"When the conversation about the boutonniere began, I said I didn't want to take the traditional route," recalled Elias on a conversation with his then-fiancé. "I was thinking about something unique, something I could keep."
A stroll past a midtown NYC button shop proved serendipitous, as Elias spotted a silk button that resembled a flower and the idea was birthed for the wedding accessory he and his groomsmen would wear for the big day.
"I wore it around and to work and a lot of people liked it," recalled Elias, in between sips of a latte at the quaint Nolita patisserie, Ceci-Cela. "I started making a few as a hobby."
The hobby, and that initial silk button, has since evolved in the nearly two years since Elias first conceived the pin from silk button to metal bees, fleur de lis and rose pins. The initial response was a good learning experience, despite less than positive wholesale results. Elias presented the product to large retailers who liked the collection, but thought the product less than substantial.
“One upscale retailer said the pins were beautiful, but weren’t substantial enough,” Elias recalled.
With the advice, Elias and his team reworked the production and streamlined the selection. The rebrand proved successful. In the late summer of 2014 By Elias and A Custom, a quaint Greenwich Village atelier came to a wholesale agreement. This was the first step in widening the brand's audience.
Following that, Garibaldi Lavena, Director of Client Services at Paul Stuart, contacted Elias and a partnership ensued. An exclusive collection was produced for the upscale retailer and, for Elias, a spot in the vitrines of the one of the most respected men's shops in the United States.
By Elias now only produces pins in 14K gold and silver, with a renewed focus on the "elegant finishing touches of both male and female clients."
What Elias stresses throughout our meeting is the importance of the entire experience. From the personalized stationary to the cashmere-lined, custom-made box, no detail is ignored. Harkening back to his childhood rearing or the finishing details.