First set up as an online thrift shop, Obocho's Closet sells donated children's clothes under the $10 price range.
Obocho Peters may only be 11 years old but he's already chasing his entrepreneur dreams and giving back to his community. The fifth-grader from Brooklyn, New York, is the CEO of a business that aims to help low-income families save money on clothes while also advocating the importance of education. First set up as an online thrift shop, Obocho's Closet sells donated children's clothes under the $10 price range. However, Obocho's dreams extended far beyond the online marketplace and in December last year, he officially achieved his goal of opening a physical store location in Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood on his 11th birthday.
According to Good Morning America, Obocho established his business, I Am Obocho LLC, in 2018 after he recognized the financial hardships his mother, Sasha Peters, experienced. Having just watched the Avengers: Infinity War movie, when the young boy asked Peters to buy him toys of characters from the film, she admitted that she simply couldn't afford it. Rather than throw tantrums as many others his age would've, Obocho decided to take matters into his own hands and sold some of his old clothes to get money to buy the toys himself. That's when it hit him that many other children and parents around him must be facing similar challenges and decided that he'd help them in any way he could.
"I was inspired by all the superheroes helping to make the world a better place. I wanted to be a hero myself by helping my mom," Obocho revealed. Driven by this idea, he began collecting donations from the community and set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise enough money to open his thrift store. "That idea turned into the mission I have today—to help the community GROW. When I told my mom that I was interested in turning re-selling my clothes into a thrift store business, she decided to enroll me in a small business course, and from there, my business was born," the impressive young man shared in his campaign page.
Obocho revealed that he knew his business needed a physical store after his home started to fill up with donations. Peters—a single mother originally from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands—has played a vital role in helping her son achieve his dreams as she believes that parents' investment into their children's dreams plays a huge part in their child's success. "You have to nurture kids when they come up with ideas and you have to pay attention to everything they say because they're telling you how to groom them to be a better version of themselves," she said.
Although he's just 11, Obocho has a clear idea of what his business goals are. While his primary aim is to help other low-income families have access to necessities, he also wants to teach them how to save money for their children’s college funds. "Since my business is for-profit, my company gives back to the community by investing a percentage of the profits in providing FREE financial literacy seminars geared towards teaching parents and kids how to save for college or pursue other goals like entrepreneurship," he explained in his GoFundMe page.
Obocho's hard work and determination has been recognized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who in June 2019, honored the boy as one of the "Heroes of the Month"—an award that celebrates people for their bravery, selflessness, and service. Adams revealed that he's proud to have gotten the chance to give Obocho the distinction because of his "sense of his obligation to give back," adding that "this young man personifies the great things young people are doing across our country and particularly in Brooklyn."
Her son's success and drive also inspired Peters to fulfill her dreams of becoming a fashion designer and seamstress and she recently quit her job as a social worker. The proud mother revealed that she also plans to help her son build his brand by operating his social media pages and coordinating events. Peters has also witnessed her son achieve great personal growth since setting up his business, going from a shy kid who'd frequently have panic attacks before speaking engagements to receiving a standing ovation while delivering opening remarks during a Black History Month event hosted by The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce last month.
Peters and Obocho have local entrepreneur and music artist, Mental Barton, to thank for the young entrepreneur coming out of his shell as he has been mentoring the boy for about two years now. However, Barton says that he's grateful for the chance to help the 11-year-old build "his own voice and abilities" by inviting him to join him on stage during performances across New York City. "His drive and vision have gotten much bigger... I see him breaking outstanding barriers," said Barton.