OCOEE, Fla. – Even before they can legally drive, 13-year-old Semaj Washington and 15-year-old Syhion Washington are already business owners, and now, published authors.
The two make up a group of a dozen teenagers featured in ‘Dear Adults, We Have Issues Too!’ a recently published book showcasing local teenagers’ life stories of overcoming adversity such as the sudden death of a family member, recovering from an abusive relationship and growing up in poverty.
“The point of the book is to show how kids our age go through issues and hardships and traumatic events in life,” Shyion Washington said. “How far we’ve gotten through them, showcasing from our darkest times to our brightest moments.”
News 6 first met with Semaj and Syhion Washington in 2017, shortly after the duo formed their clothing line company, S2T2 Sports Apparel, known as “Strength to the Second Power.”
Strength that came from their own loss. In 2013, their father, Surrey Washington, died in a car accident, as the boys wrapped up their first day of baseball tryouts.
“When our dad passed away in 2013, we were looking for a way to help out our mom with bills and stuff,” Syhion Washington said. “She still won’t let us pay for bills, but it’s worked.”
Running a business comes with it’s challenges. But so far, these two have it sewn up, selling socks, custom sleeves, and other apparel online all over the country, including Hawaii, California and up the East Coast.
“You don’t really see many young black men starting their own clothing line and putting as much dedication into ours, getting a whole patent and going through the whole legal process,” Syhion Washington said. “You don’t see many people doing that.”
“Anything that you put your mind to you can do it,” Semaj Washington added. “If you work hard enough you’ll eventually get there.”
The brothers also started selling their athletic sleeves in a vending machine they own at Hoop Dream Elite Training Facility, located in West Orange County.
You can shop online at S2T2 Sports Apparel and purchase a copy of ‘Dear Adults, We Have Issues Too!’ by clicking here.