Darius Brown, 11 years old, a fifth-grader, was debuting his designs on a pup named Crosby. Crosby would walk the runway of the New York Pet Fashion Show, the largest animal couture and pet rescue benefit in the world.
“I just love, love dogs,” Darius, who lives in Newark, NJ, and has his own puppy bow tie company, Beaux and Paws said. “I’m here so I can help Crosby look good and find a forever home.”
Darius was taking orders for custom accessories, costing $15 a pop, through the brand’s Facebook page and his Instagram account (@sirdariusbrown), and he donates his designs to shelters throughout New York and New Jersey.
“These dogs need to be adopted, and I wanna help them get noticed,” said Darius. The shelter pooches wear his ties for special events and adoption days, as well as for photos taken for adoption boards.
“When animals wear special accessories like bow ties, bandannas or scarves, it often helps catch the eyes of potential adopters,” said Jody Salbo, director of business management and operations at the ASPCA Adoption Center. “The ASPCA Adoption Center team has enjoyed using [Darius’] bow ties to promote the dogs in our shelter.”
Darius started making bow ties when he was 8 when his older sister, Dazhai, a hair and makeup artist, needed help making bows, so she had her brother cut the fabric, to help develop his fine motor skills. Soon, “he was making the bows better than [Dazhai] was,” said the duo’s mom, Joy, who works in healthcare.
After seeing how Hurricanes Irma and Harvey ravaged parts of the US and left many dogs needing new homes, Darius began donating his Beaux and Paws (the “eaux” spelling looks dapper and classy, he explained) ties to shelters.
“I just wanted to help them and make them feel safe and find them forever homes,” said Darius, who would cry when seeing the abandoned animals on TV.
He plans to expand his business beyond accessories to include outfits. “I want to be an entrepreneur like my sister,” he said, calling Dazhai, 20, his “inspiration.”
His goal, is trying to get his mom over her lifelong fear of dogs, so that he can one day adopt one of his own.
“Me and my sister are convincing her,” he said. “She still doesn’t like big dogs, but now she likes little dogs.”
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