Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
As a high school freshmen, Hunter Knight had many small jobs around Oxford, such as mowing neighborhood lawns and setting up tailgating tents in the Grove on game days at the University of Mississippi.
That was his first experience running a small business. He gained a steady client list, and it taught him important things, such as customer service, how to budget money and, most importantly, that hard work can pay off.
Knight, 20, who is now a University of Mississippi student, later applied those lessons when he created his own clothing business. The Oxford native graduated from Lafayette High School in 2014 and is currently a UM junior studying marketing. When he is not in class or doing homework, he runs his clothing company, Properly Tied.
Being a full-time student and running a business is a challenge, Knight said. “At times, it is hectic, but scheduling correctly is the key to doing it successfully.”
Knight created Properly Tied at age 17 after designing several T-shirts for high school sports teams and clubs. From there, he created his own clothing line.
After designing a few Southern-inspired T-shirts, in the first few weeks, he earned back all the money he had invested. He has since expanded the Properly Tied line to include button-down shirts, sportswear, outerwear, shorts, various accessories and a children’s line.
At first, Knight only sold products online and ran the company from his parents’ home. Now, the shirts are sold in 285 stores nationwide, and Knight has moved the operation into an office with an attached warehouse in Oxford.
He now has the help of 12 employees All but one are UM students who work part-time.
Knight said one of the first stores that sold his products was in Tupelo. The first time he saw someone he did not know wearing Properly Tied merchandise was at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta. He said the experience was “surreal.” He had to “keep looking up” to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.
According to the Properly Tied website, the company’s products have a Southern theme.”Our designs play off traditional, bold color schemes to compliment the timeless style of the South,” the website reads.
“The more I see people in Properly Tied, the more it becomes something I appreciate,” said Knight.“It is always exciting to see my customer base enjoying Properly Tied products.”
Knight said it’s sometimes hard being a young business owner, but it hasn’t been much of an issue. “With everything being so Internet-based, most of our retailers and customers were unaware of my age for the longest time,” he said.
Properly Tied’s first full-time employee was Austin Desadier, who is five years older than Knight. “I enjoy working for someone so young because I love being able to relate to someone closer to my age,” Desadier said.
Desadier previously worked for another apparel company in Louisiana and knew what to expect. He said he wanted to help make Properly Tied a success.
After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2018, Knight hopes to expand Properly Tied into more retail locations. That would involve creating new designs and producing new apparel.
Knight said he may eventually move the company base to a big city like Dallas or Atlanta, where they travel to markets several times a year showing their products.
Wherever Properly Tied takes Knight, he said he will always call Oxford his home and remember where his ever-growing company started.
He said he has gone from begging his mother to work for him while he was in school to something larger than he could have imagined in the three years since launching Properly Tied.