Crayon Lacing is on a mission to spice up the wardrobes of traditional businessmen one pair of colorful, waxed shoelaces at a time. This month, we sat down with co-founder and Charlotte native Bennett Rainey to talk about his sartorial start-up and the pair of colored laces that are enhancing more than just wingtips.
Colorful shoelaces for dress shoes. That’s a pretty offbeat idea. How did you come up with it? My business partner Marc Rigsby and I met working on a class project at Wake Forest Law School. We became friends and ended up talking a lot about our business ideas. One of them was colored, wax shoelaces – we had never seen them in stores, but we wanted them, and we figured other guys did too. It worked for us because the idea was solid, and it didn’t require too much capital or too much time to get off the ground.
North Carolina isn’t known for its fashion savvy – why start here? Well, I’ve lived in Charlotte my whole life. And also, men in general are becoming more interested in wearing colorful accessories to show their personality and whether you work at law firm here in Charlotte or on Wall Street in New York, these laces are something men will be proud to wear. It’s a high quality brand and product.
Which lace color is your favorite? Robin Egg. It adds a lot of pop, but is still subtle. I also like Seahawk Teal, which benefits the University of Charlotte at Wilmington’s Swim and Dive team.
That’s an interesting partnership. Tell me more about it. I swam at UNCW for four years – it helped me to develop into the person that I am. When the university announced this past summer that they were thinking about cutting the swim team because it wasn’t generating enough money, it was a huge shock to me. I wanted to help, and one thing I could do was sell laces in school colors and give $2/pair back to the team. It’s not a lot, but if everyone does that little bit they can do, it makes a big difference.
Has the initiative been successful? We’ve seen a lot of success with the project. I was surprised by how many people loved the idea of laces in school colors, so now we’re trying to expand to other schools.
Any other plans for the future? Currently, our laces are only available online and a few stores in Charleston, W.V., which is where my business partner lives. Right now, we're focusing on getting them into more stores - especially here in Charlotte.