As consumers in the largest economy in the world, we come face to face with literally thousands of brands every day in the US. In the age of the internet, our connection with brands has only extended as audiences are exposed to an average 5,000 a day according to CBS.
Despite all we seem to know about brands, it’s all the more shocking to learn many major companies hold Christian roots. Some more covert than others, but nevertheless their messaging isn’t necessarily indicative outright. Here are 10 brands you may not have realized stem from Christian origins.
1. In-N-Out Burger
The wildly popular burger chain can be found solely throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. The family-owned restaurants known for their fresh ingredients and secret menu items may not be as known for the Biblical scriptures etched on their cups and containers, even on employee paychecks according to CBS.
In tiny print you can find anything from Proverbs 3:5, John 3:16 to Revelation 3:20. Although the company has yet to make any religious statement on their website or in the press, their commitment to sharing scripture is quite telling. In-n-Out’s spokesman Carl Van Fleet told USA Today in 2005 that the founders’ son Richard Snyder instituted the practice. “He told me, ‘It’s just something I want to do.'” Nothing more, nothing less!
2. Mary Kay
As one of the nation’s largest cosmetic companies, the now late founder Mary Kay Ash gave all credit to her faith in God. In her biography, she stated her company’s success was a result of “taking God as our partner” according to Business Insider. Her famous motto being, “God first, family second, career third.” To the average customer, it may not be as obvious but for any employee, the spirit of Mary Kay’s faith-based origins still ring strong.
The online dating service was founded in 2000 by Christian psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren intending to hold firm to Christian values Buzzfeed states. Because of this, the site while not overtly faith-based is widely supported in the Christian community as a trusted service.
Okay, so this one is probably one you already knew about. Many of us share the frustration and respect whenever a Chick-fil-A craving hits on a Sunday—when their restaurants are closed. Truett Cathy, one of the founding executives stated in response to closing the chain on Sundays, “Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business,” Business Insider shared. They consider it a recipe to their success, and with over 2,300 locations in 48 states, they’re clearly onto something.
5. Forever 21
The popular woman’s retail chain better known for stylish trends on a budget have a little-known nod to its Christian roots. On the bottom of each shopping bag is John 3:16 in small print. Do and Jin Chang, the married couple who founded and own the company have publicly stated their beliefs as Christians and Forever21’s direct affiliation. Mrs. Chang told Business Week that the store had religious roots, citing that, “God told her she should open a store and that she would be successful.” The company’s current net worth of $6 billion is only growing. Successful indeed.
6. Alaska Air
The Seattle-based airline is known for its great service and comfort. Lesser known is its now-discontinued practice of sharing a scripture card with every meal. For 30 years Alaska passengers would receive a notecard often with a Psalm with in-flight meals. Met with increasing controversy they stated while their religious perspective was clear they did not intend to offend customers. In 2012 the company announced its decision to end the 30-year tradition of distributing scripture cards. As cited by CNN, Alaska executives expounded on their decision in an email to frequent passengers: “This difficult decision was not made lightly… We believe it’s the right thing to do in order to respect the diverse religious beliefs and cultural attitudes of all our customers and employees … We also know some of you consider the cards to be a tradition that reflects your own spiritual belief…At the same time, we’ve heard from many of you who believe religion is inappropriate on an airplane, and some are offended when we hand out the cards.”
7. The Giving Keys
Founded by Singer-songwriter Cailtin Crosby, the intention of the business from the start was giving back. Crosby, a Christian in her TEDx talk discusses how her journey growing up in the vanity of Hollywood compelled her to search for deeper meaning. It’s what inspired the business “The Giving Keys” when Crosby met a homeless couple in Hollywood. According to the company site, what began as a simple conversation led to Crosby joining forces with the couple as partners to sell jewelry made from keys etched with words to inspire like “hope,” “faith,” “love.”
The idea is that after you purchase a key with a word, you hold onto it until you feel someone needs it more than you whether it’s “strength,” “peace” or “joy.” Although the company’s site is not overtly affiliated with Christianity—its heart-forward mission and commitment to employ and train people transitioning out of homelessness echoes Christ loudly.
The world’s largest retailer founded by the Walton family used a Christian-values leadership model when forming the company in 1962. Today, the store continues to support and carry major Christian books which were once exclusively distributed in Christian book stores when major retailers like Barnes ‘N Noble refused to sell. They also continue to operate under a principle that disallows the sale of any music that carries a parental advisory warning according to Buzzfeed.
9. Hobby Lobby
Another less surprising but necessary mention. Hobby Lobby has been outright with its Christian values on their site and in the public sphere. Since it’s founding by David Green, the son of an Assemblies of God minister, the business has been committed to running on biblical principles. They close their doors Sundays similar to Chick-fil-A. According to its website, their mission statement says “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a matter consistent with biblical principles.”
10. Tyson Foods
Who would have thought the company responsible for your chicken-nugget filled childhood also invite the Holy Spirit into the workplace? Tyson has been quoted as a faith-based company in its core values: “strive(s) to honor God” and “be a faith-friendly company.” They’ve even gone as far as to employ office chaplains to provide “compassionate pastoral care and ministry to team members and their families,” as stated by Ranker.