We had the good fortune of connecting with Oda Sereix and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Oda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My decision to start my own business was born out of my desire to continue making a positive impact in my community, particularly in the field of animal rescue. With almost 20 years of purchasing and operations experience, as well as eight years of hands-on involvement with various animal rescue organizations, I felt confident in my ability to create something meaningful.
Prior to opening my store, I had been managing a rescue shelter and adoption center. Although I had no direct experience in the field, I drew on my years of experience in multiple industries, as well as my knowledge gained through my rescue work, to successfully open and manage the center. However, my health eventually made it impossible for me to continue working in a shelter environment, and I knew I needed to find a new way to continue supporting my beloved charities.
That’s how Thrift It FWD was born. It’s a unique blend of my passion for sourcing, fashion, decor, and animals. By leveraging my expertise and interests, I am able to create a business that not only supports animal rescue organizations but also provides a fun and engaging shopping experience for customers.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am proud to introduce my business, Thrift It FWD, as a unique thrift store that aims to support local animal charities. In my research prior to opening the store, I noticed a lack of businesses that focus on supporting animal charities, with most businesses concentrating on human charities. I saw an opportunity to create a community-driven store that supports local animal rescues and promotes animal welfare.
At Thrift It FWD, we offer a way for people to provide monetary donations to local animal rescues without having to pay out of pocket. Customers who bring in items for donation can select from a list of rescues to ensure they are supporting the cause most important to them, whether it be cats, dogs, horses, or farm animals. This unique approach to thrift shopping has resonated with our customers, who appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in their community while shopping for second-hand treasures.
My success can be attributed to a combination of hard work, dedication, and support from my family, especially my loving mother and husband. Despite not finishing college, my professional career has focused on learning and immersing myself in different industries, with a particular concentration on sourcing and operations. After running a shelter, I felt a calling to do more and knew that charity was and is a larger part of my heart. Although it has been terrifying at times, I remain committed to my higher purpose of helping the voiceless, the abused, and the unwanted.
Along the way, I have learned that perseverance and a strong sense of purpose can help overcome challenges. I have also learned the importance of surrounding myself with a supportive community and listening to feedback from my customers and partners. Ultimately, I want the world to know that Thrift It FWD is not just a store, but a movement to promote animal welfare and support the local community. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of animals in need
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
South Florida has a lot of fun outdoor activities to offer so I would make sure she gets to soak in all the Sun and Fun we can. Definitely a Beach and Boat Day exploring our local waterways. Head out to the Everglades for a swamp tour to see some of Florida’s amazing wildlife up close. Take an airboat ride, walk through the sawgrass marshes, and maybe even spot some alligators and other creatures. Take a trip up to some of the nearby springs and go kayaking, swimming, tubing, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. Take in a concert or live music event at one of the area’s beach amphitheaters. Enjoy some great music and entertainment while taking in the beautiful ocean views. If my friend is up to it, I would love to take her to volunteer for the day at one of our partner rescues.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to all the animal rescuers out there. Having worked in animal rescue myself, I have firsthand experience of the incredible amount of dedication, hard work, and emotional toll that goes into rescuing and rehabilitating animals. It can be both rewarding and heart-wrenching, yet rescuers never give up.
Animal rescuers are often faced with difficult and emotionally challenging situations on a daily basis, such as dealing with abuse and neglect, and yet they continue to persevere with passion and commitment. Their tireless efforts to improve the lives of animals deserve recognition and appreciation.
I would also like to acknowledge the importance of support systems, both personal and professional, in my journey. Without the encouragement, mentorship, and support of those around me, I would not be where I am today. From my loved ones to my business partners, I owe a great deal of my success to their unwavering support and belief in me.