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TOLC Story

Who founded The Original Laces Company?

The idea for the Original Laces Company was born late 2012 and the business was later founded early 2014 by Ian Bates of Maldon, England - where the famous oysters and seasalt comes from.

It all started when Bates bought a pair of Ted Baker tan brogues at London Heathrow Airport on his way to Hong Kong. They were supplied with two sets of laces including a light blue pair. The laces broke a few months later as is normal and he went in search of a replacement pair. He ended up importing them from Canada for about £20 and these laces are still going strong and have been machine washed several times.

He approached the manufacturer in Canada and a couple or UK-based producers, but neither could provide what was required to offer a flexible, rapid, bespoke service where embossed/branded metal tipped aglets are hand-secured to the end of laces cord of varying lengths, colours and designs.

Production takes place in the garden shed which keeps costs tightly under control. The metal aglets are applied individually by hand using a machine called a ‘hand punch’. This secures the metal aglets to the laces cord or ribbon. A small amount of special glue is also applied which is resistant to water and extreme temperatures (-30° to +130°). Belt and braces for sure, but there is an assumption that some customers will want to clean their laces in a washing machine.

Laces can be so boring, but when you add colour, embossed metal aglets in different finishes, make them properly from decent materials and present them beautifully, they become visual art, a great fashion accessory as well as an unusual gift or promotional item. Maybe a pair a colour laces with matching socks? 

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