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Small Business Spotlight: Bringing vintage back this holiday season with Above the Tie

Tennessee-based vintage razor company, Above the Tie began with the founder Stan Hickam’s passion for collecting and refurbishing vintage Gillette safety razors. Taking razors that had been long used and discarded, Stan was able to give them a second life by replating, cleaning and finally, reselling the razors to fellow collectors on eBay. Demand among the razor enthusiast community quickly grew and before he knew it, Stan had created quite the side gig.

Surprised by his success, Stan shared his experience with his son-in-law, Matt Cole, who encouraged Stan to establish his own brand and online presence. Taking matters into his own hands, Matt developed a website and the two decided to go into business together. In 2011, Above the Tie officially launched, focused on providing customers with high-quality, vintage refurbished razors, shaving soaps, and fine brushes.

As Stan became more exposed to the world of wet shaving, he realized that he favored certain features over others across different razor brands and models. For example, he found that he gravitated towards using razors that offered a level of flexibility, such as being able to adjust blade exposure, handle lengths and more. But he could never find a razor that offered the perfect combination of features together.

Realizing the significance of this emerging opportunity, Stan set out to create his own unique and flexible razor design and system. He soon developed Above the Tie’s now loved ‘mix and match’ razor system, giving customers the ability to pick out razor components based on their needs to create their own perfect shaving experience. His goal: to change the experience of shaving from an obligation to a pleasure.

After calling and being rejected by over thirty local manufacturers, Stan connected with a small machine shop just outside of Stan’s home town of Kingsport, Tennessee. After hearing Stan’s business proposition, the CNC shop’s team was excited by the idea of creating ‘old-school’ razors. Even better, the machine shop had access to the right equipment and experience to bring Stan’s vision to life.

A decade later, Above the Tie is now an established business, providing high-quality razors and grooming products to customers all over the world. Stan retired a couple of years ago, selling his part of the business to Matt and Stan’s daughter and ATT co-owner, Mariah. As Matt and Mariah continue to focus on growing the business, they have adopted the use of QuickBooks® Payroll to simplify and automate the payroll process, ensuring that employees are paid on time while easily tracking tax needs. This has enabled Matt and Mariah to dedicate more of their focus on continuing to spread brand awareness across new channels and social media platforms.

  Above the Tie is featured in the QuickBooks small business holiday shopping guide that makes it easier for shoppers to find fun and unique gifts for their loved ones while supporting small business at the same time. Offering luxury single edge and double edge razors, shaving brushes and shaving soaps, Above the Tie’s products are the perfect gift for upgrading your loved one’s grooming experience. They truly offer Classic Shaving for the Modern Era. To shop Above the Tie check out the full guide here.

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