5 minutes with Mo, founder of Clime-it Brothers
Wed 7 Jun
CHECK OUT CLIME-IT BROTHERS, WHERE EACH ITEM OF CLOTHING BOUGHT = ONE HOUR OF TRAINING FOR A YOUNG PERSON WITHIN THE PROJECT
Forget buy one, get one free; here’s an offer that really makes a difference. Clime-it Brothers is a streetwear fashion venture that also gives back, providing opportunities for local young people. Find out more about founder Mo’s story…
Tell us about yourself and why you decided to start your business…
My name is Mubarak Mohamud, known to everyone as Mo. I am 29 and the founder of the social enterprise Clime-it Brothers. The reason I started this venture was to create jobs and help reintegrate young people — coming from gangs and drug dealing backgrounds — helping them to become positive members of society. I live in Camden, not far from the Market, so this is a personal quest to better my community.
How has your business grown since you began?
It has been a slow but steady uphill climb and thanks to the help of our great supporters, we have been moving from strength to strength. The Market’s management has also been instrumental in our success – we owe them a lot for helping us secure our new unit.
Why employ employ young people who are struggling to find work?
The idea is to help young people with their communication skills, as I believe that an inability to interact causes more harm to someone’s chances of employment than any other factor – that’s everything from speech to body language and appearance.
The young people we work with have a habit of communicating in street slang, and get frustrated at not being understood in new situations, which turns into a resentment towards mainstream society. This can keep young people in the sorts of destructive environments where street slang is common.
These destructive environments are mainly found in gang-ridden areas and places where criminal activity is encouraged. When does this end? I’m sorry to be blunt but it won’t, until initiatives like ours step up and give these young people a chance.
And what do you try to teach your employees to prepare them for the future?
That they all have potential.The main lesson is that language is everything: it can set people apart but also brings people together. As someone who spent their childhood consumed by a life of crime, I know first-hand what it takes to be accepted back into society – I want to be the role model I wish I had. All you have to do is come to our retail space to see our work in practice.
Your clothing range also promotes environmental awareness. Why?
I have always thought that if we change as people, it will have a positive effect on the environment we live in. The people that are involved in our project come with very minimal knowledge about climate change. The idea was to merge climate-change related ethics with cool fashion, to target a younger demographic. It has worked; our group have gained a wider understanding of issues and the t-shirts have reached a worldwide audience.
What plans have have you got for the future?
I would like to think of Clime-it Brothers less as a clothing brand, more as a movement. Our project to date has inspired over a hundred young people at risk of a life of crime to reevaluate their decisions and choose another path. The plan for the future is to continue to work with UK probation services to help as many young people out of a life of crime as possible. Oh yeah, and sell some more clothes!