Felicia Lane never intended to start a t-shirt business, but her determination landed her in the clothing industry nonetheless.
A couple of years ago, Felicia was looking for a way to spread God’s word without being overbearing. She didn’t want to confront people and ask them about their faith. Instead, she hoped to find a way for others to feel comfortable approaching her.
“At the end of the day, I wanted to wear something so that people would come up and approach me [about my faith],” said Felicia.
With this mission, she set out to buy herself a few articles of clothing that related to her faith. However, nothing she found felt like “her.” She wanted something stylish and simple, but most of what she found was overstated and flashy. Just when Felicia was ready to give up on her idea, a light bulb went off. She realized that if she couldn’t find the style of tee she wanted then other people couldn’t either, so why not just create them?
Beginning her own clothing line wasn’t something she took lightly. As a former English teacher, she knew nothing about selling shirts. She had some learning to do.
“When the idea came and it wouldn’t go away but got stronger and stronger, I went to work and interned with a business that does screen printing,” said Felicia.
After a year of interning, Felicia felt she had learned enough to embark on her own. With a background in English, she has always loved words and decided to incorporate this into her shirt designs. Her t-shirts would include short but impactful words or phrases with a relevant Bible verse underneath.
She made 250 shirts in five different designs. Within four days, her first batch of tees sold out. Since then, the Restored brand has continued to grow. Felicia is a Chattanooga native, but her shirts can be found in several stores throughout Tennessee, including Elliott’s Boots locations. Her line has even grown to include hats and children’s clothes.
The Restored shirts aren’t what you’d typically expect from a religious shirt. Some bear the words, “Salty,” “Hangry,” and “Conqueror,” while others display the Tristar or the Tennessee state outline. The shirts are purposely understated. They’re meant to encourage people to take out their Bibles to see how the words correspond with the verse.
“One of the latest shirts says ‘hangry,’ and you’re thinking that’s not in the bible, so you look it up,” said Felicia.
For example, “Salty” corresponds with Matthew 5:13 that says, “You are the salt of the Earth,” and “Live Free” corresponds with John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
While Felicia is happy to be spreading God’s word through her shirts, she also wanted to use her business to give back. A friend told her about a local Chattanooga charity called Cry for the Broken. The charity assists women who are struggling with addiction and sexual abuse. Felicia knew she wanted to be involved after learning more about the group’s ministry, so a portion of proceeds from all Restored sales go to Cry for the Broken.
As for the Restored brand, Felicia hopes it will continue to grow. This May marks the brand’s one-year anniversary, and Felicia is thankful for the support she has received along the way.
“I say all the time that it’s crazy,” she said. “None of this should’ve statistically happened. I’m beyond thankful.”