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‘Don’t Be Afraid to Fail’: Atlanta Entrepreneur Builds Million-Dollar Business Selling T-Shirts

Unapologetic Urban Gear, a faith-based T-shirt brand with a mission to make God known through clothing, reached a million dollars in sales this past year, says owner Henry Murphy, despite the global coronavirus pandemic and an initial investment of only $500 dollars.

Unapologetic Urban Gear offers an assortment of merchandise including graphic tees, hoodies, joggers, hats, and more — all of which are available virtually at a price ranging from $20-35 dollars.

Murphy, CEO and founder, recalled the journey to a million-dollar business in a sit-down interview with Atlanta Black Star.

“The journey has been good. I’ve been an entrepreneur now for 10 years,” Murphy said. “It comes with its challenges and rewards, but we’ve been steadily growing since we started.”

Murphy, a 47-year old native of Savannah, Georgia, has worked in radio, for a magazine, and as a concert tour manager before deciding the clothing industry was his true passion.

“I read this book ‘The ONE Thing [The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results],’ and it was like, ‘what was the one thing I can focus on and bring to my creativity and artistry to,’ and for me it was the clothing,” added Murphy.

As a tour manager, Murphy said he would sell T-shirts on the side when he returned home. But by 2010 he realized he could grow his business by selling some of the T-shirts he was selling back home in Georgia while out on the road.

“As I did that, it started building exposure across the whole country. I did that for maybe about four or five years straight when I was touring with artists,” Murphy said.

By 2013 he was ready to take the next step. “I kind of brought it back to Atlanta, and put out Unapologetic Urban Gear as a whole, and it just started booming from there,” Murphy added.

His creativity and artistry is visible in all of Unapologetic’s social media campaigns, which consist of high-quality, lifestyle photos and short visuals that remind you of one of your favorite music videos.

The company relies heavily on Instagram to market its product. In late October, Murphy says Instagram’s text messaging advertisement brought in $250,000 in sales alone.

Besides financial success, Murphy also has a 2,500 square-foot headquarters, a partnership with Jonathon Reynolds, one of Gospel’s biggest names, and the approval of his employees.

Marvin Munford, 48, an employee of Unapologetic Urban Gear, says he appreciates the fact that he works for a Black-owned business that focuses on more than just printing shirts and making money.

“Either you follow your dreams or someone’s going to pay you to follow theirs. For many of us, people are paying us to follow theirs,” Munford said.

Munford continued by saying, “He’s chosen to follow his own dreams, and that’s what we’re doing here at Unapologetic.”

In the next year, Henry plans on adding a “Mommy and Me” line and expanding his headquarters, which already includes a printing shop, employee offices, a photography studio, an innovator classroom for upcoming entrepreneurs, and even an arcade.

When asked what words he would give to future entrepreneurs, his advice was, “Don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t win without failure.”

To shop Unapologetic Urban Gear, visit https://unapologeticmerch.com

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