At the start of April, Dovid Schulhof, ninth grader at The Torah Academy of Bergen County, along with the rest of the world, was filled with uncertainty regarding the next few months. After completing classes on Zoom and finishing assignments, Dovid found that he still had much of the day to utilize. While many teenagers turned to apps such as TikTok or Netflix on their phones or desktops to fill the time, Dovid, who wasn’t satisfied with his current computer, decided to build his own and use it profitably to expand his already-booming business.
Prior to this venture, Dovid had already been fascinated by rare, expensive merchandise or swag, also known as merch. For years, he has been following Nike, Supreme and Jordan, waiting for their newest releases, called drops. It was this point of interest that he used to springboard himself into a very profitable business.
With the help of an investment from his mother, Dovid bought a bot—computer software meant expressly for the purpose of copping, the process of snatching the new merch. While this may seem straightforward, bots aren’t that easy to use. Dovid spent hours upon hours researching and learning about the nature of the bot he purchased. Much of his free time was spent trying different methods and programs, running it over and over again until he got it right. He signed up for the chat app Discord, in which he joined multiple group chats in order receive notifications on upcoming drops. When he gets that notification, Dovid sets up the bot to cop that specific item that’s about to be released, calculating timing precisely so that he can be one of the first buyers. Dovid quickly got the hang of it, copping multiple items a week, at wholesale price. From there, he just watched the cash flow.
Dovid signed up for accounts on sites like GOAT and Stockx, authenticated merchandise websites for sellers. Once he receives the items that he cops, he lists them on those websites for retail price and waits for the responses. Once he has a buyer, he personally labels and ships out the item, satisfied with the transaction.
At a certain point, Dovid’s old computer just wasn’t cutting it. Its lack of speed hindered his ability to proficiently cop merchandise, putting him at a disadvantage. He needed something newer, something faster. Thus, he built his own computer.
First, he researched. He scoured the internet for information, watching hours of videos a day, reading articles and taking notes in order to perfect the composition. Using some of his profits, Dovid then purchased various computer parts and got to work. In just three hours, he had constructed his own, handmade computer. After that, business boomed.
Dovid’s initiative and drive are unquestionable, expressed every step of the way. The creativity to begin this lucrative endeavor during these challenging times is already impressive, as is his determination to continue for an extended period of time. His job often includes early waking hours and late nights, but his dedication is unwavering. After many weeks of school and running his business, Dovid took a few weeks off to attend camp Mesorah. When school starts again, he plans on continuing, albeit at a slightly mitigated pace due to his work load. Hopefully, this business will propel itself into something quite significant and substantial for Dovid.
At a time such as this pandemic, when the world is essentially “shut down,” it’s easy to be consumed by this narrative of stagnation and unproductivity. Cases such as Dovid’s, though, show that even in the darkest hour we can take an unfortunate circumstance and use it to produce something great.
Zack Steiner is currently a junior at Yeshiva University where he is studying psychology and is on track to get semicha.