Customizing the world, one neck at a time


Dan Amponsah sells his custom made bow ties online and at the Brampton farmers market. (Photography by Brittany McAuley/ The Sheridan Sun)


While he hopes to open a store one day, for now Sheridan student Dan Amponsah sells his custom made bow ties online and at the Brampton farmers market.

Amponsah, a third year student in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion program at Sheridan College runs his customized bow tie business, Neck Couture by Kobi, out of his home in Brampton.

“Fashion is one of my passions and I’ve always wanted to learn how to run my own business,” said Amponsah, 25, sporting a wooden bow tie from his collection. “So I said ‘why not learn how to make bow ties then make a business out of them and make it creative at the same time’.”

His inspiration comes from his mother. It’s from her he says he got his entrepreneurial mindset. And while she started laughing when she first heard his plan, she is very supportive of him.

“Surprisingly there are a lot of bow tie companies out there, but there’s none that really focus on customization,” he said. “I feel like with any business you can’t really create your own idea because there’s so many out there. You can only take someone’s idea and make it your own.”

He describes his products as “boundary-pushing bow ties that are customizable to the individual.” His one-of-a-kind patterns ensure that his customers will be the only people with that specific bow tie.

Some of the fabrics he uses come from around the world. Each tells a story, like the kente cloth found in Ghana West
Africa. The patterns on the material have a different history for different tribes and Amponsah makes sure his buyers know just what it means.

He does a consultation with his customers to find out exactly what they’re looking for and then works together to bring something to light that suits them, he says.

Since 2009 Amponsah has been wearing the nerd-chic neck accessory. It wasn’t until July of 2013 that he started making them himself. This past May, he registered his business after getting a grant from Ontario’s Summer Company, one of the youth programs offered by the City of Brampton.


Amponsah took several workshops in Brampton to learn the art of making a bow tie. He learned how to use a sewing machine and just went from there practicing until he could make his own.

“Bow ties are very cross-generational. Little kids wear them. Older adults wear them. People in their 80s rock a bow tie,” he says. “I don’t know if you see it, but they’re coming back.”

Amponsah has gotten a huge response for bow ties from men, women, little kids and even pets. He says he has sold about 200 bow ties so far.

Stores in Brampton, Toronto and Hamilton have even approached him about selling his bow ties in their stores, but Amponsah isn’t interested in the idea.

“It takes away from the exclusivity and uniqueness of it if I just have them all over the place,” he says. He uses himself and his customers as walking billboards.


He has some stock to display and sell at the Brampton farmers market but his bow ties are mainly made-to-order.

It takes Amponsah anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes to make one bow tie. Each ranges in price from $30-$100.

Amponsah explains to every customer the history of the fabric used. He plans on including cards in the box of each order to tell a brief story about where it came from.

Eventually he says, he wants to head towards men’s accessories and open up a store in Brampton.

“One thing I’ve really found out about Brampton this summer is that it’s actually pretty sick,” he said. “There’s so much talent [here] and it’s unfortunate that a lot of people are moving out just because there’s nothing here.”

“If I could open up a store to show people there’s something here then maybe it’ll entice more people to stay. The vibe is that Brampton is boring, but it’s really not,” he says.

On Oct. 11, Amponsah will be at the Brampton farmers market, the last one of the season.