DressTiez “clothing protectors” (aka bibs) serve a function which, heretofore, only napkins and eating like an adult were able to address: keeping one’s lunch off of one’s shirt.
Founded by a father-and-son team, the company intends for their product to compliment fancy office attire and keep dry-cleaning bills down – even if it comes at the expense of a little dignity.
Michael Tanney: We actually don’t refer to them as bibs, the reason being is that ‘bibs’ usually have a negative connotation.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Because you think of children. They wear bibs because they are sloppy.
Michael Tanney: Correct.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Did you decide on calling it ‘clothing protector’ or is there a larger group of people who make similar products and that’s the agreed upon term?
Michael Tanney: No, this is our term. The thing is that we came up with this name and this concept. It is unique product. Up until now, there has been no product out there that has been stylish, trendy, and fashionable that does the job this does.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Let’s get to that. I want to don my clothing protector. You were nice enough to ask me which one I wanted, I selected the classic black. These are pretty natty, that is what is attractive.
For someone who is in the radio-universe, you can’t see us right now, but when they think of a bib, they think of a lobster bib. Explain the difference between your clothing protector and that default bib.
Michael Tanney: The concept here is to have a light and portable accessory that can be easily taken out of your pocket but it does a very big job. It took us a very long time to come up with a formulation that does what it is supposed to do.
Brendan Francis Newnam: It folds up to the size of a passport, when it’s folded up, there’s a little mesh bag that it comes in. It has a velcro back, which is very easy to adjust the size; I have kind of a skinny neck. What I like about this immediately is that I have a long torso and my whole torso into the beginning of my lap – and that is the shelf where a lot of my food ends up – is covered.
Michael Tanney: We design it to be a precise length that would work well with people that are tall, short, and medium height, and protect the essential area.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Now, when you say we, I assume you are talking about your son. Where is he in this idea?
Michael Tanney: The idea. My son is a Wall Street guy and he dresses up very nicely every day. After a one month period he had complained to me that he had destroyed three expensive ties and that’s when the light bulb went off that was the beginning of DressTiez.
Brendan Francis Newnam: So your son on Wall Street is a sloppy eater? You raised him his whole life…
Michael Tanney: He is very, very neat and careful, but this is a problem that every one of us has had on a repeated basis. It has happened to me dozens and dozens of times and I’m sure there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t spilled something on their clothes. There are many special applications for this. For example, people go to business lunches and they worry about their next meeting and worry about that spaghetti sauce on their tie, their blouse, their suit, and looking foolish at their next meeting. Your confidence is stripped away and things change when you walk into a meeting looking like that. So this solves an important need.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Agreed, but the other side, is you are wearing this while you are eating a meal, and this is not what everyone wears so you are sticking out a little bit.
Michael Tanney: Absolutely. Up until now, you are not going to see anybody except for the few that take a napkin and throw it in their collar or throw their tie back, something like this we don’t see. We think that people are willing to change their lifestyles if it is simple and yet provides a service to them.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I want to ask [other diners] what their thoughts are. Do you mind if I ask these people?
What is your name?
Brendan Francis Newnam: What do you think of two guys wearing these? He’s wearing a purple one, I’m wearing a black one. What do you think?
Charmine: That’s cute because you see a lot of guys, they spill food on their ties or on the front of their shirts. That’s cute. That’s a good idea.
Brendan Francis Newnam: If your brother or husband, you wouldn’t think it was weird to wear kind of a bib, we call them a clothing protector?
Charmine: Not at all. Especially my brother.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Is he a sloppy eater?
Charmine: Yes he is. He always has stuff on the front of his shirt. That’s a good idea.
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right. Thanks for your feedback. See that people are going for it.
Michael Tanney: That’s sort of the reaction that we normally get.
Brendan Francis Newnam: So say this train takes off, what are the rules now? Let’s make the rules of clothing protectors. If I go to the restroom what should I do with my clothing protector? Keep it on, fold it up, what do I do?
Michael Tanney: Well, actually there are no rules yet, so we’re gonna have to figure out if there needs to be any, but I don’t think there needs to be any. If you want to take it off, take it off. If you want to leave it on, leave it on.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I’m thinking take it off. You come out of the bathroom wearing one of these things I don’t know that might strike someone as awkward.
Michael Tanney: That’s a possibility.
Brendan Francis Newnam: So how much do these cost?
Michael Tanney: They start from $29.99. We wanted to make it reasonable so that there would be no objection to price. We go up to $88 for some of the custom ones made with vintage fabric.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Vintage fabric from like Dom Deluise’s chef’s jacket?
Michael Tanney: Like this 30 year old beautiful paisley. It is over 30 years old, it comes from the 70s.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I would be scared to eat with it. I would need a clothing protector for my clothing protector.
Michael Tanney: That’s a funny concept.
Brendan Francis Newnam: And you can buy one of those for me too.
Michael Tanney: Good Idea.