Aurelio Barreto might be the owner of a multimillion dollar Christian apparel and jewelry company, Not of This World, but he’s quick to remind Believe.com that clothing only goes so far. “It’s the heart beating under the clothing that matters most,” he says.
Barreto, who moved to the States from Cuba when he was seven, clearly wears his heart on his sleeve.
“I grew up with the American Dream,” he gushes. “I decided to build a company, and it was successful. Really successful. But it only took me so far. When I was thirty seven, after having made millions, being married, and living the ‘perfect’ life, I wanted to end my life.”
The reason for his desperation was simple. ”I didn’t have Jesus. I was empty,” he shares.
Having suffered off and on with depression his whole life, it wasn’t until he found himself in front of a school principal (one he had just given a donation to) that he got real for the very first time.
“This man wasn’t interested in my money. He looked at me… really looked into my soul… and asked me, ‘Aurelio, you don’t know Jesus, do you?'”
Barreto admitted that he understood the story of Jesus, but didn’t have a personal relationship with him. It was then the principal said, “Don’t you want to get to know God on a personal level? Don’t you want to know that you are loved unconditionally for who you are, not what you do?”
Barreto did want to know that. “From that point on, my life opened up completely. I wasn’t the same since,” he admits, his voice cracking with emotion.
Along with his heart, his whole way of doing business was transformed. “God told me to open up a brick and mortar store to sell tee shirts with Christian scripture on them. I thought that was crazy, but I did. 14 stores later, 14 years later, we are now a fully virtual store. It’s crazy how God is revealing himself to me still.”
Barreto is exceptionally vulnerable about his struggles, such as his admission about his struggles with depression. It’s real. It’s refreshing. ”I eventually got medication,” Barreto confesses. “I am not ashamed of it. I struggled a long time. Now I can be who I’m meant to be without the constant battle in my mind.”
Barreto’s transparency and openness about his reliance on Christ is no fake show to get business. Evangelism IS his business. ”Clothes are what I sell, but they really are the gateway for something far more important – the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he says. “I look at it like this: If you’re going to show the world who you are by how you dress, why not have you first impression be your heart? Your heart for the Lord?”
It is precisely this attitude that landed him a partnership with Believe.com. “People come to ChristianMingle (Believe’s sister site) to meet someone,” he says. “Why not consider wearing a tee shirt like this on a date? It truly says how you feel about your faith. And more importantly, it shows that your first relationship – the one with Jesus – is what is most important.”
Some people might scoff that ‘Only a poser would wear a Jesus tee shirt,’ but Baretto respectfully disagrees. “I don’t sell tee shirts to people to play at being Christian. I’m not going to win doubters over that way anyway. My goal is to get people who already love the Lord to share their faith… to wear something that will get someone to ask the tough questions: ‘Why do you believe what you do?’… ‘How can you be sure this Jesus is who He says he is?’ ”
His goal has worked. So far, since the company launched in 2001, he’s brought over 18K souls to know God. Through his website, personal speaking events and on the street evangelizing, Not of this World is a rare company that really puts their money where their faith is. Check out some amazing testimonies here including Aurelio’s own testimony.
Check out Not of This World’s Store at Believe.com Here
Here at Believe.com, we’re pretty darn excited to work so closely with this man of God. Check back frequently to see what’s in store for you – literally. Here’s the link to Aurelio’s store on Believe.com. There’s sure to be specials, and these items make great holiday gifts. But most important, feel free to share the good news of God through NOTW. It’s the best gift you can give someone.