Nicolaj Sveiger – Founder of By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


Words by Tue Elkjær

As a bit of a bit of a dandy and a big Emile Zola fan, when my friend and co-worker, photographer Anja Ekstrøm told me about By Sveiger, I was all over it like a golden fly on high society (yup, Zola reference bitches).


Because By Sveiger is a new Danish design company, that is founded on the fine (and maybe lost) art of bow ties.
I met up with founder of By Sveiger, Nicolaj Sveiger, to talk about his business venture and aesthetic principles, before his launch of By Sveiger on the October 1’st.


What motivated you, to start a company and why bow ties? What specifically made you want to center an entire business on that particular item?

It was 3 years ago, when I started gymnasium (the Danish version of high school) and I went to the first party.

I noticed that everyone was wearing white or black bow ties and I thought: Why just black or white? I mean, it’s pretty but it’s not outstanding, because it doesn’t stand out.

So I started to think about what I could do, because I see it as a real problem. But what could I do?And so I got the idea of making bow ties – in color. Then I started to learn, how to make bow ties.


So you did it to bring color to the world?

Yeah exactly, that was the main reason I started making bow ties.


Bow Tie by By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


What’s your background, do you have any previous experience in fashion or business?

No. Absolutely not! None.


Okay, so you just jumped into it?

Yeah, exactly. I just jumped into it and spend 3 years learning how to sew and everything.


Oh, you learned how to sew?

Yeah, everything from scratch.


Bow Tie by By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


Yeah, I saw on your website and social media sites, that everything is hand made, so that’s you? You’re the hands that makes them?

Yeah, pretty much and I have a friend, who will help me out, when I have a lot to do. But it’s mainly me.


Who do you imagine will buy your product, what’s your target audience?

Uhmmmm. That’s a tough question, because I would like to reach people who’ll love to have some more color in their life. Because if you take a man, that already has the suit, he has the shirt, he has everything, but he doesn’t have the right bow tie, that’s where I come in.

The bow tie!

The bow tie is what really brings color and personality to the suit.

So for me, personally, I would like to reach everyone and bring some more color into their lives. Because right now, the world is pretty dark, with everything that’s going on in the world.

So, it’s for the man that loves fashion and loves color.


Do you follow fashion yourself, is it a personal interest for you?

Yeah, well I love dressing up, I do. But it’s not something I do every day, because I also like being casual and to just wear sweatpants or something like that.

But when I do go out, then I need to be colorful.

I just think it’s way too easy, to just be regular, to wear black and white and just look like everyone else.


Bow Tie by By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


Do you think about environmental sustainability in your production, since everything is hand made? I mean, sustainability is very big right now, in fashion and it’s especially big in your generation, right, the environment?

It is.

But no, I actually haven’t. I don’t think that much about it.

Of course, if I could build By Sveiger into a million dollar business, that would be awesome, but I don’t think about that.

I dream about selling to the people, here and there, and not about the global market.

Right now, my focus is on selling my product to a limited group of people and if that works out, maybe I can grow the company into something bigger.

So no, not right now, but hopefully in the future.


So sustainability in your production, isn’t something you’re thinking about, at the moment?

Well, yes I think about it, but it doesn’t mean that much to me right now.


Bow Tie by By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


Bow ties seem like a rather decadent item, it doesn’t seem to serve any function. You mentioned it provides color and formality, but do you see any other need for bow ties on the market?

No, you’re right, it doesn’t have any function. But it looks nice and if you look nice, you can stand out and if you stand out, well, I think that’s a positive thing.


Bow Tie by By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


So it’s more about iconography?

Yes, exactly.

What constitutes the perfect bow tie, according to you, is it something that shows your individuality?

Exactly, it is to me.

Actually I have one bow tie in my collection right now, that’s red and have white dots and it’s so simple and elegant, but it has color.

So for me, that’s the perfect bow tie.

I would love to wear it everyday, but I think it would feel a little weird for me – to wear a bow tie to school or places like that, so I don’t wear a bow tie every day.


So it’s very situated?

It is, it is, for me anyway.


You keep coming back to color, could you expand on your fascination with colors?

I just think colors are the most important thing in the world right now, because we live in a world where politics and global warming is so important, so prominent and so negative.

If you keep thinking about those things, you end up living in a dark world and you can’t do anything about it. That’s why I think color is an amazing thing. It’s amazing to just put color out in the world. Because right now the world is so dark, but if you can just put some colors in the world, I think everyone would be a lot happier and if people gets happier, then it would be an amazing world to live in.


So, you seem to believe, that bow ties and colors have a lot of power?

Yes, I think so. Because, as I mentioned before, the first thing you notice, when you see a person approaching you, is their bow tie, if they’re wearing one of course. If you see a bow tie with a lot of color, it’s hard to explain, but it just makes you happy.

It makes you happy to see a person that stands out from the crowd.

I think that’s one of the main reasons, that I would like to make bow ties, to make people happy.


That’s a great mission!

Yeah (laughing) I think so.


So, when should one wear a bow tie? You said, not in a class room, but what is a bow tie worthy occasion?

Well, it’s your life, so if you want to wear a bow tie in a class room, you should do it, of course.

It’s very individual, but for me, I’ll wear a bow tie, when I go out to a fancy restaurant or something like that. But not when I meet my mom for dinner, then I don’t wear a bow tie.


Okay, so it’s not Downtown Abbey style, you don’t dress for dinner?

No, no I don’t.


Do you have a particular bow-tie-style-icon?

Uhm no actually, because as I mentioned, I don’t have a background in fashion, so I create my own style.


Bow Tie by By Sveiger

Photo by Anja Ekstrøm Photography


Okay, so there’s no bow-tie-wearing film character, that you relate to or get inspiration from or something?

No, there’s not.


Historically, bow ties is quite a classicist accessory – How do you relate to that? Are bow ties for everyone these days or is it still tied to certain social classes, a certain life style?

I think they’re for anyone, but my bow ties aren’t the cheapest ones. I know that.

But that’s because there hand made. I haven’t had anything mass produced in China for example. I don’t like that mass-produced-China-quality.

I like to have it all produced locally here in Denmark and that takes time, because it’s all hand made and that just costs a little bit more.

Of course, I make a little money in the process, but trust me, I put up a lot of money into starting it all up.

But, I also think my price is reasonable, because it’s 450 Danish Kroner (which is around 60,5 EUR or 72 USD) for a bow tie, including shipping, but if you have the suit and you have the shirt, 450 DKR isn’t that much for a high quality, hand made bow tie.

So I think it’s for everyone, but I also know, that there are people, who would like to buy it, but prefers to purchase the mass-produced-China-quality bow tie instead and that’s okay.


So we’ve talked about the history and present of the bow tie, but, what about the future. What kind of future do you think bow ties have a head of them?

I think that bow ties are coming back, for real. Because out on the streets you can see, that a lot of people are wearing bow ties again and I think that’s so great.

I think it’s elegant and it’s just so classy and pretty and I just, I love it.

So I really think, I hope, there will be a lot more people wearing bow ties.

And I know, I’m a really bad example of it, because I don’t wear a bow tie if I’m just going to the city to shop or something. But I should!

I think it will come with time, just not right now.

But I really think bow ties are coming back.


So the business is affecting the way you dress?

Yeah, yeah it is.

When I’m made the first bow ties, I was like, hm, that one is actually really pretty, hm, I should wear one. But then I just put it aside and I didn’t wear one anyway.

It’s a process, but I think it’ll come. It’s a big change for me, because I love to relax and wear casual clothes. I should wear a shirt and a bow tie every day, but that would also be kind of boring in the end. So I think you should wear a bow tie, when YOU really want to wear a bow tie and not because, you think you have to do it – It should feel right.


So for you, dressing is about emotions?

I think so, yeah. Because if you’re feeling it and you have confidence to go out in the city and go shopping, while wearing bow tie, I think it’s pretty cool. But right now, I actually wouldn’t dare to do it, I wouldn’t.


Why wouldn’t you dare, it almost sounds like you’re afraid?

In a way I am afraid, but in another way, I don’t think you should care what other people think about you. You should feel well if you do it and if I did it, I wouldn’t feel good about it.

It would be transformation, from being a 100% casual, to actually showing a bit of style.

I’m not saying casual clothes can’t be stylish, it can, but I just think it’s a transformation.

You need to trust your instincts and trust yourself to do the right thing and if the right thing for you is to wear a bow tie, then you should do it. Right now, it’s not right for me and that’s why I make them for others, who’ll wear them for me.


So you’re launching on October 1’st?

Yeah, I am.


Do you have anything big planned, privately or professionally?

I’m going out to eat sushi and I have a competition on By Sveiger’s Facebook page, that’ll also launch on October 1’st, where you can win 2 bow ties. So I hope that will bring some feedback and people can see who I am and what the company is all about.

But no, actually not that much, just going out to eat sushi and be happy, that it will be out.

It’s been a lot of hard work founding the company, as you can see.

So, I’m looking forward to it.


I understand your girlfriend is involved with the company too, helping out?

She is, it’s hard to do a business all by yourself and she has a grandmother, who’s educated in sewing, so she knows a lot of stuff about sewing machines and that stuff- She has taught me a lot about sewing machines. So without her, it couldn’t be done, it couldn’t.

But I also think, that she’s very happy, that I have help now and I can do it, without using her help, all the time.


So it’s not going to be like a family business?

I don’t know, actually, it could be fun. It could be very fun if, in 50 years when I die, my son and/or daughter will take over, that could be fun. But I don’t know, not right now. But who knows, anything can happen. (laughs)


So you’re not planning that much, just taking it day by day?

I am, day by day. Of course I have some things planned. In the future I would like to make ties also, but that’s in the future and I don’t think about it that much. I know, I should focus on bow ties and bow ties is what I’m best at right now. So for now, it’ll be bow ties all the time, but who knows. Maybe ties and belts and watches will be introduced in the future, but I don’t know yet.

We will see, in the future. Day by day.


To see some fly bow ties, see By Sveiger’s website, Facebook or Instagram.