- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

RACINE, Wis. (AP) - Alex Hart is no stranger to fashion or business.

At 9 years old, the Racine resident has got a keen sense for both, The Journal Times (https://bit.ly/1WWAb1D ) reported.

For the last year or so, the third-grader has been building the foundation of his own budding fashion and special events business.

Aptly titled Build a Bow, the company started out as a bow-tie design outfit, but has grown to include special events, where Alex provides attendees with the materials and instruction they need to make their very own bow ties.

In addition to offering event goers with choices of colorful and zany fabrics for designing hair bows or bow ties, he also lets them draw on their own piece of blank canvas, so they make a bow from a print uniquely their own.

“It’s sort of like being a face painter or balloon artist,” he explained. “What you do is you call me, I come to that special event, I set up my Build a Bow work station and I give (the event goers) a blank piece of canvas and I have them color it to their heart’s content, and turn it into a wearable art: into a hair bow or bow tie.

“I want to bring creativity back to kids’ events.”

The company started when Alex - who had long been helping his mom, Karee Upendo, with her own fashion business, Karee Couture - asked his mom if he could branch out and start his own endeavor.

Frustrated by the lack of fun fashion for boys, Alex had already been working with his mom on some bow-tie designs, but last fall he felt it was time to start his own operation.

“Don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want my mom micromanaging me,” he says.

He also thought the business might be a good way to raise money for college. Alex, who recently lost his grandfather, famed University of Wisconsin-Madison football player Eddie “The Pony” Hart to cancer, wants to become a biochemist so can find a cure for the disease.

The hum of a sewing machine has been part of Hart’s family life for generations, says Upendo. Her mother was a seamstress, and so was her grandmother.

Alex himself often gets up at 5 a.m. to make bow ties, and can sew or glue-gun about two or three creations before it’s time to head off to school.

“It’s really fun,” he said.

Upendo, 27, admits that she was a little bit hurt when her son announced that he didn’t want her “micromanaging” him, but she’s become thoroughly impressed and a little surprised to see the dedication he has shown to his new vocation.

“I used to have to drag him out of bed at 8:30 a.m.; now he is up before me and setting his alarm,” she said.


Information from: The Journal Times, https://www.journaltimes.com

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