Fit to be Tied
13-year-old entrepreneur and fashion designer Moziah Bridges knows bows
Story by Amber Hampton | Photos by Annabella Charles
Arts | September 2015
It isn’t hard to pick Moziah Bridges out of a crowd. He’ll be the only 13-year-old riding his bike around Memphis in a suit and bow tie.
Moziah, or Mo as he is more often called, says he has always had a “passion for fashion” and aims to just have fun with it. Citing modern style icons like Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, Mo calls his personal style classic “but with a fun twist” that came about several years ago when he was having trouble finding the right pieces to fit his “style and personality.”
His grandmother, a professional seamstress, taught him to sew and he went to work making the kind of bow ties that he wanted to wear. He didn’t intend to create a business at that point, but it seemed the bow ties he wanted to wear were the bow ties others wanted to wear, too.“People just started saying ‘Where did you get that tie? Where did you get that tie,’ and eventually they got better and better and I grew my business.”
So, at just 9 years old, Mo began selling his handmade bow ties and Mo’s Bows was born. Now, four years later, Mo’s Bows offers a comprehensive line of bow ties and pocket squares for adults and youths. From plaid to paisley and so much in-between, there are styles for the subtly chic and the boldly fashionable.
Each bow is handmade in the USA, a conscious decision on his part. “All the big manufacturers come from China, so I thought, if I can put my business back in America I can also help other people. Now we have five or six employees and they depend on us to keep their lights on and pay their bills so that was a big thing for me.”
Mo hand-picks his fabrics, an effort that allows him to ensure his products stay true to his classic and fun feel. He still makes the time to get behind the sewing machine when he can, but what he really loves is just being involved in his business. “I really love just going around and thinking of new ideas, doing speaking engagements, and interviews,” he says.
One of those new ideas includes skinny neck ties, which he plans to add to his product line in the future. Mo has a few long-term goals, too. “I plan to go to the Parsons School of Design in New York City and have my own clothing line by the time I’m 20,” he says. “As I get older I’m sure I’ll probably just start designing things and by the time I’m 20 I will have all those ideas saved up until I’m 20 and just go for it.”
Though Mo takes pride in all his designs, one bowtie is particularly special to him and it has nothing to do with fashion. It’s the “Go Mo” Summer Camp Bow Tie. Each year, Mo uses the proceeds from the sale of a specific bow tie to send Memphis-area youth to summer camp. In the last three years, Mo has sent 35 kids to summer camp. “That puts a smile on my face because I get to see kids staying out of trouble and just being kids,” he says. He also has a similar bow tie set up to provide donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Memphis.
Mo attributes a lot of his desire to give back to his mom, who is always there to keep him grounded in spite of his early success. “I still get to be a kid, of course,” he says. “I still get to ride my bike and have fun, but I also know business comes with that.”
Mo has also spent a good bit of time in the spotlight. He made an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank, and while none of the sharks took his bait, he’s seen a surge in business. He also tours the country as a motivational speaker, encouraging young audiences to explore their passions as he has done.
Mo’s Bows can be found at a number of boutiques across Memphis, five other states, Canada and the Bahamas, and his online store at mosbowsmemphis.com..”