THE NEW MAJOR ON THE BLOCK
Catching sight of my first wooden bowtie wasn’t a moment I will easily forget. No, it
wasn’t the amount of bubbly I had whimsically consumed at the wedding, or to do with
the face of the man who adorned the bow tie itself…
Can you blame a girl for needing to do a double take when she sees a beautifully crafted
wooden bow tie sitting comfortably at the nape of a man’s neck?
I got my (hear stalker) research hat on and found out that it was from the brand “Major
John” and I got in touch to find out more.
“In 2013 I made a wooden bow tie for myself and my two best friends, the reaction from
my fellow students was great and in 2014 in the third year as an architecture student at
the university of the Free State I founded Major John.” Paul, the founder of Major John
shares his story with me.
The first products produced were a range of timber bow ties that he made in his
parent’s garage, and sanded outside his hostel between classes. Side hustle anyone?
Paul’s mother made the fabric straps and hand stitched each bow tie for him.
Since then the brand has grown to a range of genuine leather accessories, aprons as well
as concrete and timber lamps.
The two most important aspects for Major John are providing amazing service and to
create unique products that are handcrafted to perfection. Which, if you had a look at
their range you will see, they are certainly delivering on! They only use local, genuine
leather and support local suppliers. All of their leather products are hand cut, and are
then assembled and stitched by hand.
All of the timber bow ties are made at the Free State residential care centre, where they
have a timber workshop for adults with intellectual disabilities which creates work daily
for forty people of which eight people work on our timber bow ties.
As the business has grown, Paul’s mom handed over the reins to two retired ladies who
have been working for Paul for four years and make the straps for the bow ties and the
Two university students, who work part time, have been making all of the leather
products for Paul for the last three years.
Major John also has a retired couple that makes all of their boxes from their home.
This goes to show that anyone who works with this brand, gains a huge love and loyalty
for them which can be seen in the beautiful creation of their products.
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