Jedidiah is more than a clothing company. They are more than a brand, more than a statement. This San Diego-based company is partnering with various humanitarian organizations, including Blood: Water Mission, Surfing the Nations and International Justice Mission—changing lives through both their work and financial support. This is a group of individuals who are using their talents and abilities not only to build a successful company, but also to aid those in need, giving back to communities worldwide. RELEVANT recently had the opportunity to speak with Kevin Murray, president of Jedidiah, about the company’s roots, mission and vision
How did Jedidiah start?
It started as an idea in a high-school youth room in San Diego. The idea was to create a brand that had an alternative image, that was the opposite of most brands in the Action Sport Industry. An image that had a heart for serving others rather than expecting the world to serve us.
How did Jedidiah become involved in humanitarian efforts?
We learned after a few years that we needed to do more than just say all the right things. We learned that people really won’t listen to what you have to say until you have earned their respect by what you are doing. So our Hope Collection and 1% for Humanity programs are the tangible/accountable ways we live out what we believe in our brand. All of our humanitarian partners have developed out of relationships. We work with people we know. All of our partners work with people in crisis—people who are suffering from no fault of their own, people who need to be loved.
Do you have any personal stories of lives changed?
Mostly our own. It is a repeated story, I know, but when people set out on a mission to serve others, it is their own hearts that are stirred the most. Our humanitarian relationships are the lifeblood of who we are. The fabric and texture of our life is so much richer because of our relationships with them. The biggest chunk of time we give in our lives is to work—it has been our greatest joy to find purpose in that.
We have had the pleasure to walk with our partners in Uganda—to see schools built with Invisible Children, knowing our resources helped make it happen. Or painting a mural in a dump in Nicaragua with Love Light and Melody to hopefully shine some beauty and love in a very dark place.
We have traveled to Mexico and spent time with people utilizing the micro-credit program of World Vision and visited the orphanage of Gabriel House who love severely handicapped kids from Baja Mexico. Our team has walked with the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh alongside our friends for Surfing the Nations. We feel our calling is to provide a sustainable revenue stream through Jedidiah that assists these people in crisis.
We love our Hope Collection partners, and we hope others can be inspired to join in and become involved.
What is Jedidiah’s vision for the future?
There is much we want to do, but we are a clothing company first. If we don’t get the clothing right, all the other desires of our heart will never be fulfilled. Our vision is to continue to build the brand and move it into a more collection-inspired company. If retailers can view us as a collection, they will begin to depend on us more season after season.
Our desire is of course to grow; our growth will generate more resource for our partners to be even more productive. We also want to develop the 1 percent for Humanity concept and eventually get other companies to make the same commitment. I know it sounds simplistic, but if all companies gave 1 percent of their revenue (regardless of profits) to relief organizations, our world could be transformed.
We have also launched an aggressive online marketing campaign. Part of this campaign is our Community Project Series. Here is where we are taking the stories of people’s lives and weaving them into the fabric of our clothing. We hope to explore this concept and really engage with people in a meaningful way.