When Bjorn Borstelmann invented the Tie Tee, a T-shirt with an attached necktie, he created a symbol for the kind of leaders the world desperately needs – ones that work for the betterment of the planet instead of merely profiting from its destruction. By commandeering the iconic shape of the necktie and attaching it to the collar of a 100% organic T-shirt, Tie Tees have redefined business casual – and given it a purpose.
Bjorn grew up in the rural mountains of the Wild West, where his outsider perspective of the hustle of society made it easy to see the business suit had become a classist symbol of unfettered greed, corruption, and lies. Uneasy with the distractions of consumer culture and the corporate-fascism that controls them, Bjorn created the Tie Tee to challenge the key icon of a fundamentally undemocratic system that’s spiraling out of control.
What are you working on right now?
Getting the word out that there’s an alternative to the business suit! The response so far has been really encouraging – people from all over the world are showing their support for Tie Tees. I’m having a lot of fun popping perceptions of what professionalism looks and acts like – it’s like jumping up and down on bubble wrap.
What are 3 trends that excite you?
Overconsumption, climate change, and mass extinction. Sorry to ruin the optimism around here, but if you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention! The current state of our habitat is the biggest challenge our species has ever faced. Are we going to confront the real issues, or are we going to keep following the “leaders” that just add more and more fuel to the fire? I vote for dethroning them – we don’t have time to screw around anymore. We all need to expect the worst, and then do everything we can to prevent it.
What do you think needs to be done?
Everything that needs to be done is already common knowledge… we just need to disempower the suits who’ve been getting in the way.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always say the difference between thinking and doing is doing.
What inspires you?
It’s become painfully obvious that if our civilization doesn’t evolve, it’s not going to survive. I’m inspired by the people driving this evolution; activists and social entrepreneurs who have no problem leaving business as usual in the dust. Even people who just take a minute to find out where the stuff they buy comes from and what that means to the world give me hope. They’re facing the facts and facing the future – that’s real leadership.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I made a mistake spending an hour trying to answer this question! Nothing seems all that significant in hindsight, so I guess I’ve learned that mistakes don’t really matter.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Grow your own food – then you don’t need a business.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
An empty notebook and an empty mind that gets plenty of time outside.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Kalle Lasn, founder of Adbusters Magazine.
Any last thoughts?
Think for yourself!
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.