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All Tied Up with Kwame Jackson of The Apprentice

08/01/2008 06:13 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Before appearing on the first season of Donald Trump's reality show/contest, The Apprentice, Kwame Jackson had earned a wealth of experience in the business of selling. Since losing, he's earned just as much in the business of dreaming. After being ditched by he Donald, Jackson was wooed by several Wall Street firms, television networks and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He turned them all down and opted to work for the best company he knew: himself. From speaking engagements on the international circuit to real estate deals to television consulting, he's traveled down the long -- and sometimes difficult -- road of self examination and entrepreneurship. Four years later the road has led him to a place Jackson feels he's destined to be: head of his own fashion label, KrimsonKwame.


As he tells it Krimson by Kwame, which primarily retails high-end handmade ties at reasonable prices is not a random project with a random name, but a personal endeavor that has been years in the making.

"I came up with the concept for Krimson by Kwame years ago," he shares. "In my line of work, I always have to wear a suit and tie and I decided that instead of going out and purchasing other brands, I would start my own."

His choice of the name Krimson, is an homage to two important institutes in Jackson's life: Harvard University, where he earned his MBA in business and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, which he's been a member of since his undergraduate days of college. In fact, it was through a chance meeting with a fraternity brother, Corwyn Thomas, that Jackson's dreams of launching this label became a reality.

"As it turns out he already had the infrastructure ready to manufacture the ties and I had the creative vision for the company , and designs for the ties, all laid out."

No wonder then that it's turned out to be a match made in heaven. In the time since Jackson and Thomas joined forces, Krimson by Kwame has evolved from a solid business plan to solid sales at select Belk's and Macy's stores across the country. On a recent visit to Macy's flagship Herald Square store in New York City, I stood with Jackson at my side as we watched a diverse and steady stream of men flock to the Krimson by Kwame tie rack on the first floor. When I asked them what made them gravitate to the Krimson ties, as opposed to the more famous labels right next to it, they cited the vivid colors and ornate patterns.

As customer after customer approached the ties, many turned to Jackson -- who they assumed was a sales associate at Macy's -- for advice. Jackson did not bother to correct them, instead time and again, he gave the men the advice, affirmation and quality customer service they were looking for. Of the eight men we interacted with in roughly fifteen minutes, just about every single one walked away with a tie or two or in one case, seven.

Ironically, the warm, good-natured laid-back style that made him lose on reality T.V, is what will make him win in real life.

To learn more about Krimson by Kwame log on to www.krimsonbykwame.com.