Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. But no one mentioned that to Moziah Bridges, a 10-year-old student at Rozelle Elementary School.
With a little more than a year of business ownership under his belt, Moziah has already made a splash and a name for himself as a young mogul in the making. His company is appropriately titled Mo's Bows since his specialty is bow ties for those stylish and well-groomed individuals seeking to make a fashion statement.
Manning booths at artisan fairs, picking his own fabric and sewing the bow ties himself all demonstrate that Moziah is more than dedicated to growing his business. He is well on his way to becoming a reputable, well-respected fashion designer.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Moziah Bridges: I'm 10 years old and I like making bow ties and dancing, singing and reading.
CM: How and when did you begin your career in the bow tie industry?
MB: I couldn't find cool bow ties in the stores. So I just made my own. I started in June 2011.
CM: Did you create a business plan before starting out?
CM: What has been your greatest challenge?
MB: Balancing my schedule. I can't be in two places at once. There is always something going on with me and my bow ties.
CM: What is the greatest reward in being an entrepreneur?
MB: It's the only time – I mean the only time – I get to tell my mom what to do. I tell her when I want to make my bow ties, what fabric I want to use, and when I want to sell my bow ties, which is whenever she tells me to.
CM: What has been your experience with bow ties in the local market vs. nationally?
MB: Selling my bow ties in Memphis has been great. The churches have been so supportive and it seems like a lot of teachers buy my bow ties. I think because they are proud of me making my own business. I have sent many bow ties all over to...like New York, Las Vegas, and Miami and even sent some to Australia. (Aye mate!)
CM: Of the bowties that you create, which is your favorite and which is your best seller/most popular product?
MB: It's hard to choose my favorite because it changes when I see something cool. But since you asked, my favorite right now is "Out of this World." I name all of my bow ties. I make and sell so many. But "Teachers Pet" might be the bestseller or "Buster Brown."
CM: What books or resources would you recommend for individuals starting out?
MB: "Reallionaire" by Farrah Gray is about a boy from Chicago that made himself a millionaire by the time he was only 14 years old. I'm going to do the same thing. Getting a mentor is also a good idea to help you learn your business. When I talk to other kids I always give them the same advice: figure out what you like doing, then find out how you can make money doing it. Figure out. Find out. Figure out. Find out. It's just that simple.
CM: If you could have anything to take your business to the next level, what would it be?
MB: An opportunity to sell my bow ties in Macy's or Dillard's and to see them in New York fashion week. I also want a super big billboard. I just want to see Mo's Bows really big in the sky and in a really nice store downtown. There's another store in South Carolina that wants some of my bow ties too. Now that's what's up.
CM: How is it being such a young business owner? Is there pressure to succeed?
MB: It's pretty cool, especially when people recognize me out at the store or something. They always say, "Hey, you're the little boy who makes bow ties." No (pressure), not at all
CM: What's the next step for you as a manufacturer?
MB: Pocket squares, cologne and later on down the line, braces (suspenders). Actually, I really plan to have my own clothing line by the time I'm 15 years old. I think that can happen.
CM: Any closing remarks?
MB: The most important thing about owning my own business is giving back to my community. I help with neighborhood clean-ups and other projects and I started a Go Mo! Summer Camp Scholarship Fund to help kids in my neighborhood go to summer camp. When somebody buys my "Glenview Summer Camp" bow tie the money goes to the scholarship fund. My goal this year was to send two kids to the Glenview Camp. Next year my goal will be five, but more would be cool too.
For additional information about Mo's Bows please visit www.etsy.com/shop/MosBowsMemphis and mosbowsmemphis on Facebook.