Company Rents Ties and Other Accessories to Men, by Subscription

PHOTO: CEO David Goldbergs company, FreshNeck, offers men a subscriptions to ties.FreshNeck
CEO David Goldberg's company, FreshNeck, offers men a subscriptions to ties and accessories.

For the majority of his career, David Goldberg, 31, has had to wear a suit and tie to work. Like many men, he said he eventually gets bored with the ties he owns.

When he was working at the financial services firm Merrill Lynch, he and his male colleagues participated in a tie-swap, sharing their ties with each other, three at a time.

He then came up with the idea for an accessories subscription company for men: FreshNeck. He describes it as similar to movie streaming and DVD delivery firm Netflix or women's clothing and accessories rental site, Rent the Runway.

"I always felt forced to wear ties and all that stuff, but it's sort of an aesthetic accessory," said Goldberg, who is an attorney by training. "If you're going to do it just for looks, to express your personality, and to add a shot of color to an outfit, why wear the same ones over and over?"

He said he also felt inspired about two and a half years ago, when heard that Rent the Runway had received startup funding.

"It struck me as genius," Goldberg said. "I wondered, 'How do we do this for men?'"

The company, based in New York City, had a soft-launch on Dec. 24 and opened to the public on Jan. 3 with about 150 members.

Three memberships range from $15 for three items a month to $55 for more items. The more you pay for a membership, the greater your access to higher-end ties and accessories, like those of Prada and Gucci.

About a quarter of FreshNeck's inventory is produced by niche designers.

"Our collection tends to skew to bold and unique items, like conversation starters," he said.

They're products about which people say while shopping, "I love that, but I can only wear that once."

In addition to ties, subscribers can rent tie clips and pocket squares.

Memberships are paid month-to-month and Goldberg said members come from all over the country.

When asked what some of the obstacles the company faced in its development, Goldberg said people questioned whether men care about fashion.

"The answer was yes. Especially here in New York City, it's kind of a no-brainer," Goldberg said.

With tight closet space in small New York apartments, the ability to rent accessories is more appealing, he said.

Trending now are bow-ties and pocket squares, especially for non-office use, he said.

Beyond that, narrower widths are popular as are a variety of tie fabrics, like wool, cotton, cashmere and linen.

If you happen to get a minor stain on a tie or accessory, cleaning is on the house, Goldberg said. For major fixer-uppers, FreshNeck will charge you $8. If you lose your tie, you buy them.

If you happen to like the tie that you rented, you can keep it and pay a discounted retail rate.

The company has style recommendations that match the tie you choose, such as showing appropriate cuff links and pocket squares.

You can also buy a membership as a gift for someone. "Wives can buy memberships for their husbands," he added.