News From Inside the Tie Lab

Mike Rowe + Cyberoptix. A Highlight from the Mackinac Policy Conference. May 30, 2015 14:53

Few and far between are the chances you get to run into one of your Maker Movement heroes. This Thursday, while we were talking ties with Paul Smith for WJR 760 News' Opportunity Detroit segment, guess who also had a live interview slot right next to us -- none other than Mike Rowe! Bethany was wearing the iconic Mackinac Bridge tie, but decided it looked better on him.

Admitted fanboys and girls of his Dirty Jobs Series and Somebody's Gotta Do It, we also especially admire the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, his foundation that awards scholarships to those wishing to pursue a trade.

It was such an honor to have a chat with him about Detroit, the importance of not stigmatizing trades, and to have a bit of a fanboy/girl moment.  Heartfelt thanks to our mutual filmmaker and photographer friend Troy Paff for the intro, who visited the Tie Lab's studios way back in 2010 for his Journeyman Project series - The tradesmen of 21st century America.

See You on the Island! May 26, 2015 14:27

Rachel from The Peacock Room brought an army of pinup models from Retro Girls to help promote "Building Bridges to Small Business." Please share this pic with your friends heading to The Mackinac Policy Conference so they can keep an eye out for them. They'll be handing out invitations and taxi passes to the event, along with cookies from Sweet Potato Sensations and cards describing our brand new custom printing & corporate gifting service. First stop - Shepler's arrival dock.

Detroit retailers to host pop-up market at Mackinac Policy Conference May 26, 2015 11:03

(Pictured above: Rachel Lutz, photo by Nick Hagen)

We can't wait to head up to Mackinac tomorrow with our good friend Rachel from The Peacock Room who has been such an incredible supporter of us and small businesses in the city as a whole.

A handful of Detroit-based entrepreneurs will make their pitch for the importance of small business in the future of the city's economy at this week's Mackinac Policy Conference.

"The Mackinaw Policy Conference is always about big things -- big politicians, big lobbying firms, big issues," says Rachel Lutz, owner of The Peacock Room in Midtown's Park Shelton building. "If we're going to have a conversation about the state's economy, we should also speak about small business."

Lutz and a few of her peers (all women who are owners of Detroit-based small businesses) will facilitate that conversation through a small business pop-up market on Mackinac Island during the conference. The other three business participating are Cyberoptix Tie Lab (a scarves and tie maker), Sweet Potato Sensations (a second-generation family-owned bakery), and Rebel Nell (a jewelry company with a social mission). [Read more at Model D....]

Building Bridges to Small Business May 17, 2015 19:22

Building Bridges to Small Business- Mackinac Island

We tie makers could not be more proud to announce our trip to Mackinac Island for the Mackinac Policy Conference! We'll be heading up with our dear friend and retail partner Rachel from the The Peacock Room, as well as the unbridled hotness that is Sweet Potato Sensations and Rebel Nell.

For immediate release:

Detroit Entrepreneurs Bring Small Businesses to Mackinac Policy Conference
Four pop-up shops to open at Mission Point Resort on May 28

DETROIT – Four successful Detroit-based entrepreneurs will present “Building Bridges to Small Business,” a pop-up shopping experience at the Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island on May 28, 3–7 p.m. Sponsored by Detroit-based IT staffing and business solutions company Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) and Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort, the event will coincide with the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Rachel Lutz, owner of the Peacock Room in Midtown Detroit, organized the pop-up market to highlight the viability and importance entrepreneurship and small business to the growth and sustainability of Michigan’s business market. Lutz recruited three successful, Detroit-based small businesses to bring their own pop-up shops to Mackinac, including Sweet Potato Sensations, Rebel Nell and Cyberoptix Tie Lab.

S3’s sponsorship reflects the personal commitment of founder, president and CEO Cynthia Pasky to support and profile talent that resides in the City of Detroit.

“The small businesses of today are the big businesses of tomorrow, and when there’s robust civic and institutional support of small business, we remove barriers to retaining talent,” said Pasky. “Small businesses have a real stake in the progress of the communities they serve and are critical to urban revitalization. S3 started out as a small business in Detroit, and now we’ve grown into a $264 million global company that provides over 2,700 jobs.”
Below are details about the four small businesses that will be at Mackinac, each of which will have a vignette of their products:

- The Peacock Room – A fourth-generation Detroit business owner, Rachel Lutz went from unemployment to providing jobs for seven people after establishing the women’s apparel boutique in the Park Shelton building in 2011. Tripling her projected revenue during her first year in business, the success of The Peacock Room allowed Lutz to open a second store within ten months at the Park Shelton.

- Cyberoptix Tie Lab – Bethany Shorb, owner and lead designer, came to Michigan to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and after graduation chose to settle in Detroit, starting Cyberoptix in 2005. Fabricating scarves, ties and other accessories from silk, microfiber, leather and recycled materials, each item is individually hand-stitched and silkscreened to order by Shorb’s studio team. Cyberoptix was named one of the top ten performing handmade artists on, and their items can be found online and at over 250 retail locations.

Sweet Potato Sensations – A second-generation family-owned bakery and restaurant, Sweet Potato Sensations was created in 1987 when Cassandra and Jeffrey Thomas began producing sweet potato cookies at local events in northwest Detroit. Expanding from community kitchens to successful storefronts, Sweet Potato Sensations offers a variety of sweet treats six days a week at their bakery café on Lahser Road in Detroit, as well as local retail outlets. The company has been featured in local and national media, and has provided the dessert course for the largest sit down dinner in America, the Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner for the Detroit Branch NAACP for over a decade. In 2013, Sweet Potato Sensations was admitted to the first Detroit class of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

Rebel Nell – Co-founders Amy Peterson and Diana Russell started their jewelry company with the sole purpose of employing, educating and empowering disadvantaged women in Detroit. Rebel Nell repurposes broken concrete chips of graffiti, and transforms them into unique, wearable art objects. The company’s stated goal is to help women move from a life of dependence to one of self-reliance, and they have helped several women successfully make the transition from homelessness to financial stability. Working directly with local homeless shelters, they identify women who are ready to overcome barriers to employment through the fruits of their own labor.

“Each of these businesses tells the story of Detroit’s economic revival at the micro level,” said Lutz. "Our businesses have nothing but great things to say about the economic opportunities we've experienced in Michigan. The Chamber is a leader in holding meaningful conversations about our state's economy, and we’re looking forward to partnering to help elevate the important role of small business in those discussions.”