out of recycled plastics and have adjustable widths, adjustable lengths. Customers can change the colors. There's no minimums."
But it's the possibilities that seem endless for this 6-year-old business that is just now hitting its stride thanks to social responsibility.
"Using a for-profit business to lift up disadvantaged communities and working to improve the sustainability of consumer products," Priest said. "For us, it's really about focusing on impact, and that is our compass."
Knotty Tie Co. even helps their employees with school tuition, travel opportunities and entrepreneurship.
Their storefront is located at 989 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80204.