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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

Ashford.com ties in new merchandise

Upscale e-tailer Ashford.com branches out from selling jewelry and watches today, opening up a tie and scarf boutique.

Upscale e-tailer Ashford.com branched out from selling jewelry and watches today, opening up a tie and scarf boutique.

The new shop includes accessories from high-end designers such as Echo, Mondo di Marco, Richel, and Jacobs Roberts. The items come in a range of styles, colors, and prices.

Ashford's tie shop opens as the company and other Net stores gear up for the holiday season by rounding out their offerings. In recent months, Nordstrom opened an online shoe store; eToys debuted a new Idea Center for gift recommendations; and e-commerce giant Amazon.com expanded into toys and electronics, as well as opened its zShops area for third-party retailers.

Ashford.com chief executive Kenny Kurtzman said the company chose to enter tie sales because they represent a big opportunity online, and they complement Ashford.com's other luxury products. Even though tie sales are a $2.5 billion market, Kurtzman said that Ashford.com doesn't have any "significant competitors" online.

"We're really excited about it," Kurtzman said. "It's a great addition to our product line."

As part of Ashford.com's tie boutique, customers can "try on" items virtually. The new feature lets users click on a tie and place it next to a particular suit jacket or shirt, giving them the ability to mix and match clothing.

Ashford.com has also included a search feature on the site that allows consumers to search for ties based on brand, color, pattern, and price range.

Kurtzman said the "Try It On" feature is just the first step in using technology to help customers shop on Ashford.com. Next year, he said, the company plans to allow customers to submit a picture of themselves and try on the companies products virtually, superimposing ties, watches, and sunglasses over the picture.

"That technology is out there right now," Kurtzman said. "It just isn't ready to be implemented."

Based in Houston, Ashford.com began selling luxury watches on the Web as NewWatch in April 1998. The company changed its name to Ashford.com in May.

Ashford.com also joins Macy's, Nordstrom, Thetieclub.com, and Ties.com in selling neckware on the Net.

In recent months, the company has expanded its offerings to include fine pens, designer sunglasses, fragrances, and leather goods. Last month, the company branched into sales of diamonds and jewelry.