From his mom and grandma to Shark Tank’s Daymond John, the teenage CEO behind Mo’s Bows works with a variety of mentors to move his business forward.
At just 15 years old, Moziah Bridges has achieved a level of success that most entrepreneurs have only dreamed of. But with plans to turn his brand—Mo’s Bow’s—into a full-blown fashion line by the time he’s 20, it’s clear that Bridges is just getting started.
Bridges was inspired to start his own company at the age of nine after seeing his dad dress nicely every day. He realized that he could turn his strong fashion sense into something bigger, so he looked to his family for help. Together with his mother and grandmother, who is a retired seamstress, Bridges learned to sew and made his first hand-crafted bow tie. He started selling his product online and in retail stores throughout Memphis. However, he soon realized that demand for his bow ties extended far beyond his own neighborhood.
“I think the reason Mo’s Bows first caught on among consumers is the same reason it’s successful today. Every bow tie is hand crafted and made in America, and they’re all extremely colorful. There’s a lot of personality behind my line,” said Bridges. “That’s why I’m confident Mo’s Bows will continue to grow. I ultimately want to take my company worldwide. My main goal right now is to keep getting the brand out there and be in more stores internationally.”
As Mo’s Bows continues to grow, Bridges is staying involved in the entire production process. For example, he picks every fabric and approves every visual element that goes into creating each bow tie. But that doesn’t mean that Bridges runs the business entirely on his own. There’s a small but mighty team surrounding him that has been instrumental in moving Mo’s Bows forward.
For a while, the only members of that team were Bridges’ family members. However, when word got out about Mo’s Bows—and the teenage CEO behind the brand—other people wanted to learn more. Bridges made appearances on shows like the “Steve Harvey Show,” “Today” and “Good Morning America” to educate people about his brand and overall mission. But things really started taking off after Bridges appeared on an episode of “Shark Tank” in April of 2014. Shark Daymond John advised Bridges to forego an investment, and offered to be his mentor instead. Bridges still works with John as he continues to grow his business.
“Working with Daymond has really helped me take Mo’s Bows to the next level. He guides me through the practical aspects of running and growing a company,” Bridges said. “But I definitely wouldn’t be here today without my family. They’ve always motivated me and pushed me to do better and greater things. Sometimes working so closely with them can be a challenge—my mom and I are like fire and ice. But at the end of the day, they know what’s best for me and my brand.”
Mo’s Bows has allowed Bridges to capitalize on a variety of once in a lifetime opportunities. Last year alone, he served as the fashion correspondent for the NBA draft and was invited to the inaugural White House Demo Day, where he was able to present President Obama with his “Obama Blue” bow tie.
Recognizing his entrepreneurial reach, Bridges decided to add another layer into his brand. He started “Go Mo!” in 2012, a charity that uses 100 percent of the proceeds from his unique Go Mo bow tie to help send Memphis children to summer camp. To date, the program has impacted 50 kids.
“Kids need to be kids, and they need to be able to participate in activities that keep them out of trouble. Especially in the summer when childhood hunger is at an all-time high, it’s crucial for kids to be able to get a good meal in a positive space. As Mo’s Bows continues to grow, I definitely want to see Go Mo help kids all over the world,” Bridges said.
Today, Mo’s Bows are sold in retail stores across the country, including Neiman Marcus. And with more than $300,000 worth of bow ties sold, Bridges is well on his way to building his own fashion empire before graduating from high school.
“My advice for other young entrepreneurs is to find out what you like doing and figure out how you can make money doing it. That means believing and investing in yourself—you have to be willing to put in the work,” said Bridges. “It’s also so important to stay true to your company. If you’re approached by a big brand for a deal, you need to take the time to make sure it’s the right fit. You can’t just jump at the first potential opportunity that comes your way. Every decision that you make for your company has to be authentic and move your brand in the right direction.”