How this young founder turned his birthday money into a business and retired his mom at 13

Abu Mubarik February 02, 2023
Trey Brown and the mother. Photo Credit: Christopher Willard

Meet Trey Brown, the founder of SPERGO, a trendsetting streetwear and lifestyle brand headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. He started his fashion company five years ago with just 16 T-shirts he purchased from the leftover of his birthday money of $178.

His brand combines luxury and urban activewear with sweatsuits, hoodies, boxer briefs, and accessories, according to this report. He was inspired to go into entrepreneurship at his age because he wanted to chart a new course in his community, which has increasingly become violent. His move was to inspire other kids like him and even the older generation to stay out of trouble and follow their dreams.

“There’s so much violence in my community. Kids are being killed; kids are killing kids. I created SPERGO to give myself and my friends another option,” he told PhillyMag. “SPERGO keeps me busy and off the streets.”

Since the launch of his company in 2018, his vision has caught on like wildfire, catching the attention of celebrities like Meek Mill, Diddy, and Tierra Whack. Other celebrities following his brand include Eric Thomas, Shaquille O’Neil, Charles Barkley, Grant Hill, GHerbo, Da Baby, and Ed Mylett.

Brown now has two locations. He opened his first shop in Philadelphia after receiving a $25,000 business grant from Diddy in 2020 and the second clothing store in The Pentagon City Mall located in Washington, D.C. According to the company’s website, Brown went on to sell over 30,000 units of merchandise and grossed more than $200K in sales for several months in a row.

In November 2021, he landed a $300,000 investment deal with Daymond John, the founder of apparel company FUBU, on Shark Tank. Brown obtained the investment deal from John in exchange for a 20% stake in SPERGO. He expanded the money on hiring a fashion designer, upgrading the brand’s e-commerce technology, and preparing for more production, said Sherell Peterson, Trey’s mother and COO of the company.

Brown runs his fashion business alongside his mother. According to him, he retired his mother from her regular job to manage his business. Prior to that, Peterson worked as an elementary school teacher for the School District of Philadelphia.

“The reason why I wanted to get my mom retired is just because, like we were working so much after she finished her job. My mom was doing her job, and then plus we were staying out to two, three a.m. in the morning every day just doing deliveries and working on different things. And I said, ‘Mom you know what, I’m going to retire you,’” he explained why he retired his mother in an interview with Social Proof.

According to him, when he first told his mom that he wanted to retire her, she was initially scared but eventually bought into it. Asked why he wanted to retire his mom, he stated, “I wanted to retire her so she could be present full-time with the family. And also so she could help me work on Spergo more, take Spergo to a whole ‘nother level…In January, February, we just started going off with Spergo.

“Now, my mom she’s able to run the store. She’s able to work on personal things. Now, my mom can get a massage anytime she wants. She can go on vacations, do whatever she wants to do.”

Aside from being a teenpreneur, Brown has become one of the most sought-after youth speakers. He has spoken to high schools, youth groups, and youth summits. He was featured on Times Square and also tapped to be part of an advertisement by investment management firm Invesco.

Brown plans to expand his business beyond the borders of America and also mentor more teens like him.

“I’m in this for the long haul. SPERGO is going to be a household name. You’ll see SPERGO in Neiman Marcus, Saks, Macy’s, and many more big stores. This will be a part of my legacy that inspires people forever,” he told PhillyMag.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 2, 2023


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