True Story: How 16-Year-Old Founder Built a $600,000 Business
When Moziah “Mo” Bridges was a young boy, he’d wear three-piece suits to the playground. He loved dressing up, but hated the boring bow ties sold in stores, so he created a business to solve that problem — when he was 9.
Bridges’ business, Mo’s Bows, makes neckties, bow ties, and accessories like pocket squares (prices range between $15 and $50). Since its inception in 2011, the Memphis-based company has sold more than $600,000 worth of products through its website and partnerships with retail stores, says Bridges, who is now 16.
When Bridges got the idea for Mo’s Bows, his grandmother, a former seamstress, taught him to sew. Bridges, his mother, and grandmother stitched the ties in the company’s early days and ran the business from their home. The young CEO shopped his creations to local stores and got the attention of national press outlets like The Steve Harvey Morning Show and Oprah Magazine before landing on Shark Tank in 2014. There, he got one of the best deals in the show’s history.
Bridges asked the sharks for $50,000 in exchange for 20 percent equity in his company, but Daymond John advised the young entrepreneur not to take any money and offered to mentor him for free instead. That relationship has opened several doors for Bridges, including getting his ties in Cole Haan and Neiman Marcus, and scoring a licensing deal to use NBA logos in his designs.
“One of the most important things he’s taught me was always be true to your company,” says Bridges. “He’s taught me how to take care of my mom and the practical aspects of running a company.”
Bridges has some unique challenges as a young entrepreneur. One of the most difficult things is finding balance in his busy life — particularly since Bridges is a sophomore in high school. “So far, it’s been kind of hard, but I still do it,” he says.
He wants to attend Parsons’ School of Fashion in New York City and become a designer by the time he’s 20. He hopes to specialize in high fashion and urban wear. “I know what I want to do in life,” he says.