He’s a kid and he’s a CEO and he’s gaining some much deserved recognition.
Alex Hart-Upendo is the 12 year old founder and CEO of Build-A-Bow, a budding custom bow-tie business and community project based out of Racine, WI.
No stranger to business or fashion, Alex has been building his budding fashion business since the age of 5. After being isolated & bullied for being Autistic & dealing with homelessness, his mother a single teen parent taught him how to sew as an outlet and a way to express himself through art.
He went from bullied and sleeping in a car to bowties. Build-A-Bow is a custom bowtie retailer specializing in the most unique bows for any occasion as well as hair bows and bark bows for dogs.
At the age of only five, he wanted to take the negative term “nerd” and turn it in to something cool & fashionable, Alex considers himself a social Entrepreneur. In under 3 years he has donated over $30,000 dollars back to the community. Debuted in New York Fashion Week and partnered with several celebrities. Portions of his bowtie sales go to host his free “Build A Bow For A Purpose” workshops where he teaches people how to design bowties and donates those bows to people battling incurable diseases free of charge.
Alex also wrote a book titled “Bullies, Bowties and Brilliant Alex.”
It’s a multicultural picture book written to encourage the inner entrepreneur in children, while teaching a valuable lesson about bullying.
40% of all book proceeds are donated to underprivileged children and schools, he hosts author reading parties for deserving children and they all get free signed copies of his book including bowtie cookies!
On June 25th, 2019 Alex and his mother Karee Upendo were scheduled to host a workshop on social entrepreneurship at Cardinal Stritch University for over 100 doctoral students.
Alex has a relationship with Cardinal Stritch because he appeared on their campus Shark Tank show called “Project Pitch It”. After the show he designed Stritch bowties for their campus bookstore, in which he donates 20% of those proceeds to the schools social mission accelerator called “Mission Fuel”.
At the end of the workshop, Cardinal Stritch presented Alex with a gift of a lifetime. They offered the 12 year old Mini Mogul a full ride scholarship for the ENTIRETY of his life. A scholarship of this nature is unprecedented, the value is literally priceless. In a video posted from Alex’s facebook page he said, ” today was one of the best days of my life. Much greater than meeting any celebrity, going to Disney World or any amusement park”.
Alex and his parents recently purchased a school, and have plans on opening an entrepreneurship school for youth. Alex also has plans on becoming a Bio-Chemist, and Pediatrician. When asked about how he felt about his journey, Alex responded ” your gifts will make a way for you”. His bowties can he found online as well as on Amazon & 15 retailers throughout Wisconsin. This kid is going places!
Find him on Linkden @Alex Hart-Upendo
Facebook @ Build-A-Bow
Alex & his mother Karee Upendo
More about Alex
Cardinal Stritch Bowtie Designed by Alex
Alex hosting one of his free workshops
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