Twelve-year-old kidpreneur, Moziah Bridges is finely dressed in a blue button down shirt, khaki blazer and bright plaid bowtie on the top floor of A. Schwab, a 136-year-old building known for its vintage items and decor, on Memphis’ Beale Street.
A few hours later, the general store filled with family, friends and supporters to watch his feature on Shark Tank, ABC’s show about entrepreneurs looking for their big break. Bridges has taken his business of making fashionable bowties by hand to television after being one of the youngest sought-after menswear designers.
Bridges, who prefers to be called "Mo," made his first bowtie, a dark blue satin tie from his grandmother’s scrap fabric when he was nine years old. In just three years, Mo’s Bows has pulled in more than $55,000 in sales, and he’s been featured in Forbes, GQ and the Today Show. Mo’s Bows have been worn by Steve Harvey and his biggest patron, President Obama, who sent a thank you note and family photo.
Already a seasoned entrepreneur, he had a winning formula for business before he ever appeared on Shark Tank. “The one thing I’ve learned about business is you’ve always got to be prepared, your product has to be right and your price has to be great.”
Mo’s bows come in an array of colors and patterns from gingham to polka dot and are priced at $45 – $65. They’re sold online and in boutiques throughout seven southern states.
The bowtie has made a comeback in men’s trends, but it’s always been a prized accessory of Mo’s.
“I wanted to bring it back and make it look cooler than it used to be,” he says.
With a more casual and fun design, both men and women are wearing Bridges’ bowties, which he labels as “classic swag.” Now, women are wearing them around their necks, as well as in their hair.
The watch party location’s classic setting is similar to his own home. He says his momager, Trimeca Morris, who also serves as a creative muse, loves thrift shops and owns antique pieces like telephones and lamps. Bridges’ even displays his merchandise in old-fashioned suitcases and trucks at shows.
After he’s scoured fashion magazines and blogs for more inspiration, he visits the fabric store where the creativity flows. “I go to a fabric store, and I look at whatever speaks to me or pops out at me. It doesn’t have to be a certain thing, it just has to have color.”
Though the show's team members declined the request to fund Mo’s Bows, Bridges secured a mentorship with team member and business idol, Daymond John.
“Being on Shark Tank, it was a great experience, and it was a fun experience hanging out with the Shark Tank team, and fun hanging with Daymond John.”
Bridges’ vision stretches further than fashion. For the last two years, he’s taken proceeds of his business to fund summer camp for five children in need. He hopes to double the number of recipients this year.
His next steps are to design a clothing line, but when he’s not working, he manages to just be a kid. “I still have to have my candy and watch Disney Channel, ride my bike and play with my friends.”
The budding designer leaves some solid advice for fashion lovers of all ages. “Always wear what you want to wear, no matter what day it is, and wear what mood you’re feeling.”
Alisha Tillery is a freelance writer living in Memphis, Tennessee. She writes about lifestyle, culture and fiction at her website