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Smarts and heart: Kid-preneur Sheldon Gibbs

Another Father’s Day, another gift-wrapped tie?

Let Buffalo entrepreneur Shelden Gibbs help give your traditional Father’s Day gift a funky twist. At Classic Knot, Gibbs sells bow ties with an updated flair that only an 11-year-old could bring.

Gibbs had been wearing the ties himself for years, but found the selection in men’s shops lacking in modern panache. He took matters into his own hands, and saw a business opportunity. He spent hours on YouTube learning to sew, and chose fabrics with decidedly non-nerdy patterns and designs.

Today he counts judges, lawyers, artists and other school kids like himself among his clientele. A good 80 percent of his business comes via online orders not limited to Buffalo.

Classic Knot bow ties | Smarts and heart | Buffalo Magazine

“I’m sure I have a bow tie in every state,” Gibbs said. His mother, Rhonda Woods, said some orders have gone to military addresses overseas. One man from British Columbia found Gibbs’ website when he was looking for just the right custom bow tie to accent his wedding ensemble.

Gibbs, a student at Tapestry Charter School, recently used some more of his entrepreneurial spirit – and profits from his business – to help his classmates. He noticed some of them were lacking vital school supplies and that just didn’t sit well with him.

“Being prepared for the first day of school is important,” he said, “and it helps you be a better learner.”

Using proceeds from the business combined with donations from United Health Care, Say Yes to Education Buffalo, and Steve’s Meats on Delavan Avenue, he amassed 500 backpacks filled with pencils, rulers, blunt tip scissors, and Elmer’s Glue.

In September 2017, with media partner WBLK radio, he arranged the Classic Knot Back2School Jam. The block party featured a bounce house, music and organized games for kids. The highlight of the afternoon was the giving away of all those backpacks; now it’s slated to be an annual event.

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