9-year-old Chicagoland entrepreneur brings bow tie buzz to central Illinois

Local News

WEST PEORIA, Ill.– “I always used to love to dress up and I wanted to share it with other people,” said Reshaun Sims-Grant.

The soft-spoken nine-year-old is making a loud statement with his style. For Sims-Grant, fashion is more than just a hobby. It’s a passion that his mom, Brittney Grant fully supports. 

“When he was a baby I always said that I wanted him to dress different. So I was always putting him in nice polos, button-up shirts, nice dress pants,” she said.

Bow ties have also been a part of Sims-Grant’s signature style since he was just a baby. While working at a formalwear store, his mother learned how to make the bow ties, ultimately sparking a business idea on behalf of her son. 

“He was like, ‘Yeah Mommy! I could have my own bow ties and other people can have them.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, let’s go. Let’s run with it,'” she said.

In the summer of 2017, his business, Smart Guy Style became a reality. While Sims-Grant lives in the Chicagoland area, he recently started selling his bow ties at In and Out Craft Market at Northwoods Mall in Peoria. Sims-Grant now has almost 40 different designs of hand-sewn bow ties, carefully crafted by him and assistant mom. 

“I think of ways to make something and if I make a bow tie—if I want to make more money, I think of another idea to do something,” he said.

Sims-Grant further hones his business skills as part of an entrepreneurship course at his school, Genesis Academy in Chicago. He says making and selling bow ties helps others feel his joy. 

“Feel that they can be whatever they want, but also have style in it,” said Sims-Grant.

And for anyone that says this nine-year-old is too young for his boss status, he has this message:

“I want people to be able to know that anybody can do it if they have the right mindset,” he said.

You can find Smart Guy Style bow ties at In and Out Craft Market at Northwoods Mall in Peoria and Sims-Grant’s online store.

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