By Betsy Rothstein - 01/26/09 05:42 PM EST
President Obama has inspired many products in his time — everything from martinis, wine and mugs to T-shirts, tattoos and even the perfume Obama Mama, which was sold outside the Pepsi Center at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.
Last week a D.C. lawyer, Cara Grayer Johnson, got to beam with pride as several VIPs attending Inaugural events wore Obama ties she designed through her company, Ella Rose. Those who purchased or wore her ties included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and actors Samuel L. Jackson and Louis Gossett Jr. Gov. Tim Kaine wore one last week in the Virginia Legislature.
Johnson started her design company in 2007 with her mother and sister to raise money for charitable causes of their choosing. “We give a portion of our sales to things that create opportunity,” she said. “We like to call ourselves an ethical fashion company where essentially we design things where we can give a profit of our sale to an organization that does that.”
The lawyer/designer says she created the Obama tie with both her father’s and husband’s roots in mind. Her father hails from Mississippi; her husband from Alabama. “The ties were designed to salute him [Obama] and also salute the people that helped him get to this point,” she said. “I just kept the style in mind of what my husband and father would wear.”
There are two styles: the classical Obama and the O44.
Johnson said there has been a lot of celebrity and Wall Street interest in the all-silk $95 ties. “You can’t buy them on the street,” she said, noting that so far 250 ties had sold. A portion of the sales will support Global Kids, a nonprofit organization that helps children in urban areas become successful students and community leaders.
Johnson attended Inauguration with her husband and father, both of whom bundled up in coats, gloves, scarves and of, course, the tie. “We probably should have designed hats,” she joked.
For more information about the ties, visit www.ellarosecollection.com.