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While many men wear ties, it’s true that all men sleep. This was the realization Greg Shugar, founder of The Tie Bar, came to when he decided to pursue his second venture in the bedding industry. The 44-year-old Boca Raton resident built the multimillion-dollar company Thread Experiment to take men’s functional-but-aesthetics-lacking sheets and replace them with stylish options.
It started with a stain—a spill of his morning cereal on a tie Shugar bought for $50. It made him question why an accessory cost $50 while men’s shirts, with much more fabric and importance, could cost as little as $30. Through research, he found that factories outside of the country were producing ties for less than $3. So, he and his wife, Gina Shugar, created a brand of neckties that were an affordable $15. A complete line followed, including color tie bars, cuff links, suspenders and pocket squares.
“In six months we designed our first collection, built our website and went live in September 2004. In a period of nine years, the company went from the basement of my Chicago-area home to 55 employees and nearly $20 million in sales. … It was like a dream,” Shugar says.
But Shugar woke up in 2013 when he sold the business, remaining on the board of directors with his wife in order to continue their involvement without having to deal with day-to-day operations.
Soon, the couple traded the Chicago cold for Florida sunshine. But after two weeks of spending his time at tennis courts and golf courses, Shugar felt bored—until Gina Shugar sent him out to buy bedding for their new home.
“I couldn’t find any that appealed to me,” he says. “I didn’t need football team logos or cowboy hats, but I certainly didn’t want flowers, pinks and other pastels, and lace-trimmed bedding like a 12-year-old girl, either.”
So, he asked an employee at the department store to direct him to the men’s bedding section. “What’s men’s bedding?” she asked.
This led Shugar to discover there was no bedding brand that designed its sheets with men in mind.
“Since my background was now textile design and there was a hole in the market, I wondered if this would be my next business venture,” Shugar says.
Reluctant at first to take on another project, his wife got on board with the idea and the duo found a factory to produce a bedding line called Thread Experiment only 18 months later.
“It’s been fun to try and create a category,” Shugar says. “There was no need to try and convince a guy why he needs a tie. Life has already done that for him. We needed to convince a guy that he needed to care about bedding. So we took cues and inspiration from menswear—my background and passion—and created Thread Experiment, the first ever brand of home bedding dedicated to men.”
The line incorporates bold colors, familiar plaids, stripes and paisleys, with reverse gingham designs to complement the look. Windowpane, bandana, herringbone, Glen plaid prints and stripes were applied to the phenomenal feeling, classy looking sheets, pillowcases, shams, duvets and comforters that have since been featured in GQ, Esquire, Men’s Journal and Men’s Health.
“It’s nice to see that the men’s fashion world has recognized that men’s bedding should be an extension of a guy who cares about his appearance. It’s an investment in something that’s not only fun to look at but enjoyed every day,” he says.