CEO is only 11 years old, but his fledgling fashion sales are booming


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Sheldon Gibbs was 10 years old when he started his own business, then made his TV debut, in February, demonstrating his technique for designing, crafting, and marketing a line of bow ties. He was an instant sensation.

A March birthday, and a few weeks later, the now 11-year-old CEO has seen his business grow exponentially. Taking a break between classes at Buffalo’s Tapestry Charter School, Shelden and his mom, Rhonda Woods, leafed through a binder of new contacts he has established in less than a month.

On the surface, the young Gibbs seems to be a typical kid—he likes to tinker with stuff, plays a musical instrument, and does his homework. But when Shelden tried his hand at crafting bow ties, he discovered his calling, “It just feels good to have my own bow tie on. I like making bow ties, it is a passion for me.”

Shelden designs and crafts a line of bow ties that he sells through his own company, “Classic Knot”, and since his story aired on February 23, Woods said business has gone through the roof.

“They are coming in call after call after call, and Sheldon wants to get every last one of them. I said Sheldon, you know at some point, you have to stop answering the phone, and get to production.”

This young CEO is learning first hand that production can make or break a company, so he and his mom are making the adjustments to accommodate this tidal wave of new orders, adding new help—family and friends–which Woods admits can hold down labor costs, “Oh yes, lots of wings and Pepsi.”

Shelden may be CEO, but Mom is calling most of the shots, which Shelden says has led to a new creative job description for Rhonda, “She sews and she, like, manages me–like a ‘Momager’.”

That “Momager” says Classic Knots is looking to hire their first employee, or employees, to keep up with burgeoning demand, “to help us produce the bow ties at a faster rate, instead of us overwhelming ourselves, with trying to produce them, because each custom bow tie is handcrafted.”

Right now Classic Knot is looking for experienced help, but Shelden said many of his classmates would like to get in on the ground floor of his growing enterprise, “They want to help me. They want me to be their boss, and they just love what I am doing.”

Has the CEO decided on any candidates? “No not yet, but I have a few in mind.”

Initially sales for Classic Knot were hampered because the company website was out of order. Since then Woods said the website is up and running, they have received inquiries for their merchandise—Shelden also markets neckties and matching hankerchiefs from other manufacturers to supplement sales–from as far away as China.

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