They questioned Bowtie’s approach to marketing a cigar when he launched BOW TIE CIGAR Company.
Billie King sees the future of cigar marketing, through his own lens. Both his imagery and video art are definitely being noticed within the industry. Give him his due
ST . LOUIS
Billie King isn’t just building another cigar brand, he is “contributing to cigar culture… his way!”, as he often says and posts. He has coined his style “Editorial Cigar Photography & Editorial Cigar Videography”.
Billie “Bowtie” King is on the way. King, raised in North Chicago, IL., this modern-day renaissance man also known as Mr. Bow Tie – the degreed engineer and physicist from both Howard and Xavier University of Louisiana respectively, works a regular 9 to 5 during the day and spends the rest of his time building his brand and being a family man.
The visual aesthetic strategy taken by Bowtie, related to his advertisements, injects uniqueness into traditional cigar marketing. King says, “Cigar culture is rich in history and tradition. As
a student of the culture, especially from the marketing standpoint, I intend to contribute greatly and respectfully to it, whilst remaining true to my roots and who I am as an individual.” He paints this magnificently with a broad stroke that is exquisite all his own.
This beautiful image was created by media mogul Samantha Ramirez, based a Bowtie’s vision. The concept of strength mixed beauty is obviously captured in this image. July 2014 (Photo Credit: Samofftharecord)
Since 2009, Bowtie has worked to develop the visual look for his brand’s marketing. Photoshoots have always been a large part of his approach. He decided early that his brand’s look and feel had to be different than other cigar brands. This is something he learned from early hip-hop artists. King says, “different than today, hip-hop artists of the early days prided themselves on not sounding like any other artist. Of course, influence existed. However, history clearly documents this and having an individual sound was respected and highly regarded. My thinking is the exact same, as it relates to my brand’s look. Cigar brands like Fuente (extremely traditional), Tatuaje (a hybrid of traditional & extreme), and CAO (their use of vibrant colors) are great examples I’ve studied.” However, my brand’s look has evolved over a decade of photoshoots and video projects.” This is evident by the photoshoots and videos that King posts on his website and other social media platforms.
Inspired by a Prada photoshoot from 2013, model St. Louis entrepreneur and Model KylaRican embodied the very essence of the BOW TIE CIGAR brand, while allowing her own unique personality to shine through. (Photo Credit: Andre Everett)
BOW TIE CIGAR originally started out as an un-banded five cigar package, infused with Lebanese coffee, packaged in a plain no logo Ziploc bag. King says, “at the onset of this journey, I was buying cigar bundles and after trying out dozens of different coffees, selected a Lebanese blend that once infused, the cigar was utterly delicious and smelled wonderful
when smoked. The taste and bouquet turned many heads when I fired one up in a public space, back when it was still legal to smoke inside restaurants and hotel bars.” From those humble beginnings, the line has evolved into arguably one of the greatest-designed cigar 5-pack presentations in the entire industry. The 5-pack cigar package is truly his lane and it’s very clear that he gives as much attention to this aesthetic as he does to the blends themselves.
If this were fashion, the 5-pack would be Bowtie’s capsule collection; a curated minimalist selection of classic pieces that work together seamlessly and accentuate all occasions, as it will not go out of style. King says, “the quotidian of premium cigars is the luxury of artisan craftsmanship. This luxury is intentionally designed into my packaging.” This philosophy will always be the common thread in everything he does.
From left to right: STL Model Coca doing a rooftop photoshoot in ( Aug 2017 ); STL Model Kelsie was hired to create cigar art using an old school photobooth (M ay 2017 ); STL Model LaStarr did her thing in Bowtie’s project entitled “The Beauty Within” ( Oct 2017 ) . STL Model/Hair & MUA Brittanie took King’s “ Trench Coat” project to another level ( Dec 2016 ). (Photo Credit: Bowtie)
“74 times a charm”; what do you mean by this?
“In the movie ‘My Cousin Vinny’, Joe Pesci played an attorney. Regarding attempts at passing the bar exam he said, ‘for me, six times was a charm’. I have always appreciated these words because his character never gave up. In 2006, I needed to find a company to work with. Not having any relationships within the cigar industry, I started cold calling every cigar company phone number I found on Google. Between June 2006 and December 2007, I made hundreds of phone calls, typically reaching out to the same company multiple times. Seventy-three said no. The seventy-fourth company gave me a shot. A private label deal.”
King, seen here directing model’s onset in October 2017, for a shoot paying homage to famous “Supermodel” photographer Peter Lindbergh. They accomplished a cigar photoshoot like none has ever seen, respectfully filled with beauty & sex appeal. It created quite the buzz within the St. Louis cigar community
How did you go about coming up with your four cigar blends?
“I realized that spending 6-12 months in a cigar factory every day learning to blend was not feasible for my situation. So…I spent six months developing my palate by sampling various types of tastes, everything from dirt and mud to freshly cut and dry grasses to fruits and vegetables to spices and herbs to multiple types of cigar leaves and much more! My thinking was to become extremely good at clearly describing to the master blender what I want my blend idea to taste like using the simplest terms, as we create it together at the cigar factory.”
From left to right: JAX Model Maria posing for “ Bellissimo Marrone ” photoshoot in ( Jun 2017); JAX Model Jaiden brought allure to Bowtie’s “Contrast” Photoshoot ( Jan 2017); JAX Model Amanda completely understood Bowtie’s project entitled “ A Man’s Suit ” ( Aug 2018 ). JAX Model Kristina was wonderful in the “Ginger” inspired shoot ( Mar 2021 ). (Photo Credit: Martin Torres)
Bowtie, dressed in a denim jacket, hip-hop t-shirt, jeans, and Chuck Taylors, (his daily garments of choice) has a humble disposition about him, yet is obviously confident and driven.
Like many others with dreams of having their “own something”, King decided to pursue his. Some of the best advice he ever received early on was from a kind stranger sitting next to him at the bar of Morton’s in Clayton, MO. “The gentleman and his daughter were celebrating a large contract his small business obtained the day before, after taking out a loan for equipment. I mentioned not wanting to take a loan for anything. He said, ‘that is called growing your business organically. Understand, it will probably take you much longer that way. You must be okay with that.’ Those simple words truly put this journey into perspective for me.”
In 2018, a series of photoshoots covering five cities was conducted, affectionately entitled, “The Abandoned Series” These images were taken in E. St. Louis, IL. (Photo Credit: Fred Finch)
Each cigar blend wearing the BOW TIE CIGAR name is outfitted with a different color bow tie. The current offerings include:
- 314 – RED LABEL BOW TIE
- COPPER LABEL BOW TIE
- COUTURE – WHITE LABEL BOW TIE
- PLATINUM LABEL BOW TIE
The first photo shoot of 2022 (February); King himself created this project, continuing the Editorial Cigar Photography look he has made his signature style. (Photo Credit: Wesley Law)
Plans are currently being made to visit the cigar factory this year, as Bowtie has two new cigars blend ideas in mind and wants to get to the business of creating them with the master blender in Santiago, DR. King says, “who would have thought a guy from North Chicago, where absolutely no cigar factories or tobacco farms exist, would be blessed to sit/blend with and learn from a true master blender creating a cigar that I taste in my mind. It is truly one of the greatest experiences of my life!”
In the latest photoshoot of 2022; King partnered with St. Louis’s newest Model Devonne Kay to create a shoot inspired by a vintage aesthetic, mixed with today’s styling.
(Photo Credit: Andre Everett)
“Special recognition goes out to all the wonderful team members that support me in the effort to create the beautiful images within this article, Including Brittanie, JSuper, Andre Everitt, Fred Finch, Tyrone Leslie and Martin Torres. Also, to the entire team at Las Lavas Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.”
If you want to learn more about BOW TIE CIGAR and Bowtie’s brand, visit:
Youtube: bowtie cigars
Facebook: bowtie cigar
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.
Buying Land For The First Time? 4 Mistakes To Avoid
Whether planning to build commercial buildings, rentals, or your dream home, buying land can be exciting yet overwhelming. The buying process may seem easy and seamless, but it requires careful consideration to avoid making a lifetime mistake.
Land buying requires extensive research to find the best land rates and location that fits your needs. Unfortunately, many first-timers fail in this area, buying unproductive lands or areas with low security, and some even fall victim to fraud.
If you’re a first-timer looking to purchase land, here are four mistakes to avoid:
- Skimping On Research
The first mistake many first-time land buyers make is skimping on research. You must conduct thorough research to understand the current market valuations and to make informed decisions. Here are some of the reasons why research is crucial for your investment scheme:
- Understand Market Value
One of the most important reasons why research is crucial is that it helps you understand whether or not you’re getting a fair price. It’ll help you understand the various factors affecting the land value too, such as the location and property age. From there, you can estimate the price and create a reasonable budget.
- Choose The Best Location
The location of the land is crucial, especially when you have kids or when building rentals and commercial buildings. For one, you must choose land with access to roads, electricity, water, and other facilities, such as hospitals and schools. And researching will help you get the precise location that fits these needs.
- Identify Potential Hazards
If the land you want to purchase faces significant concerns, like legal disputes and environmental problems, researching will help you spot it. You’ll find articles about such disagreements, and you can conclude to help you make informed decisions.
- Understand Zoning And Land-Use Regulations
Land-use and zoning regulations dictate how you can use land in specific areas. There are areas where only commercial buildings are allowed, while others only allow residential ones. Therefore, researching will help you determine the best zone that suits your intentions.
- Evaluate The Developer’s Credibility
Research helps you evaluate the seller’s credibility as well. You can check if they’re authorized operators with an operating license. Plus, you can examine if they have a good record by reading reviews from other clients.
Generally, research will help you understand how to choose land for your home that suits your requirements to help you avoid costly mistakes and make sound decisions.
- Underestimating Your Expenses
Another mistake most first-time land buyers make is underestimating their expenses. There’s more to buying land than making the downpayment for the real estate deal. There are other hidden costs associated with land buying, such as closing costs, land clearing or site preparations, utilities-associated costs, property taxes, and zoning fees. Understand your expenses and make reasonable adjustments to your budget to avoid surprises.
- Not Hiring Qualified Professionals
As mentioned, buying land can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. You need the proper documentation and know your way around the buying process, which is impossible if you’ve never purchased one.
Therefore, hiring qualified professionals is an excellent approach for better investments. They’ll help you with legal protection, property inspection, and expertise. Here’s a list of the experts you need to get your money’s worth:
- Realtor: The law allows you to buy land yourself. But it’s not advisable for first-timers like you. Hire a real estate agent as they better understand the market, have access to the off-book listings, negotiation skills, and legal access.
- Real estate attorney: You can buy land without an attorney too, yet you’ll need one for legal advice, dispute resolution, and contract review.
- Environmental Consultant: When buying land in areas that have environmental concerns due to industrial activities, it’s crucial to have an environmental consultant inspect them before buying for compliance with applicable regulations.
- Surveyor: A surveyor will help you determine land boundaries when they’re unclear. Further, they’ll prepare a survey document you can use once you purchase the land.
These professionals will help you avoid the common mistakes, and pitfalls investors fall into when buying land. However, the expertise you need will depend on the purpose of the land. For instance, you may need an architect if you plan to erect a building, but you won’t need one for an irrigation scheme.
- Visiting The Site Only Once
Another major mistake first-timers make when buying land is conducting a single site visit. One visit isn’t enough to assure you about the land’s condition. Ensure you revisit the land several times to gather information about the location and the utilities available in the area.
In addition, several visits will allow you to interact with the neighbors who can offer insider insights to help you negotiate better deals. They’re likely to know the owner, and such information will keep you safe from fraudsters.
Conclusion Generally, purchasing land for the first time can be daunting, especially when you don’t hire experienced professionals. It’s vital to research adequately to avoid making the common mistakes many first-timers make. Follow the guidelines highlighted in this discussion to make sound decisions and avoid unnecessary costs.
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]