Darius Brown, a 12-year old boy from Newark, New Jersey who was diagnosed with developmental delays, has created a profitable business through his hobby of creating bow ties. Brown, who also loves animals, uses it to support homeless dogs and help them get adopted.
Four years ago, Brown was 8-years old when he launched Beaux and Paws, wherein he makes bow ties that he donates to adorn shelter pets while they are up for adoption.
“It helps the dog look noticeable, very attractive,” he told the Today Show. “It helps them find a forever, loving home… I love everything about dogs and cats.”
Brown was 2-years old when he was diagnosed with speech delay, comprehension delay, and fine motor skills delay. His 40-year old mother, Joy Brown, and 22-year old sister, Dazhai Brown-Shearz, have always helped him with his development. Brown-Shearz, who was then in cosmetology school, was making hair ribbons for little girls when the idea came to her.
“With his fine motor skills, he wasn’t able to really use his hands well — tying a shoe was challenging,” she said. “My mother and I came up with the idea that if he helped us with things like prepping the ribbon or cutting it, and sewing fabric together, it would help him. And it did — it worked!”
Since then, Darius has been wearing bow ties almost every day. When people noticed the bow ties he wears and asked him where they could get it, he started Beaux and Paws to design and make custom bow ties for people and their pets.
When Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck the US, many people have been affected, including displaced dogs and cats who will be euthanized if they wouldn’t be adopted. Darius didn’t want that to happen so he donated hundreds of bow ties to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other shelters and is fundraising to donate even more.
With every purchase from Beaux and Paws, Brown gets funds to purchase materials to make bow ties he will donate. He also donates a portion of every sale to the ASPCA. Some people are directly donating fabric and supplies to Darius too.
“The donations help a lot because we were just digging in our pockets, buying the fabric ourselves,” his mother said.
Brown has received several awards and even a personal letter from former President Barack Obama for his efforts.
Last month, he launched a GoFundMe to help him raise funds for bow tie production and for travel to at least five different states to personally donate bow ties and help with adoption events. It has, so far, reached its $10,000 goal.
Moreover, Brown, who now has over 47,000 Instagram followers, makes his family proud and he is thankful for them in return.
“Mom is very supportive and she always sacrifices for me. And my sister, she sacrificed two years of her college so that she could help my mother because my mother is a single mother and my sister knew it was going to be hard for her,” he said. “I just owe everything to my sister and my mom.”