No matter what I'm doing on this entrepreneur journey, sharing the Gospel and glorifying God is at the core of every move - Calvin Campbell
The United States has a rich history of business owners operating their companies in line with their religious beliefs. Some of the nation’s biggest and most popular brands, such as In-N-Out Burger, Forever 21 and Hobby Lobby, share a devotion to religious values and constant resolve to building their businesses on faith. In this Re.engineer Trending Leaders feature, we had the opportunity to connect with Calvin Campbell, winner of our “Celebrate an Entrepreneur” contest and also owner of Love Offensively (www.loveoffensively.com).
Calvin Campbell is a graphic designer turned entrepreneur that is passionate about creating and innovating. Since 2015, he has owned and operated a Christian t-shirt line called Love Offensively and as of June 2019, he is the co-founder of a custom graphics shop called 104 Customs and More (www.104customs.com). As an entrepreneur, he uses this platform as a showcase for his faith and to make Jesus known. Their vision is to create apparel of the utmost quality that opens the door to engage the community around you and their mission is to 1) Inspire believers by showing them that this world is in desperate need of Love, and that they have a significant role to play and 2) Equip them with the resources, knowledge and tools that they need to take a stand for their beliefs in their own communities.
He is married to his beautiful wife Rachel and the father of two wonderful boys, Jeremiah and Malachi. When he is not working, you can find him playing with his boys, serving in his local Church, building & refinishing guitars and always looking for an opportunity to try and learn something new.
Q: I really enjoy the work you are doing with your Love Offensively brand, and I think we need more positive, faith based imagery across the world. What inspired you to start your company?
Calvin: Thank you for that. We are very grateful for what we've been able to do with our company. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without Love Offensively. We truly believe that shirts are an excellent medium for the Gospel. I've wanted to start a t-shirt company since I was in high school way back when this company actually started. There are more shirts in existence then there are people, so what a great way to spread any message. As someone who was an extreme introvert at the time, shirts were the easiest way for me to share my faith. I've always been a fairly creative person, so when I started teaching myself graphic design, I immediately started creating shirt designs. People seemed to like my designs, so I stuck with it. Unfortunately, I did not start the company. That was done by a man named Joe Baker back in 2005. It's a bit of a crazy story how we actually ended up buying it from him. We got to see God do some incredible and unbelievable things to open up the doors for us to get the company and we ended up getting it back in 2015.
Q: How has your faith guided you through the journey of being an entrepreneur?
Calvin: It guides every aspect of it. Entrepreneurship can go a hundred different ways and to quote my pastor, it gives me the "ditches" to work between. The Bible's not explicit on what products I can produce or exactly how much I can charge, but it is explicit on how I treat nice customers, how I treat rude customers, the quality of work I put in and how to pay my taxes. I listen and read things from Christian and non-Christian entrepreneurs, but no matter what, when I apply anything I learn, it's always through the filter of my faith. No matter what I'm doing on this entrepreneur journey, sharing the Gospel and glorifying God is at the core of every move.
Q: I recently had the opportunity to see some of your work through a colleague and I was quite impressed. How do you channel your creativity to produce such classic designs?
Calvin: Thank you. I'm going to do a shameless plug, but I promise it answers this question. I just started a new company with my business partner called 104 Customs and More. The name comes from Psalm 104. As we were working on a name I kept coming back to the question of what inspires me and what inspires others? With Love Offensively and 104, creativity is at the core of both businesses. So is it possible to find a sort of ultimate inspiration for creativity? I feel like the answer is yes! People take inspiration from all sorts of places. You hear of authors finding a secluded cabin to help them write, painters looking at the blend of colors in the sunset for new color inspirations, and hard working parents who love their kids and are inspired by them to work even harder. Even Isaac Newton was inspired by an apple. As inspirational as those things are, they are still just creation. If there's creation that is that amazing, how amazing is the Creator? That's where Psalm 104 inspires my day in and day out. Statements like "You are clothed with splendor and majesty,", "He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved" and "He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting". How can I not be inspired to give my all to each design? I can look to the one who spoke and created everything. And in that, I find all the inspiration I need to channel the creativity that was gifted to me by the Creator.
Q: At Re.engineer, our foundational values are collaboration and sharing value across all industries. Tell us about your greatest collaboration project.
Calvin: It would have to be purchasing Love Offensively. Even though it's my company it was my friend Colby who is an investor and was the critical piece to making the deal happen. He has way more experience with being an entrepreneur than me. As someone who at the time had almost zero experience, he came along side and not only answered tons of questions, but without his support, we would have never been able to do it. What seemed like a one-time collaboration for a purchase has turned into a great friendship. I've had the privilege to help be able to work with him on things for his business and he's been able to help with my other adventures. Sometimes a collaboration feels like a one-time event, but you just never know that it might just be so much more. His willingness to collaborate with a beginner like me on a business deal, allowed me to be able to do what I'm doing now.
Q: What advice would you give to other young professionals or entrepreneurs looking to take their career or business to the next level?
Calvin: Learn something new and try something new. It doesn't have to be every day or every week, but hopefully it's on some sort of regular interval. We live in an era where information is so easily obtained and to not take full advantage of that is a shame. We can learn just about anything in a matter of seconds. Do you know what happened on March 3rd, 1847? Probably not off the top of your head, but you could know with just one google search. Learning something new is the first step to doing something new. To go anywhere further in your business or career, will probably require doing something different and probably something new. So read a book, watch some videos, read a blog or do the best one, find someone who has done it before and learn from them. Learn, learn, learn then do something with it. It doesn't require thousands of dollars or thousands of hours to try something new, but it does require some action. I taught myself to build and refinish guitars from YouTube. I bought really cheap guitars at garage sales and online. I hung guitars from my kitchen light fixture in my 2 bedroom apartment, to applying finishes. I do not have formal training, I did not invest thousands of dollars and I do not have all the fancy gear. But I'm learning and I'm trying something new. It was supposed to be just a hobby, but oddly enough, it's actually helping me in my newest business adventure.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Calvin: Oddly enough, nothing right now. There have definitely been seasons where lying in bed at night is actually distraction free, so I can lay there and think through things and plan things. What's so crazy right now is I've taken one of the biggest leaps of faith with this new adventure. Yet, I lay my head on the pillow at night and I rest easy. As I mentioned earlier, we saw God do some big things in the process of us purchasing Love Offensively. We've seen Him do even more since then. God has been gracious and faithful day in and day out. I know He is taken care of me during my day. So when it comes to laying down at night, I trust He is still in control for the next few hours and that He already has control of tomorrow.
We were truly honored to feature Calvin and his Love Offensively brand in this Q & A session, and we hope that his commitment to his faith in Christ resonates with all of our readers. Calvin is boldly utilizing his creative talents to bring about improvements withing the business and local communities. What started as a hobby, he has now re.engineered into a legacy and because of this, Calvin you are a certified re.engineer!