A Whole Lotta Love Goes in to Ella Bing Bow Ties

Story by Leslie Joy Ickowitz

“When you wear a bow tie, doors open for you. Your posture is a little more erect; your shoulders are a little further back; your style is a little more dynamic. It's about the reestablishment of the gentleman.” ~Dhani Jones

If they weren’t the (practically official) calling card of the gentleman, bow ties would scream sophistication. Instead, they quietly (or not so quietly depending on the print), make poised fashion statements.

We’ve seen a resurgence of bow ties in recent years but few are as original or as meaningful as the wooden ones fashioned locally by Ella Bing Bow Ties. The business is a family affair—a means to heal from the untimely loss of Matthew Kraus (to suicide) and a way for father David Kraus, mother Lisa and brother Brent to honor his memory.

“The first time I wore a bow tie a few years ago, I walked into a local bar and I felt like the music stopped,” Brent Kraus says. “Everyone stared at me as I walked in.”

That doesn’t happen anymore but when he wears a wooden bow tie, it’s a whole other story. “I literally get stopped everywhere I go. Even in the bathroom. People want to touch it and when you tell them it’s wood, they freak out.”

Rightfully so. These smooth, organic, wearable works of art take David Kraus anywhere from one and a half to four hours to make.

Brent and his mother Lisa Kraus (who sews) started the biz with classic, cloth bow ties (which they still offer) but then Ella Bing dared to be different.

“My dad was feeling a little left out. He was a little jealous and wanted to find a way to fit in so we started brainstorming what he could make. And he’s always been a really excellent woodworker.”

They Google-d wooden bow ties and didn’t find much so David made one. They maintained cloth in the center to retain the look and appeal of the traditional bow tie.  

“We threw it out on Instagram and people loved it!” #instantgratification “He’s really perfected what he’s done,” Brent says. “And he’s created his own tools.” 

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