Tramica Morris is the mother of 12-year-old Moziah Bridges, the founder of Mo’s Bows design company. At age 9, “Mo” told his mom that he was going into business, and today this Memphis-based brand has achieved celebrity status in the fashion realm of bow ties. Beginning at age 4, Mo loved to dress well. One day, he asked his granny if he could use scrap fabric to make and sell his own bow ties. She helped him sew his first collection, and today this entrepreneurial family is nationally known. Mo’s recent appearance on Shark Tank took the company’s recognition to even greater heights.
Meet the lady who is behind the story of this amazing child entrepreneur. Tramica is a dedicated, creative, free-spirited mother who says that she is determined to provide the children in her life with opportunities that were not available to her. According to Mo, he makes all of the company decisions, which, he adds, “is whatever my mom says!” Welcome Mo’s mom, Tramica, our FACE of Memphis today!
Tell us about Mo’s first mentor in the bow tie business, his grandmother.
Granny is a very strong, sassy and sweet granny. She enjoys cooking, sewing, laughing and loving her children and grandchildren. Granny has been sewing for more than 60 years, and she still sews today.
When did Mo first say that he was going into business?
After receiving so many compliments about his bow ties, he simply said to me one day in the car on the way home from summer camp, “I should start selling my ties because everyone wants me to make them some.” My first response was, “Let’s do it!”
Name one or two benchmark experiences that led you and your family toward starting this business.
Mo expressed an interest in fashion at an early age (4 years old), so his wanting to start a business in fashion was not surprising. He received recognition for wearing regular neckties to school or on the playground or to ride his bike. The way he put clothes together was rare for a child. His eye for style from his artist father, coupled with his mother’s advice to “work for yourself when you grow up,” made for a perfect fit.
What is on the horizon for Mo’s Bows?
Oh, wow! Neckties are coming soon, and Mo’s Bows bow ties will be sold in another 10 states this fall.
Have you and Mo come in contact with high-profile names in the fashion business?
Mo was able to visit Tommy Hilfiger’s office and fashion studio recently in NYC. It was a wonderful experience for him. He saw what hard work and determination will produce. He also saw how you can move your production studio from the dining room into a big-time building in New York City.
What inspires you to push through the challenges of being the mother of a 12-year-old businessman?
I’m inspired when I hear and read the comments and feedback from customers and supporters who are motivated by Mo’s Bows. The story inspires and moves others — young and old — to start something new or fresh or to simply go for it. We hear of people being moved to tears from Mo’s story. So many people are very proud, as if he were their own child. I believe that is because Mo is the future they want to see in all of our children. I believe there is a Mo’s Bows in every household. To know that I have the pleasure of raising an innovator is huge for me.
Do you have a mantra or basic words of wisdom you can offer based on your experience as a mom and entrepreneur?
Mo and I were on a flight from Los Angeles one day, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Vivian Ayers Allen, the strikingly beautiful mother to Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad. She shared with me her personal mantra, “Listen to your children, and lead from behind.”
Are there local restaurants you would recommend to people who are visiting Memphis?
My dad is a chef, and my grandparents owned several restaurants in Memphis. So I love GOOD food. Mot & Ed’s on Madison for great turkey burgers; the East Memphis Fish Market & Eatery for great Southern fried fish; and for something sweet, you will always find me at Dorothy Mae’s (located inside The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery on Beale Street).
Your Mo’s Bows schedule is extremely demanding, but are there any charitable organizations or outreach programs where you volunteer?
My dedication is to the children, and while I have only given birth to one child, I’m often quoted as saying “all my children.” On any given day I will easily have three to five children with me, and sometimes as many as 10 children are at my house. Between family and friends my extra time is spent with all my children — talking with them, challenging them, teaching them and allowing them to speak freely about everything.
What books are you reading?
Recently I’ve been sharing a book called The Face of Our Past, by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary MacAustin, with all of the women in my life. It’s a must-have.
Are there three lighthearted things could you not live without?
I tell all my little nieces as they grow up to never leave the house without M.I.L.K. — money, I.D., lipstick and keys.
What must-have is in your summer 2014 wardrobe?
I’m a Southern girl, and I love dresses — especially vintage. And living in Memphis, I always carry a little folding hand fan with me.
Thank you, Tramica, for sharing the inspirational story of Mo’s Bows from the vantage point of “mom.” Your son’s achievements are a testimony not only to his amazing talent and work ethic, but also to your dedication and leadership as a mother.
Today’s wonderful photos were taken by Micki Martin, with the exception of two images of Tramica and Mo, which were provided by Mo’s Bows. The setting for our shoot with Micki was Sew Memphis in Overton Square, where Mo and his mother purchase some of the fabrics used to make Mo’s Bows.