When Obocho’s mom told him they couldn’t afford to buy new toys, he decided to find a solution - not only for himself but for other kids in his community whose families were struggling to make ends meet. Over the course of a year, 10-year-old Obocho Peters started selling his gently used clothing and shoes as a way to help families in his Brooklyn community. Now, he has big plans to take his online store to a permanent location, helping his community in more ways than one.
From their interview on GoFundMe’s podcast True Stories of Good People, Obocho and his mom Sasha tell the story of Obocho’s Closet:
Obocho: Last spring, my mom was struggling to pay bills and take care of me at the same time. Since she couldn’t afford to buy me the toys I wanted, I decided to sell my clothing and shoes that didn’t fit me anymore so I could buy a few toys for myself. Then I realized that if my mom was having trouble paying her bills, it had to be hard for other families too. That thought opened my eyes to the challenges many families face, and my goal became bigger - I thought, “Why not help my mom and at the same time help the community, too?”
Sasha: When Obocho told me he wanted to sell his old clothing and shoes so he could buy some toys, I was so impressed and proud of him. I made a phone call and put him in small business classes through the company I work for right away.
Obocho: In the small business classes, they taught me how to avoid spending all of my money at one time. I learned how to save and invest so I could have money to pay for important things. This knowledge helped me come up with my business goal, which is to help families in New York City save money on clothing by offering them affordable options for newborns to 12-year-old kids. They could take the money they save on clothing and put it toward their children’s college funds.
Sasha: At first, Obocho began selling clothing and shoes online. He really wanted people to be able to feel fly and awesome in what they wear and only spend $10 to $20 on their whole wardrobe. He’s very compassionate and conscious of what people don’t have.
After some time, we came up with the idea to open a brick and mortar thrift store and call it Obocho’s Closet. We want it to be a place where people can go and buy gently used clothing in our Brooklyn community. We started a GoFundMe to help raise $10,000 to cover the first year of rent for Obocho’s space, financial seminar costs, t-shirts for fundraising, and other expenses that may arise. Through our GoFundMe, we’ve been able to raise a little over $2,500 so far.
Obocho: To help my community grow even more, we decided that Obocho’s Closet will invest a percentage of sales to sponsor and pay for free financial literacy seminars for families in underserved communities. We hosted our first seminar earlier this year and someone from Capital One Bank came to teach parents and kids how to save for college or pursue entrepreneurship goals.
Sasha: With money from Obocho’s Closet and our GoFundMe, Obocho’s goal is to continue providing these free financial literacy seminars to community members.
Obocho: The next financial literacy seminar is going to include a concert. I want to make families feel like they’re having fun while learning about saving money for their children’s college funds. Once they finish learning at the seminar, we want to have a concert to celebrate all of this new knowledge they can utilize in their own lives.
Sasha: Obocho is big on rewards systems and the free concert is like a reward for showing up for financial education. His heart is so big and he cares so much about the children. It’s been special to watch him reach out and take on the kids in the community as his brothers and sisters. It’s been just amazing for me to watch.
Obocho: It’s so important for me to offer things for free in my community because there are some people who can’t afford stuff, and then others who can - I want to make it fair. I make the financial literacy classes free because I don’t want families that can’t normally afford things to feel left out. My mom always tells me that no one is too young to make a difference and that we all have the power to make a difference. I can’t wait to see how my thrift store and financial literacy seminars help my community.