Bryan Ye-Chung co-founder and creative director of Alabaster Co shares with us his journey on how he took the Bible and created separate minimalistic books of art geared towards the younger generation.
Here is his Under 25 story!
“I am the co-founder and creative director of Alabaster, we sell beautiful versions of the Bible that look like art books.
It was towards the end of my senior year of college—I was studying art and film and was also part of a Christian group on campus. And honestly, those two parts of me always felt separate. I would lead a Bible study and then head to art studio afterward—but my faith practice and creative practice never really came into contact with one another, I was looking for ways to experience art and faith together.
It was then I began to read a book by a pastor here in Los Angeles. He makes an argument that each generation asks a “spiritual question” that leads them to meaning, purpose, and ultimately, God. He explains that in the past, these questions have been:
What is True?
What is Real?
What is Good?
As I read further, the pastor predicts that the next spiritual question younger generations will be asking is, “What is Beautiful?”
And it felt so true. We live in a world that is driven and influenced by images. We are a generation that cares about design, and art, and beauty. And as we ask what is beautiful in a culture we need to ask, well how does that show that the Gospel is beautiful?
And so I talked to my mentor Brian, and we just began to dream about what a brand exploring creativity, beauty, and faith could look like. And it was then, Brian said, “what if we started with the Bible”
Alabaster aims to give the reader a fresh visual experience and a heightened level of contemplation while reading this ancient text, which ultimately points to the beauty of God. Our Bibles weave beautiful original photography and thoughtful design into the full text of each book of the Bible. Our bibles look more like art books and lifestyle magazines than your traditional leather-bound Bibles.
Intertwined in each book are images that are carefully thought out and correlated with the passage.
The church used to be the center of beauty and art – ancient cathedrals, paintings from the Renaissance period, stained glassed windows – all of these things were created to point towards a beautiful God.
Similar to old master Renaissance artists, who looked at the Scriptures and created these beautiful pieces of art from them, we wanted to do the same – and asked ourselves, “What would that look like today?”
And so we started with the Gospels and decided to launch on Kickstarter in 2016. We had no money, no investors, and no idea what we were really doing… but the response was incredible. We ended up doubling our funding goal over a month.
With the first launch of our Bibles and delivering it to our customers, we noticed a major misprint. We had sentences from our Bible missing. We had the issue of whether or not to tell our customers and whether or not to replace the Bibles. To reprint and reship everything would be costly, but we ultimately decided to proactively let our customers know and reship it to our customers.
Today we face challenges of creating a sustainable business. Some questions that come to mind are: How do we create a great company culture? How do we hire the right people? How do we get our product in front of the right customers? These are all challenges and questions we face as we grow.
Our goal for the next 12-18 months is to become the faith-based publishing brand for millennials. That means we wouldn’t just publish Bibles, but other books and media as well. We’re excited about the challenge and to see what comes next!”
The Under 25 section of 1PRCNT is meant to showcase to everyone that there are plenty of young entrepreneurs out in the business world making strides to better themselves and the world around them.
If you are an entrepreneur under the age of 25 and have a story you would like to share then please feel free to email us and we would love to interview you!