Jorge Santana starts each day adding the finishing touch to his outfit – tying a bow tie. However, his have an added meaning.
"Every specific color has a specific meaning behind it,” said the Olathe man.
After two years of planning and after being turned down by several factories, the entrepreneur has finally launched Gay Pride Bow Ties.
"No one was selling bow ties to the LGBT community,” said Santana. "The only thing that was there before we were in the market was bow ties purchased from China for $1.50 and they sell them for $20."
The high-end bow ties are made of silk from the UK and are hand-made in Vermont. Santana then puts the boxes together and ships them from his home.
Roughly half of Santana’s sales have been from ‘allies’ to the LGBT community. That’s also why he wanted to start the company – to unify people, especially considering the current political climate.
"It does seem like it's bringing people in together, which is really the main objective of creating the company,” said Santana.
For every bow tie sold, $5 will go to nonprofits. And for every 12 bow ties sold, Gay Pride Bow Ties will sponsor a child in Mali, Africa to go to school for a year.
"There's nothing classier than wearing a bow tie,” said Santana. “And I will wear a bow tie all the time just because it's what I am passionate about. But what I want people to do be able to do is to unify and be able to conquer a greater goal for it."
The nonprofits that will benefit from Gay Pride Bow Ties include: LIKEME Lighthouse Kansas City, AIDS Walk Kansas City and Ko-Falen Cultural Center.