Federal agent Dwight A. Littlejohn invented the product since he must wear ties to work each day. We interviewed Littlejohn before the episode aired. When asked how the idea came about 15 years ago, he said, “It is hard to maintain a professional appearance throughout the day. So I needed something that would keep my tie straight and clean. I invented the tie keep to minimize movement, keep the tie straight, and correct some very common tie wearing issues.”
After he created the prototype – which took two hours of cutting a three-button-hole pattern on an old shirt and folding, sewing and cutting the edges- he actually wore it for about two years before ever revealing it to anyone. When he did, people requested their own and suggested he go on to market the product.
His appearance on Shark Tank came after a fellow federal agent and investor sent in an email to casting directors. Littlejohn admits that he was nervous once facing the investors since he does not have any formal business experience. “I am basically a one-man operation with limited time and capital. I figured that would be an issue when I was in front of the Sharks,” he explained. “Plus my business is in very early start up mode and I haven’t done much, considering how busy my career can be. I was nervous about that being a question in the Sharks’ minds.”
As for his future plans, he said:
I ultimately hope to get a or some licensing deals or sell the Tie Keep out right and receive royalties. Over the next five years I’m eligible to retire, so I will begin to set up an affordable custom clothing shop with the intent on doing it full time after I have retired.