Creating Cash Cult


Kelley Cochran

John Allen, senior, wears his own clothing brand, Cash Cult.

Dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a T-shirt, John Allen, senior, looks like he could fit right into a high school crowd. But blending in is next to impossible for him, as shown by his precise style. His cuffed jeans have butterflies on them and his tee contrasts with spiders and skulls. The sweater tied over his shoulders sports his own brand name: Cash Cult.

Allen’s clothing line, Cash Cult, has gained almost 4,000 Instagram followers and its own website since being created last summer. Allen said fashion has quickly become the best way to spread his ideas and designs.

“Fashion is the most apparent artform,” Allen said. “In our culture today, people are always wearing art whether you think it’s art or not. You’re still expressing yourself through clothes.”

According to Allen, the entire production process happens within his own house. He designs, produces and exports his products himself, using tools like screenprint and airbrush. This process and the brand’s quick success would not be possible without Allen’s determination and work ethic, according to Bryce Bunton, KHS marketing teacher.

“John is a very unique individual,” Bunton said. “He’s not afraid to go against the grain if it is something that he’s passionate about. He’s definitely got an entrepreneurial mindset. He’s also really focused on what he loves to do and he sacrifices his own time for his business.”

Bunton said one of the main factors that makes Cash Cult successful is the tactical marketing behind it. This happens in part from Allen’s presence on social media and the way he displays his product. Allen models and photographs the Cash Cult line with the help of Sam Priestley and Chase Young, seniors.

“I’m with him all the time so I see that he [works] every day,” Young said. “Most of the time I’ll call him and he’s always doing something for [design] or photography. Out of anyone I’ve ever been friends with, he’s really committed to [what he does.]”

Priestly and Young both said they were impressed by the name of the business. According to Allen, the idea of Cash Cult is to encourage people to pursue their dreams over money, something Allen challenges himself to do as well. The name also focuses on defying expectations set for the marketing world and entrepreneurs.

“[Cash Cult resembles] John,” Priestley said. “He definitely projects his personality through this craft. I think the whole ‘money rules all,’ makes sense. It’s [about] individualism [and] doing your own thing.”

Before pursuing Cash Cult, Allen said he was focused more on photography than fashion. According to Young and Bunton, Allen likes to take on new hobbies as challenges and work until he excels at them, including photography. Starting as a freshman, he worked to improve until he was photographing musical artists and concerts such as Tyler, the Creator, Trippie Redd and Travis Scott.

“I feel like I was kind of breaking barriers [at concerts] because I was young,” Allen said. “It pushed me because I didn’t want to look like I was young or act like I was young. I had to be mature. I wanted to impress people.”

I don’t think that there will ever be a day that John looks back and says, ‘I regret doing what I’m doing now.’”

— Bryce Bunton

Allen said balancing schoolwork and activities with his business can be challenging, which led him to consider dropping some extracurriculars to focus more on designing. Though this was a big sacrifice for his project, it will likely be worth the outcome, according to Bunton.

“I don’t think that there will ever be a day that John looks back and says, ‘I regret doing what I’m doing now,’” Bunton said. “I think that he’s made choices that he’s passionate about and that will help him move forward. I don’t have any question that he will [find success.]”

Though Allen and Cash Cult’s futures remain uncertain, Allen said he plans on attending college to continue his business. He has taken fashion and marketing classes at KHS, is currently working on getting a manufacturer, and even has a trademark for Cash Cult. Young said Allen’s preparation gives the brand potential to find success in the marketing world.

“I think it’s amazing,” Young said. “It’s gonna be insane. Even the name, there’s no other brand named Cash Cult. The fact that he has that and his vision for Cash Cult is amazing.”

Cash Cult is Allen’s passion, but he said he hopes that customers will learn something from it. Allen said that he uses fashion to share his ideas and inspire others. He also discovered the importance of self-confidence throughout his own struggles as an artist.

“Starting off, I was always skeptical of if things were gonna work out,” Allen said. “What I found out is that if you have the drive and you work hard, you will achieve something. Go against the grain if you have to. Don’t just do what you think is right, do what you really want to do. You shouldn’t let anyone stop you.”

Art by Emma Frizzell.