Tramond Wilkerson, the designer and creator of his clothing company, Abandon Goods, went from foster care to starting his own business at the age of 17.
The clothing line, Abandon Goods, started as an idea in 2012 when Wilkerson was still attending Valley View High School in Moreno Valley.
“His story built this brand,” said Casey Robinson, sophomore journalism major. “This is what makes it unique. (Wilkerson) is opening doors for the youth in our community and putting Moreno Valley on the map.”
Wilkerson said the inspiration came from his abandonment as a child, not having a family and feeling unwanted. He said he felt he had talent to offer to the world and turned his reality into his art.
“I always loved fashion and I wanted to share my story with people,” Wilkerson said. “Every design you see is relevant to my life or something I went through.”
At the age of 4, Wilkerson went into the foster care system after both of his parents suffered from drug abuse and domestic violence. For the next four years he would be moved into eight separate homes.
“I was always in the right hands of the right people and they always took care of me,” Wilkerson said. “That was nothing but God because I could’ve been placed with anybody.”
During his last year at a group home for boys, Wilkerson said he had to prepare himself for his transition out of foster care. This is when Braden Florence, his best friend and chief financial officer of Abandon Goods, and his family made the decision to take Wilkerson in.
“I admire his work ethic,” Florence said. “He is driven and wants to make our brand better everyday, I see the brand taking off because of all the work we have put in.”
Abandon Goods started off as just 12 shirts and has now progressed to an online store with shirts, hats, socks and pants.
“We did not take it as serious in the beginning,” Wilkerson said. “Now people are really buying the clothes and because of the website, we have requests to keep producing product.”
Through his clothing line Wilkerson wants to be an advocate for kids in foster care and encourage people who want to follow their dreams.
Wilkerson said working a job you hate is spiritual suicide and he wants to encourage people to do something they love.
Check out Wilkerson’s Abandon Goods website at www.abandongoods.com.