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John Richards of In God We Must

The Pioneer Spirit and What it Takes to Build A Brand

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At Danger Press, we take pride in bringing our clients’ ideas and brands to life. We understand the challenges and struggles that go behind starting and developing a brand from scratch. We often coach our clients on ways to improve their own marketing strategies, their designs, and ways to get the most out of the garments that we print.

Two years ago, we interviewed Sharod Simpson, owner of GOD IS DOPE, to bring you 5 Simple Methods to Promote Your Brand. Through the article, Sharod offers readers some key advice on how to maintain your brand strong but most importantly, authentic.

Today, we want to expand on our conversation on how to further your brand with the help of one our most successful clients, John Richards co-owner of In God We Must . We sat down with John to talk about the brand’s history and the importance of finding a greater purpose behind your brand. A purpose that, according to John, helped him overcome the many struggles that come with starting your own brand. You’ll also find a breakdown of some the key points that John believes are crucial to every emerging brand.

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John Elijah Richards & Matthew Mulkey

UNFORSEEN CHALLENGES

The birth of In God We Must came from unforeseen circumstances. John, a sales rep at the time, had just gotten laid off and had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Like many Americans, the health system had failed him. The expenses that came with his diagnosis were much too high for him to afford. He had to find a way to make ends meet and pay for his medication.

John’s medical bills would total to about 2k out of pocket and on top of that he had to make rent, a care note, and other bills. This transitional period allowed John to pick up a new hobby. He started making rings and other jewelry. His girlfriend, now his wife, had just come back from a memorable trip from Nicaragua and brought along with her some coins. John saw an opportunity to put his new hobby to use and decided to make a one of kind ring that changed his life forever.

He shared the ring on Instagram and to his surprise, the inquiries started coming in. At this point, he knew he was on to something.


“If I can make “x” amount of rings at this cost, I can cover my bills for the month.”


In one month, John had made all the money he needed to pay his bills. John remembers thinking to himself that he was  “…in a really bad spot financially, emotionally, and personally but let’s see where this goes!”


Social media is key. We see it every time. Successful T-Shirt brands are distinguished by a cohesive aesthetic that speaks to their target market.

John was building his brand during the early days of Instagram. Long before the infamous algorithms were placed, so all of his followers were immediately exposed to his products.

Most importantly, John & Matt knew the importance of developing an aesthetic that was cohesive and not all over the place. You can view their feed here.

THE BIRTH OF THE PIONEER SPIRIT

A willingness to endure hardship in order to explore new places or try out new things.

In the span of one year, John had developed some serious traction and a following. He took his experience as a band member and his knowledge on the music industry to expand his brand by releasing t-shirts. “I know how lucrative the t-shirt world is. Everybody wears t-shirts!”

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John knew who to contact to make these shirts happen. He hit up his buddy Matt Mulkey, who at the time was doing really well for himself doing sales over at the print shop where they had met. Without realizing it, Matt would become Johns business partner. Matt had always envisioned himself starting up his own brand but never really had the time to make it happen. The opportunity came to him through John and they never looked back.

You need to commit to this or it will always be a side gig

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who are where you want to be.”

In God We Must has come a long way. You can now find them at Citizen Supply at Ponce City Market where you can find all of their shirts as well as their unique rings and jewelry. John & Matt have always been good at recognizing opportunity and they have made sure to offer opportunities to others. The brand has expanded into a crew of individuals who are all passionate about what they do and you’ll find them pictured below.

John Elija Richards: Founder
Matthew Mulkey: Co-Founder
Maryl Richards: Customer Service / Shipping & Receiving
Zach Richards: Production Manager
Carl Caballes: Shop Manager
Taylor Friedrich: Maker
Samar Khader: Production Manager

At a personal level, John hopes to continue giving back. He started a brand because he needed to survive. Now his focus has changed to giving others back more and more every time. He loves to mentor and never hesitates to help others reach their own goals.

Just recently, we had the opportunity to collaborate with In God We Must and Alternative Apparel in making limited edition shirts for Lost-n-Found,  an Atlanta based nonprofit that exists to end homelessness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) and all sexual minority youth. You can view them down below.

This is just one example of how the brand continues to give back. For now, they are focused on their growth and we look forward to helping them continue their journey as one of Atlanta’s strongest brands.

Our conversation with John was more than insightful and we are thankful to have clients who are willing to share their process and success story with us. Below you’ll find some key points that, according to John, are crucial for any emerging brand. Although these may sound like common sense, when applied, these key points go a long way and In God We Must is the perfect example.

Hustle.

Be Vulnerable

Make An Appealing Product

Invest In Your Product

Make Samples First. Then Ask For Feedback.

Adapt With Time

Know Your Market

E-Commerce is King

Today May Be Your Last Day, Go Out and Get It!

You Can’t Design Everything. Pass it on To Someone Who Can Do It Better


A special thanks to John and the whole In God We Must crew for sharing their story and their success.

You can view In God We Musts’ new Fall/Winter collection here and by clicking below.

@ingodwemust
53k followers
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José takes pride in printing your posters and fine art prints. If he’s not in the shop you can find José at a photo session, drawing and designing at home, or spending time with his loved ones.