Wow, Almost 4 Years Later!

TYL_original_largeAlmost 4 years ago I was swimming in my friends pool, in Orlando Florida, when it hit me! “I’m gonna make some cool tees”
I walked right out of his pool, dripping wet, into his home office, grabbed a napkin and started doodling..
I’ve always said Thank You Lord, so I wanted to use that in the logo somehow. Three minutes later, I had the first draft of our TYL logo (The Cross of Gratitude).
I call my brother Frankie, let him know my vision and sent the draft over to him so he can add his touch.  (he’s so much better at graphics than I am).
And that’s where it all started and I haven’t stopped working on theGRATEFUL APPAREL Brand since.
A lot of people ask me  “How did you guys get so popular?”
I really never knew how to answer that question….
But one day thinking about the question, I started to backtrack and I noticed one thing in common – Giving.
One thing God put on my heart was to give, sow seeds.
I’ve always looked for opportunities on how to bless someone else and in blessing others I’ve actually been extremely blessed.
Couple of Examples:

  • About four years ago my church had a concert. Six bands in total. By the time the last band was setting up, I was done, tired and about to leave. Something told me to just stay. Reluctantly I did and Thank God, because as soon as these guys hit their first note, I knew it was going to be good!! DOUBLEDGE just rocked my Church!!! And left an impression on my heart. By the way, this is before GRATEFUL APPAREL was even thought of. So when GRATEFUL was birthed about a year later, I knew I had to find these guys. It took a little while for me to find them, but when we did, they agreed to meet with us. I remembered thinking [They need a banner] they rocked my church without a banner. So for the meeting I made them a 15′ banner with the DOUBLEDGE logo on it. They had no idea that I was going to bless them with banner (sow a seed) and I had no idea, that, that seed I sowed would come back ten times… They loved the banner!! Next thing you know, I’m traveling with them around the country selling GRATEFUL APPAREL at all their shows. While on the road, I meet tons of people, widening our network and fan-base. All because I blessed them with a banner.
  • About two years ago, RapFest, I walk up to this underground artist in his booth. I had no idea who he was. We start talking and hit it off right away.  I remember him saying “let me get one of those Rapfest-T Shirts, I want to sow a seed into this ministry”  Man, I loved that, I love when people think of others. He had his own merchandise that was kind of OK. I say to him, “I think we could do a better version of that tee for you”. Excited he says “sure Thank You”. About two weeks later we hand him the first GRATEFUL / SIN IS WACK collaboration tee. He loved it! And the rest is history. You see that guy [Andy Mineo] winded up becoming one of the most popular Hip Hop artists around, signing a major record deal with Reach Records making the Sin Is Wack Tee just as popular. All because I sowed a seed.

Now, you can’t go around blessing people expecting things in return, it just doesn’t work like that.
I believe you have to give with a cheerful heart and your motives have to be genuine.
I can’t take credit for being a giver/sower, it’s something God has blessed me with and it doesn’t always come easy.

Example : There’s been times at shows where God has told me to give all the money we just made from sales back to the event.
The conversation would go something like this :
me “All of it?”
HIM “Yes All of it”
me “You mean just the profit, right?”
Him “No All of it!”
me “Ooook”
LoL, it sounds funny now, but believe me explaining it to my wife wasn’t.
But looking back it was all a blessing!! You can never out-give God.
You can’t keep what you have, unless you give it away.
I really believe the best is yet to come.
We appreciate every single one of you.
Thank You so much for the support and God Bless!-Raymond

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