A religious brand that encourages through minimal clothing | Popgen Tech
Lavish by Grace, a pandemic-driven brand, was founded in 2020 by Sherline Rau. That’s not what she planned to say. She waited tables and didn’t enjoy it, but she was also going to serve in the Air Force, her boyfriend of four years had just proposed, she was in technical school, and she was getting ready to move out of her parental home to California. Everything was going as the young people hope, but something was nagging at her, something would add to her plate, but what she couldn’t rest from: opening a business.
Lavish By Grace’s mission is clear to Raaw: “we live in a world where everything ends and everything has a limit. However, God’s grace, with which we are generously gifted, does not do this. There is no better word to describe it than generous. Lavish by Grace was founded with the intention of sharing my faith and raising awareness of Jesus Christ using minimal and comfortable clothing,” says Rau.
The story of Lavish By Grace
“Even though God gave me the vision to start a business in 2019, I had no idea how it would work with everything else going on in my life. I just believed and trusted that this was what God wanted me to do. I remember sitting in my dorm room at a technology school and praying for the name of my business,” Rao shares at the time. The name Envious Kloset came to mind, but after praying some more, she felt the Holy Spirit remind her that God does not tolerate envy, so she continued to pray and the name Lavish By Grace came to her. “Ephesians 1:7-9 (NIV) talks about God’s grace and how it has been poured out on us through Jesus Christ. It made me cry because everything was coming together and making sense to me. Because I waited on God and His timing, it took almost two years to launch Lavish by Grace,” she says.
Getting a mentor made all the difference. During these two years, Raaw learned about effective social media, marketing, advertising and how to structure a brand. “At the time, I wondered why God made me wait while everyone else was playing on Tik Tok, especially since 2020 was a great year for Tik Tok traffic, but I was taught to be patient and calm. And I wasn’t going to delve into something I wasn’t ready for.”
With a natural eye for minimal clothing, Rau knew the brand had to move in that direction. For her, minimal clothing with basic and neutral colors keeps her organized and free of unnecessary items in her closet. But her view of everything minimal is personal. “My parents didn’t always have the means to provide me with the latest trends or buy new clothes when I was younger. In high school, my closet was very minimal to create different style combinations. With so many trends circulating, it can be difficult for some to keep track of clothes and throw them away after one wear, as it was for me.”
The world picked up on this during the pandemic, when sports leisure time increased significantly. Forbes Board Member Alison Bringe addressed this in a 2021 article where she wrote, “According to Allied Market Research, the global activewear industry will reach nearly $547 billion by 2024.”
“Because of the durability of minimal style, fashion calls for minimalist clothing. You can reuse your pieces because they are forever. By introducing minimal styles to your wardrobe, it’s easy to style because you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re wearing and how to match it. This means that a shirt from two years ago will always be fashionable,” she explains. During the pandemic, the fashion industry has seen a slowdown in fast fashion and a trend toward bespoke or bespoke pieces, which has led to people buying things that have meaning and that they can pass on.
So why faith-based clothing?
“When it comes to Christian clothing, there aren’t many Christian brands that focus on minimal clothing. At the time, I also noticed a gap in the Christian market for minimal Christian clothing and accessories, so I knew that was the direction I wanted to take,” says Rau.
According to Fibre2Fashion, the US Christian apparel industry generates $4.5 billion in annual sales. And young people under the age of twenty-three will prefer to wear Christian T-shirts instead of Abercrombie or sportswear. “Religious clothing is becoming increasingly popular around the world and in the fashion industry,” says Rau. “Imagine wearing a religious sweatshirt on the street, changing someone’s mood and giving them a small sign that everything is going to be okay just by wearing a modest sweatshirt with a positive message. The most important reason why the fashion industry needs clothing based on religion is not only to show off our style, but also to honor God, encourage others and evangelize.”
Two collections have already been released for the collection, they are stylish and eye-catching. The first, Rooted in Christ, flows between a color palette of pine, flowers and butter. The away shorts come in all three colors, as well as the lounge sweatshirt. The first has a fleece lining made of soft fabric. The three-pocket design features ‘They tried to bury me but they didn’t know I was a seed’ in a circular logo on the lower left of the left shorts. The sweatshirt also features a fleece lining, a front zip fastening and long sleeves. The sweatshirt, which comes in the same three colors, is part of a matching set that is sold separately from the shorts. On the upper left side of the sweatshirt is the inscription “Rooted in Christ”.
The Goodness Of God collection is relevant for the winter months with sweatpants instead of lounge shorts. The two-tone noir and marl track pants feature the wording “God’s Kindness Club” embroidered on the upper left side of the pants. The sweatshirt has the same lettering, but larger and in the center.
Both collections are designed to inspire time with God. Creations are relaxed, as time with God can be relaxing. “Every item and every collection is designed by me with my notebook and pencil,” says Rau. “One of the things I do when launching a new collection is to pray and look to Christ for guidance and wisdom. When designing a collection, I reference the Bible, Christian song lyrics, or inspirational quotes from Pinterest for the collection name. With every collection that comes out, I always remember Christ, comfort, quality and community. As we are a Christian brand, every collection I release will always include a message of encouragement for our customers. Comfort is the second factor I consider when designing our products. Leisure clothes should be comfortable; I want our customers to feel as good as they look. Quality is also something I always strive for. In order for our customers to continue to buy from us in the future, it is essential that they are satisfied and that we earn their loyalty. Our customers are more likely to come back and recommend it to others if they find a product they like.”
Even though she is active military, she has always wanted to be in fashion. “I remember being teased at school for the way I dressed and I remember begging my parents to give me a sketchbook to fuel my creativity. Since I didn’t have the opportunity to buy clothes like everyone else at school, I started drawing clothes that I would wear or that I thought were fashionable. I remember wanting to be a fashion designer in high school, but all I had was a sketchbook and a pencil. I drew pictures at home and showed them to my friends when I went to school, who were always impressed. Shortly after I announced the launch of Lavish by Grace, one of my high school friends messaged me to remind me of how I used to draw the fashion sketches I showed her. Now to see how my creative ideas come to life is happiness, it’s like a dream come true”
Rau plans to expand the brand in the coming years, but she’s taking those considerations carefully and prayerfully. “Our main goal for the next couple of years is to expand our product line beyond just sweatshirts, sweatpants, shorts and accessories. So, instead of selling only sports shoes and accessories next year, I will also be offering my customers a more breathable and soft collection of leisurewear, which our customers have been asking for for quite some time. In general, I will prioritize clothing over accessories and provide a wide range of different types of leisure wear.’
So how does she balance her military life, her home life and her brand? “I still have some to work on and balance,” she laughs. “While my military life was successful, I was good at keeping my work at work and not bringing it home. Juggling being a wife, going to school, and running a business is the hardest part for me. Every now and then I find myself neglecting my responsibilities as a wife, a student, my personal brand, or a business owner, spending more time on one than the other, but I can take control and remember my role in each. My husband was a big supporter of mine and helped me get organized. In the end, it all comes down to time management and prioritization. This year I took a break from posting Christian content on my personal brand to focus on my relationship with God and my business. When it comes to managing my brand’s social media, I find that planning ahead for my business really helps. Content preparation allows me to have content ready when it’s time to publish.”
In all that she has to balance, and the problems that the brand faces from time to time with its manufacturer, or the lack of funding to launch new collections and advertising, Rau is confident in what she has built. “We must not remain timid when it comes to our faith. The success of my brand is a testament to my faith in God. I hope to help as many people as possible experience God personally, spread positivity, and spark meaningful conversations about their faith. There are words of encouragement in everything I do, from our packaging to our Instagram posts. I understand how difficult it can be to follow the path that God has called us to, and we want to share this journey with our customers, not only providing them with comfortable items, but also encouraging and praying with you every step of the way.” she says.
Shop Lavish By Grace at lavishbygrace.com or on Tik Tok, Pintrest and Instagram.