News and Features
Wed July 2, 2014
Mo Knows Bows
A 12-year-old started his own company making bow ties. Now he's got an eye on the future.
All of a sudden this kid sticks a business card in my hand.
"How old are you?" I ask.
"I am 12 years old," he says.
His name could either be a fashion signature or the moniker of an old school southern traveling salesman.
Moziah Pine Bridges.
His business? He designs and sells his own bow ties. In fact, the whole thing started by accident 3 years ago, right after his grandmother taught him how to sew.
"I had already made a tie and I was wearing it," he said. "And somebody said, 'Where did you get that bow tie?' And I said, 'It's not for sale.' So then I told my mama about it and she was like, 'Maybe we should start a business.' And that's how Mo's Bows was born."
It was really born before that, from his own fashion sense which his mother, Tramica Morris, was able to spot at an early age.
"I saw him dressing as early as three or four years old," Morris said. "I'd say, 'Mo, we're going to the grocery store, we're going to Granny's. Go get dressed. He would come out completely dressed in a three-piece suit and tie and I'm thinking 'It's just the grocery store, where are you going?"
For the first two years of his business, he was able to make his own bow ties at 6 to 10 dollars each, sell them at 45 to 55 dollars each, raking in a grand total of 55 thousand dollars.
Mo's Bows stand out for their explosion of prints and pastels. That’s his signature. Mo handpicks the fabric. Each bow tie is hand sewn by his grandmother.
His merchandise is sold in 11 different Department stores in the South. He’s even appeared in Oprah magazine, Forbes Magazine and the Steve Harvey Show. All this, and he still has time to attend Freedom Prep school here in Memphis.
So what has he learned from all of this?
"Everything doesn't come easily," he said. "You have to take your time and you will get there."
Spoken like somebody who can see the long game, which is what he demonstrated when he appeared on the ABC network show ‘Shark Tank’.
In the end, he turned down 55 grand and chose instead to be mentored by one of the multimillionaires on the panel. Like I said, the long game. Even his marketing and public relations manager, Nicole Harris, sometimes forgets she’s dealing with a kid.
"He presents himself, honestly, better than most adults I've seen," she says.
As for Mo, he’s got it all laid out. The Business, The Marketing, he even knows where he’s going to school. He wants to be a fashion designer and attend the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
These days, he selling to upscale stores like Oak Hall and hopes to reach out to Macys and Dillard’s. Mo can do anything, as his mom proudly told me, just as long as he remembers the protocol
He’s the CEO of Mo’s bows…
"And I’m the CEO of MO," she says.