Gentlemen of Influence: Randy and Randall Hanauer

Gentlemen of Influence: Randy and Randall Hanauer

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Gentlemen of Influence, Part II:

Randy and Randall Hanauer, The Men Behind the Bow Tie

Gentlemen of Influence is a 3-part blog series honoring the American gentleman. As the Gentleman's Bow Tie, R. Hanauer discusses what makes a gentleman in today's culture and hopes to share the qualities possessed by the gentlemen we know, to those who appreciate similar values.
CONTEST: Share a picture of a gentleman in your life using the hashtag #RHGentleman and tag us @rhanauerbowties. One person will win a $150 gift card to R. Hanauer and a featured interview for Part III of our series. Ends Sunday, June 18th at midnight.


Did you ever visit your parent's workplace for a "go to work with dad/mom" day? Well, Randy and Randall Hanauer decided to make it a permanent deal. Since 2008, Randall Hanauer has worked with his father Randy Hanauer, founder of R. Hanauer Bow Ties. The two resemble eachother in both looks and a diehard passion for the men's accessories business and, together, they strive to bring pride to the R. Hanauer name each and every day.
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Questions for Randy (from Randall):

Q: Dad, pretend we have never met and describe our family to me.  

Jayma and I were married in 1970. We did not have Randall until 1982, then we had June 1984. We live on a farm in Union County, North Carolina and are a close knit family because we lived on a farm. Randall and June always had chores to do. Mowing pasture , taking care of horses, cleaning the barn, helping around the house. I would leave the house on Tuesday morning and return Friday evening, traveling the southeast, calling on all my accounts. Jayma had a lot of responsibility taking care of Randall and June, horses, dogs, and barn cats. So, Randall and June had to help. Jayma and I were both raised on farms, and I think it is a great way to raise a family, kids grow up knowing they are responsible for their chores and animals.

Q: What was I like as a kid? Did you ever think I would be working with you in the future?

You were a very easy kid. You were very happy, entertained yourself, loved playing outside. I never imagined that you would be working with me in the business, I thought you would be working for an engineering company. I am sure glad it turned out this way.

Q: What’s the best part about working with family? The hardest part?

The best part is that you know family so well, you don’t have to be guarded about anything. You all have a common goal. Success for the company means success for the family. The hardest part for me is hoping a small apparel company can succeed for Randall in the future.

Q: When you created R. Hanauer in 1985, what did you want the company to look like 30 years down the road? And what do you hope the company looks like, 30 years from now (that would be 2047)?

I thought it would look very much like it does today. I did think that we would have a group of sales reps around the country selling our line, as opposed Randall and I doing all the selling, however, the way we do it is best. With all the changes in retail and consumers, I really believe there will always be a niche market for quality, tasteful products like we make here in Fort Mill.                                    

Q: What was the hardest thing about starting your own business?

Cash. It takes so long to build equity in a company. You cannot take anything out in the early years. You have to pay your employees and vendors on time, as well as your tax liabilities.

Q: If there’s one thing you wish people knew about R. Hanauer, what would it be?

I wish more people knew about R. Hanauer. Consumers tend to get hooked on big brand names that have a large assortment of products and a very large marketing budget. Most of these companies do not make anything, they source products all over the world. They receive the finished product in their warehouse and ship it. We design and color our cloth, we bring the fabric into our workshop. We have to make all the patterns to make all our different products. We cut the fabric and sew it. Then it gets inspected and packaged and shipped. We are involved in every step of the product.

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Questions for Randall (from Randy):

Q: Randall, what it was like to grow up as Randall Hanauer, Jr. and what does your family look like now?

I was raised with traditional values and was taught the importance of hard work and personal accountability. Growing up on the farm was idyllic, my sister and I have such great memories of our childhood there.   Plus I had the benefit of access to the finest bowties!  Now I have a wife and a son, Randall III “Trey”, and we intend to instill the same values in him.

Q: What was I like as a dad? Did you ever think you would be working with me in the future?

You were (and still are) very hardworking and I’ve always admired you for that. I remember how excited we all were on Friday nights when you would get home and the four of us would spend the evening together- so happy! You have always been the epitome of a gentleman which set an example for me to follow. Growing up, and even into my college years, I didn’t really consider working for the family business.  You and mom were great about not pushing me into it. So I found my way here in 2008 and I can’t imagine doing anything else.  


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Q: What’s the best part about working with family? The hardest part?

Gaining two years of professional experience outside of the family business was a prerequisite for me to begin working at R. Hanauer, and the difference between working for someone else as opposed to working with family is substantial. Looking back on those first two years before working at R. Hanauer, I had a job that I got paid to do well, but i didn’t have the added responsibility of driving the ship. Whereas, running a small family business requires the flexibility to wear many hats. Earlier in the spring we lost our only cutter (which was a big loss because it is a full-time position, and since everything is made-to-order, production stops without a cutter), so dad did all the cutting while I found a replacement and developed the new line--something we would typically do together. So we’ll negotiate my commission increase when you see sales skyrocket in the Fall!  

I would say the best part about working with family is our loyalty and dedication to common goals. An added bonus is that we get to take our dogs to work! The hardest part is that, because of our loyalty and dedication, certain business decisions can become personal, and conflicting views of those decisions can be difficult.

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Q: What do you hope the company looks like, 30 years from now (that would be 2047)?

I want to grow this business into a valuable and desirable asset for a third generation to take over some day. In 30 years, if I’m not retired, I hope to be working with Trey (and/or another son or daughter?).

Q: If you could pick one of our bow ties to wear every day, what would it be?

I wouldn’t, but if I had to, it would be one of the Kensington Stripes because they are easy to coordinate with shirts and pocket squares and the English-woven cloth is durable (tightly woven, no beard abrasion) and ties a nice knot. If I had to choose just one, it would be the Red/Navy Kensington.

Q: If there’s one thing you wish people knew about R. Hanauer, what would it be?

I wish more people knew about R. Hanauer. We do everything ourselves: we design the patterns, make the bow ties and ship the finished products...all from our shop in Fort Mill.

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