We have decided to join Patreon. We are excited to see what opportunities this brings!
Who we are now.
A great friend of mine asked me which was the biggest brand in my industry that was trying to lead others to Jesus. Not that it is a competition, but I proudly said probably Brothers In Cards. He was excited and congratulatory about that statement. I would love to be pointed to any and all other brands in the hobby that share our Purpose. I am sure there are some bigger than us! As I have reflected on that conversation, I am overwhelmed by the question of "what are we doing with that status?". Everything we do is in the name of Jesus. Our Purpose is to glorify God and love others with a clear representation of following Jesus. So what are we doing to glorify God? What did we do in 2022?
We work hard to build products and opportunities that are great for collectors. We treat everyone we interact with, both online and in person, respectfully. We post content that is relevant about sports and life. We believe these to be important actions. But I can't help but think that we can do more.
If a brand is going to lead in the name of Jesus, it needs to do more.
We need to do more good.
The coolest thing I have ever done.
When I was teaching 4th grade in Marion Community Schools, I had the opportunity to speak monthly at FCA for 5th and 6th graders. This group was made up of many of my former students as well as kids from the other 3 elementary schools in our district. The group grew to around 100 kids. One day in 2019, I asked how many kids had their own Bible. Maybe a dozen kids raised their hand. The next week, I had a sign up sheet in their cafeteria. The week after that, I bought a Bible for every single one of those kids who signed up. Each Bible had their name engraved in it. Brothers In Cards did that.
Last year was a huge challenge. We missed a lot of goals. The competitor in me was and still is frustrated about that. For example, we never got back to 3,000 packs sold in our subscription box after February. Marketing, buying products early, making extra boxes for shows - those are all solutions that we were unable to carry out. I don't like to dwell on the past, so on to 2023.
We have been putting a lot of work into planning and refining what we do. We have also been looking into opportunities to do more good. When we go down those roads, we can't help but get excited. However, the financial goals required to get to those opportunities are lofty.
We are thankful for you.
Weekly, we receive kind words and encouragement from those who appreciate and support our purpose. Many of those comments come from our current customers. Many come from other collectors and followers who would like to support us, but do not collect or desire the products we have available. As we brainstormed ideas on how to make up for coming up short on some of our goals, we thought about those who support the brand - coming up with an opportunity for them to share our purpose.
When the idea of Patreon first came to the table, I wasn't sure it was a route I wanted to go down. I am a current Patreon customer to Crime Junkies. I am subscribed to $10 per month that goes straight to them. I view it as a donation to support a brand I really believe is making a difference. I trust them fully and it has been amazing to see what they have done for forensic and criminology research over the last five years.
With that perspective on how I use Patreon as a customer, I didn't like the idea of asking for donations for Brothers In Cards. In fact, I am not asking for donations at all. As we continued to brainstorm about the Patreon idea, I kept thinking about all of the people that care about what we are trying to do. I thought about those Bibles that we bought for those kids. I thought about how we could work together.
Ultimately, I came to the decision that I, Jonathan Keith, am not worth a Patreon page. Brothers In Cards isn't even worth a Patreon page in the way that some brands are. But our Purpose: glorify God and love others with a clear representation of following Jesus - that is a purpose worth sharing with anyone who wants to support it.
If we hit every single goal in 2023, we will do great things for the Kingdom.
If we miss as many goals as we did in 2022, we won't be able to do much more than our basic operations.
Either way, we completely recognize that we can do more together.
You will see that the different subscription levels are geared towards working with you. We believe that Brothers In Cards is a brand that people recognize as friendly and trustworthy. We recognize many of our followers to be friendly and trustworthy as well.
The financial side of your Patreon subscription will help us grow in ways beyond what we can create ourselves. We believe your input and support will bring even more value.
The above quote is from an article I wrote last April about building a brand. There are so many different ways to measure growth. We intend to grow in every way in 2023. Here are some of our focuses.
Efficiency - in our greatest months, we have been able to consistently work with a team of 4-6 guys on our team. This improves our shipping times, product availability, and overall effectiveness. Last year, we were only able to run a team of 1-3 guys for most of the year. Managing finances to run a full team is one of our first goals to tackle in the new year.
Debt Free - most if not all businesses have debt. There is a conversation to be had about good debt and bad debt, but I don't want any debt at all. Our goal is set to make this happen by the end of the 2023 National. We believe this goal to be a little lofty but attainable.
So Will I Studios - regardless of how things go in 2023, Brothers In Cards will be a proud sponsor of So Will I Studios. This is a Podcasting Studio that my wife and I are starting up in the barn of the house we bought last year. We currently have three podcasts in the beginning stages and we plan to launch all of them this fall. One of these will be called Fence People. Remember that friend I talked about in the beginning? His name is Riley Smith. He is a retired Naval Officer who will be moving to Indiana, along with his wonderful wife Lexi, in June to start this podcast with me. Riley and I started talking in 2013. At that time, he considered himself an agnostic. We were able to have some incredible conversations outside of the "I need to change his mind" trap I feel many Christians fall into. Choosing a religion/choosing not to believe in religion is a huge choice that shouldn't be made lightly. I was always amazed by the amount of time, research, and thought he put into what he believed. I have felt this way about pretty much every atheist/agnostic friend I have had the opportunity to engage in deep talks with. Riley's life through the Navy took him on a pretty dark ride. Our conversations heated up in March of 2021. Since that June, we have met via Google Meet on a weekly basis. He has helped me realize so many truths about mental health and different perspectives of the world, other religions, and Christianity. He ultimately came to the conclusion that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light, but there is a fence somewhere in between people who need Jesus and people who want others to know Him. With this podcast, we plan to spend our time, like Jesus did, at that fence.
Shine The Light - shining the light through our basic operations is something that I will never let change. When you come to Brothers In Cards, you will be loved. What we do on top of those basic operations is still up in the air. We believe we will get some great ideas from our Patreon subscribers. We know that 2022 left us feeling like we could do more, and we want to do more in 2023. Getting those Bibles for those kids on a whim was pretty awesome. I hope to get to a point where we can act on great ideas just as fast. When we see darkness, we want to shine the light immediately.
With your help, we believe that we can do more good in 2023. And we need to do more good. Jesus has done great things for me. If I am going to run a company in His Name, I want to be doing great things for Him. Joining us through our Patreon will help us become more efficient to create more positive content. Getting out of debt will free up more monthly funds to do those good things on a whim, like buying 60+ engraved Bibles in a week's time like we did in 2019. Be a part of starting So Will I studios so that we can get into some conversations with those on the fence about Jesus. We can't wait to hear your ideas on how we can shine the Light of Jesus across the world in the future. Let's do more together.