Our Story

Alex Hart-Upendo is no stranger to fashion or business. At 9 years old he created his own company. The Racine resident has got a keen sense for both.   Since the age of 5, the now seventh-grader has been building the foundation of his own budding fashion and special events business.  Aptly titled Build-A-Bow, because you can build your own bow. The company is a custom bow-tie, hair bow and pet bow retailer, he offers bark bows for dogs. Build-A-Bow includes special events, where Alex provides attendees with the materials and instruction they need to make their very own bow ties & hair bows. The company started when Alex at the age of 5 tested as gifted, his IQ was higher than most children in his age group, as well as being homeless & on the spectrum for Autism it made him a staple for being bullied & isolated. 

He wanted to take negative  term nerd & turn it into something positive & fashionable. Build-A-Bow was created from being bullied to bowties. That's what truly make Build-a-Bow unique, the founder & CEO is just 12 years old.   Alex, lost his grandfather, famed University of Wisconsin-Madison football player Eddie “The Pony” Hart to cancer, he wants to become a biochemist so that he can find a cure for the disease. 

The loss of his grandfather is what inspired him to expand Build-A-Bow into a community workshop  program, a portion of every purchase funds his workshops.  Build-A-Bow hosts a community workshop once a month, free of charge to all patrons. At the workshop patrons are taught how to design a bowtie. Each workshops bowtie designs, are then sent off to awareness groups. For example September's awareness was Childhood cancer, the bowties designed at that month's workshop went to children battling cancer.

 Alex takes 40 percent of his proceeds to fund his free monthly workshops.  He's received attention from Ellen, Steve Harvey, Harry Connick and ABC Shark Tank.  He is the published author of the book, titled “Bullies Bowties And Brilliant Alex.” The multicultural picture  book was written to encourage the inner entrepreneur in children, while bringing awareness to bullying & teaching a valuable lesson to always be kind.   He uses 20% of all his book proceeds to donate his books for underprivileged children & schools, for author reading parties.  

Alex created a program called the book bullying initiative. It's a movement to bring awareness to bullying through his books. Alex's program supplies his book to teachers, & he absorbs the cost to offer his books for free.  

Alex is dedicated to changing the world and impacting the lives of others one bow at a time