NewLife is celebrating 40 years in business! We’re looking back to our history, and have re-released our classic “Jesus is Our Hope” design – one that means a lot to us as a company, and especially to our founder.
Below is the story of this design, as told by the founder’s daughter, who now manages our company operations.
“Jesus is Our Hope” was sort of the start of it all for what we know NewLife to be now – the flagship design, you might say. NewLife had been in business for 10 years, but by that point, it was really struggling – Dad had been doing sports apparel, parks, and just about anything. He had tried multiple times to sell Christian apparel because that was where his heart really was, but it never would take off. One design, “Christ is Alive”, had some very small success, but anything he pursued in the Christian market never really did well.
Dad had been praying for direction on what to do. At this time, God told my Dad that he needed to leave the other accounts. As you can imagine, when you have tons of inventory and they’re pretty much your entire business, that seems like a pretty crazy notion of what to do next. As Dad was praying and arguing with God about this, he said the Lord spoke to him and said very clearly, “The damage is done, move on.”
He said it was so absurd and he knows these weren’t his own thoughts – it HAD to be God because it was the total opposite of what he would be thinking to do! He continued questioning, and there it was again, “The damage is done, move on!” He said he knew then that this was the direction he was supposed to go. And so he did, not knowing what would happen next.
The next few months were terrible – the lowest point in the company. He had loads of debt, no sales, and a failing business. One day, Dad was sitting in his office reading his Bible and praying about how he was supposed to get out of this mess. He opened his Bible, looked down, and read the scripture of Acts 20:22 where Luke tells of Paul saying, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” That verse was so meaningful at that moment because he related to the situation – prompted by the Spirit to do something without a clue what awaits you next. At that time, he looked up from his Bible and saw the “Christ Is Alive” shirt hanging on a mannequin across from his desk. His heart jumped; he pointed to it and said out loud, “If I’m going under, I’m going under doing something I believe in!”
He pursued the Christian market again from there, but this time, God saw that it succeeded. They created the design “Jesus is Our Hope” to mail as a campaign theme, and it KABOOMED. Within 6 months, they were beginning to turn things around, and in just a few years, they had paid off all the debt.
So while it seemed like the craziest possible direction that he could take, leaving everything else and pursuing Christian apparel was God’s salvation of NewLife!! But only because my Dad listened and obeyed, despite all the odds and everyone telling him he was nuts! God has always provided in every circumstance that has faced NewLife through the years, and as long as we stay faithful to the commitment my Dad made – that God owns this business – I believe He always will!
So all that to say, the first design we ever had success with, which was the start of what NewLife is today, was “Jesus is Our Hope”. He was our hope when my Dad and NewLife literally had none.