15-Year-Old CEO Of Mo's Bows Enters Licensing Deal With NBA
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
On this program in 2014, Moziah Bridges told us about his dream.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
MOZIAH BRIDGES: I want to bring the bow tie back, and I want to make it look better than what it used to be.
CORNISH: Moziah is the Mo's in Mo's Bows, a company he started in Memphis with his mom when he was 9. He was 12 when we last spoke. And he's 15 today. And he just landed a deal with the NBA.
Moziah Bridges, welcome back to the program.
BRIDGES: Hey, Audie.
CORNISH: So are bow ties back? Were you successful?
BRIDGES: Well, bow ties are back. And I'm very successful. I think I was more successful than I am or than I was when I last came here.
CORNISH: Yeah, I would say because (laughter) the NBA approached you with essentially, I hear, a seven-figure licensing deal, which I guess means you get to make bow ties that have the logos of every team in the league. Is that right?
BRIDGES: That is correct. And I get to make their bow ties. But also, it's one side with the logos of the favorite team of that person but also the favorite print and the classic print of that person. So it's like a two-sided tie.
CORNISH: Why'd they come to you?
BRIDGES: Well, they came to me because ESPN hired me to be a fashion correspondent for the 2015 NBA draft. And after that, that's when we sparked the deal. And this deal basically means that I get sell in more arenas and hopefully to some players and to different people who love wearing NBA's logo.
CORNISH: I think it's actually a good match because NBA guys are pretty styling, right? I mean it seems like they...
BRIDGES: Yeah, they're coming up off of style now. One of my favorite players that has a very iconic style is Russell Westbrook. And he just has a very fun and playful style.
CORNISH: When we last spoke, you talked about learning to sew. I think it was from your grandmother, right?
BRIDGES: Yes, it was from my grandmother. She taught me how to sew when I was about 9 years old. But first, she taught - she made me custom bow ties. But as I got older and as she got older, I decided that I didn't want her to work as hard. So I told her to teach me how to sew.
CORNISH: So now that you're a little bit older and now that you've struck this huge deal, do you have a factory (laughter) or a manufacturing deal? Who's making the ties?
BRIDGES: We have a - I like to call it a little factory. We have a couple of ladies in Memphis, Tenn. And they basically make all of our ties. And they're very fast workers. They make all of our ties, and then they send them to us. Of course when I spoke on the show, we were all doing the ties. But now since the demand has gotten up, we couldn't, you know, handle all of it. So we had to have somebody else do it.
CORNISH: But it sounds like they are made in America.
BRIDGES: They are definitely made in America, which is really great knowing that I employ jobs in America.
CORNISH: Have you found yourself kind of gravitating more towards fashion in general, design? Are you starting to think that's your career?
BRIDGES: I think that is my career, definitely. I plan to go to Parsons School of Design when I get older. And I want to create my own fashion line by the time I'm 20. So I think that's definitely my career right now.
CORNISH: Oh, so you're going to be branching out beyond the bows.
BRIDGES: Yes, beyond the bows - blazers, shirts, jackets. But also, I just created my long neck tie, which shows how far I've come, also.
CORNISH: So what can we expect an 18-year-old Mo to be doing?
BRIDGES: Well, we can expect 18-year-old Mo to - of course graduating high school but, you know, also hopefully getting that Range Rover. But my mom says that I'm going to get the 2007 Jetta in the garage. So hopefully we can work that out (laughter).
CORNISH: (Laughter) I remember your mom seemed to help you keep your head on your shoulders.
BRIDGES: Yeah, she does by telling me to take out the trash and nagging at me to clean my room. But it's all out of love, I think.
CORNISH: Moziah Bridges, the teenage mogul behind Mo's Bows. He spoke to us from WKNO in Memphis. Mo, thanks for speaking with us, and best of luck.
BRIDGES: Thank you so much, Audie.
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