During his deployment as a U.S. military pilot in Kuwait, Adam Lucero’s free time was tied up in knots.
When he wasn’t flying Black Hawk helicopters, the 29-year-old worked on a new invention, the GoTie.
“My bed looked like a murder scene of ties,” Lucero said.
For 2 1/2 years, Lucero fumbled with Windsor knot designs to try to marry fashion and convenience. His idea finally threaded together last year, shortly after he returned to his home state of Colorado.
The microfiber GoTie features a fixed, pre-tied knot held together by high-powered magnets. The length of the necktie can be adjusted through the knot.
Best of all, Lucero said, the knot doesn’t look fake.
“There was the clip-on tie and the zipper tie, but they looked cheap,” he said. “You can always tell when they’re not authentic.”
The part-time military pilot, who now lives in Las Vegas, launched the GoTie website earlier this month. Its official Facebook page has more than 2,000 likes.
Lucero said he first experienced the inconvenience and frustration of tying a tie during stints as a car salesman and real estate agent. Inspiration for the GoTie came to him during a daydream.
He was in the middle of a weeklong drive from flight school in Alabama to a military post in Alaska when he started imagining that he was in “The Apprentice” board room, marketing inventions to Donald Trump. Lucero imagined Trump wearing a red double-Windsor knot tie, motioning to his collar and asking, “How do you make my tie better?”
The question motivated Lucero. Once he arrived in Alaska, he immediately began sketching ideas. Lucero is a Black Hawk pilot in the Alaska Army National Guard. He has been in the military for 12 years.
Lucero fashioned the first GoTie from two old ties and a Porsche brochure made from thick card stock. He cut up the brochure to shape an immovable Windsor knot. (He now drives a Porsche, covered in chrome and GoTie logos.) Lucero continued to work on the necktie’s construction during his deployment to Kuwait. He said that many of his military friends thought he was crazy but supported him.
Today, the GoTie retails for $39.99. Lucero sold his first last week.
Even as a child, Lucero tinkered with inventions.
“I was always thinking, ‘How do I reinvent something to make it better?’” he said.
Lucero frequently walked through stores to scrutinize products.
Before the GoTie, Lucero invented a gun-cleaning kit for the military. He said there was some interest in it, but no deals came to fruition.
He also toyed with the idea of inventing a tent with a skylit roof but decided the consumer demographic was too narrow.
GoTies, Lucero said, can be used by people from every walk of life. He swears his product will shave 10 minutes off of a person’s morning routine.
“I haven’t heard one bad thing about the tie yet,” Lucero said.
Most of the GoTies’ fans have discovered the tie through word of mouth. But Lucero also has invested in online advertising, buying ads on Facebook and YouTube. So far, he has released three YouTube commercials.
In one, a man tries to tie a regular tie repeatedly before getting frustrated and giving up. The man moves to a clip-on tie, only to have it pulled off by a date, who looks at him in disbelief and storms off. Finally, a dashing Javier Bardem lookalike easily slips on a GoTie and whisks the woman away.
For a few years, the only people who knew about Lucero’s budding invention were his close friends and family. After he left the military, Lucero temporarily moved back in with his parents. He could be found drawing tie schematics at the kitchen table most nights, often working into the early morning.
“When I was the most tired, that was when I was the most creative,” Lucero said.
Countless late nights and rejected designs later, Lucero completed the GoTie. He had spent $35,000 buying ties and making prototypes. To fund his dream, Lucero sold his beloved yellow Lamborghini, went back to his job as a car salesman and got a real estate license.
“She was my dream car but I was willing to do whatever it took to make my GoTie dream a reality,” he said. “I just kept praying.”
In March, he received a $150,000 investment from Terry Sudut, a businessman he met in a gym where they share a personal trainer. Sudut recently invested another $100,000 in GoTie.
The money allowed Lucero to get a patent and move to Las Vegas. He said he decided to base his business here because of the valley’s tourism opportunities and the state’s business-friendly climate.
“There’s a great mix of people, good tax incentives for businesses, reasonable international flight prices and fashion shows,” Lucero said.
Lucero also used the investment money to travel to China to meet with manufacturers. He hand picked 25 GoTie patterns from 4,000 choices and left with 900 GoTies.
He poked fun at himself for his newfound profession in men’s fashion.
“I’m just an average American guy who wears T-shirts and jeans,” he said.