How to build a successful acessories business

I’m going to start with a true life story.

No kidding.

I watched him on TV during my holidays.

He appeared on one of my favourite TV shows, Shark Tank to look for money to grow his business.

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Shark Tank is just like Dragons Den, a show where five investors will listen to different entrepreneurs tell them about their business. If they like your business, they will give you money in exchange for a stake in your business.

His name is Moziah Bridges and he makes Bow ties.

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He started this business when he was 9 years old and now his business has expanded to include over 20 different bowtie styles and wholesale orders from over 10 luxury menwear stores.

He started the business because he could not find the kind of bowties he liked in the stores, so he asked his grandma to teach him how to sew.

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When she did, he made some for himself using some scrap materials, and started wearing them every day to school. They looked a little weird at first, but with time, some strangers started stopping him on the street, telling him that they liked his bowtie and asking where they could buy it.

This was how he started his business. He started carrying a briefcase that contained his bowties. His mom helped him to print some business cards, set up a website and a store on Etsy. Then they started approaching local stores to carry their bowties and they started getting wholesale orders.

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Little Mo now has 3 tailors to keep up with his orders, while he focuses on selecting the patterns and fabrics, marketing, styling his client’s outfits, etc.

His mom is his manager as he is still in school. He sells each bowtie for $40 – $60 dollars which is about N6,400 – N9,600 if you convert it to Naira.

His mum saves some of the money he is making now for his college school fees but he still gives back to the less priviledged. He has a scholarship program that sends about 1 – 5 children to summer camp each year.

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What I find interesting about this story is that, it is just bowties. We all know how to make bowties, and God knows some of us can make even more accessories but this guy just used one accessory to build a successful business.

Let’s discuss this story in the comments below.

What are the things that made Mo’s business a success? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

As you reflect on this, I hope that you will apply some of these things in your own business. If you need some guidance, register for the How To Sell Your Handmade Accessories course.

If you have other friends interested in accessories, please share this story with them.

We must all succeed.

Lots of love

Steph

Comments section

13 Comments

  • Gift

    Reply Reply September 18, 2014

    The most important thing that made him a success is his creative ability, also his marketing skill, consequently, the fact that he has somebody more experienced helping him manage the business. mmmmmmm, i now real believe that wearing your hand made accessory is one of the easiest, nd effortless way of selling the product cus u dont even have to talk to convince the buyer the product has already don it’s job. Thanks Steph for this lovely post, u rock!!!

    • Steph

      Reply Reply September 25, 2014

      Hello Gift, thank you for your comments. Wearing your products will definitely open doors, however I must say that it won’t scale the business the way it has done for Mo.

  • ComfyPearl

    Reply Reply September 18, 2014

    Yeah, I read about this story a few days back and I must say I was inspired. I gez Mo’s strongest weapon is his passion for what he does. Not everyone may love to wear bow ties but the fact that a young lad is so passionate about what he does n even beautifully, would want people to purchase a bow tie even if it just to encourage him. Moziah has also been able to give his product a uniqueness. It’s not just about what you do but how you do it. And then I love his smiles. He’s a happy guy!

    • Steph

      Reply Reply September 25, 2014

      Just to play the devil’s advocate. There are so many people who are passionate about their businesses but their businesses do not grow.
      How is Mo different from them?

  • Chiagozie

    Reply Reply September 18, 2014

    I think that first of all, he is in the right environment and secondly, that environment needs what he is offerring.
    Nigerians wear bow ties but not like the West. He selects beautiful patterns in his fabrics and makes the ties stand out. Wearing his designs too was a plus.
    I love his spirit.

    • Steph

      Reply Reply September 25, 2014

      Lol @ right environment.
      Whatever environment you are in, you have to adapt your business to it. I don’t believe in “right” or “wrong” environment.
      Nigerians might not wear bowties but there are other things they wear.

  • Abigail

    Reply Reply September 19, 2014

    I am so inspired right now. I admire him a lot. And the fact that he started a scholarship program tops the cake

  • Tope

    Reply Reply September 22, 2014

    I think another thing that has helped is they successfully managed and grew with the different stages of his business…from carrying a briefcase of his bowties to setting up a website and a store, approaching stores and now Shank Tank. It’s good growth strategy.

    • Steph

      Reply Reply September 25, 2014

      Yeah, thanks for sharing

  • tochukwu

    Reply Reply September 22, 2014

    I think is his passtion for bowties and secondly having a good manager

    • Steph

      Reply Reply September 25, 2014

      Yup, nice point. Thanks for sharing

  • Ninah

    Reply Reply October 23, 2014

    I think what made his business stand out is the fact that he specialized in bow ties and nothing else. Everything he does rotates around bow ties so he became GOOD at his job. I believe that one product/service that one decides to do and do it very well can make him or her a billionaire or whatever they want. FOCUS and BELIEVE in your product/service(Customers able to feel you)

  • Ogochukwu

    Reply Reply December 17, 2014

    wow! really inspiring! I think its important to note that he took steps to promote his business ” He started carrying a briefcase that contained his bowties. His mom helped him to print some business cards, set up a website and a store on Etsy. Then they started approaching local stores to carry their bowties and they started getting wholesale orders.”

    he couldnt have achieved tht by just wearing his bowties..

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