Bought Beautifully Is Going To Haiti!

When people are given the opportunity to rise they tend to stick their hand out and try to pull up others alongside them. This is success. –Chandler Busby, Co-founder of Haiti Design Co-op

Bought Beautifully is going to Haiti! This time next week three board members and one of Bought Beautifully’s photographers will be walking Haitian land, meeting vendors and artisans that Bought Beautifully partners with. This trip is a dream come true for the Bought Beautifully crew. We can’t wait to see how God moves in the time we have with four vendors in Haiti!

A mere 10,714 square mile country inhabits over 10 million people making Haiti the second most populous country in the Caribbean. Haiti is located on the island of Hispaniola, occupying the western three-eighths of the island, shared with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is regarded as one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated 80% of Haitians living in absolute poverty.

According to Haitian Artisans for Peace International ( HAPI), empowering women is a proven strategy for lifting communities out of poverty. Organizations in Haiti are working to do just that–break the poverty cycle through training and employment opportunities for Haitian artisans (men and women) to create and sell their work. Bought Beautifully partners with several of these organizations and are thrilled to be visiting the following four while in Haiti:

Haitian Artisans for Peace International (HAPI)

A member of Haitian Artisans for Peace International (HAPI), based in the southern Haitian village of Mizak, displays one of the bags, crafted from recycled coffee sacks, that the group is producing.

HAPI is committed to transforming Haiti through the empowerment and advocacy of women. It is working to break the cycle of poverty, maternal and infant mortality and broken family systems by changing the trajectory of individuals, families and communities. Focusing on community health, holistic education and economic empowerment, HAPI embodies the love and mission of Jesus Christ.

Haiti’s Jewels

Haiti’s Jewels is committed to partnering with Haitian artisans to create life-changing beauty. Haiti’s Jewels recognizes the beauty of Haiti and maximizes on its beauty by cleaning up the trash found on beaches and work with the recyclable materials to create jewelry.

Haiti Design Co-op

Haiti Design Co-op was founded in 2014 with the goal to bring about sustainable development through design, training, and job creation. Haiti Design Co-op believes the marriage of design and purpose can have a long-lasting ripple effect of development and community building

2nd Story Goods

2nd Story Goods is a community of impassioned women and men working to design and produce beautiful pieces that do good, are good and look good.

I’ve asked the participants traveling to Haiti a few questions in anticipation of the trip:

Why do you volunteer your time to Bought Beautifully?

I volunteer/work at BB because I feel like this is how God has called me to engage with and support good work that is going on around the globe. (Emily Betzler, Co-Founder and Board member)

I volunteer with BB because it is something I can do right where I am to help support others around the globe similarly motivated by God’s love and call to love people regardless of their details. (Colin Betzler, Co-Founder and Board member)

I volunteer for Bought Beautifully because of a passionate belief in the mission of the organization.I absolutely love living in a small community and wouldn’t trade the benefits of being in Sheridan; however, the essence of a remote Wyoming town can often disconnect us from the rest of the world and the devastating circumstances we don’t experience first-hand. Bought Beautifully provides a way for people in this community, and anyone with access to internet, to engage in a mission that allows us to reach beyond ourselves and our small world into these organizations which are giving hope to the hurting. It’s a treasure that makes Sheridan all the more unique as we touch lives across the world without leaving home. (Alison Wiggelsworth, Board Member)

Why did you decide to go to Haiti?

I have been interacting with our Haitian vendors for over two years now, I love them and the work they are doing.  The opportunity to go to Haiti, to meet our partners in person, see their realities, and the impacts of the work first hand is a dream come true.  (Emily Betzler, Co-Founder and Board member)

I’ll admit that I was slow to arrive at the decision to visit Haiti because I expect that it will shake up my routine and further challenge our family’s outlook on life. Ultimately, the processing that will take place will be rich and good, and I can’t wait to meet and begin to know the hearts of so many that we are working with in partnership with BB. (Colin Betzler, Co-Founder and Board member)

When the opportunity to go to Haiti with the goal of serving and growing in relationship with Bought Beautifully vendors presented itself, it quickly became a thought at the forefront of my mind. Truly I feel that the decision to go was a somewhat easy one because of how God laid the situation perfectly before me. As the vital pieces fell into place, it became quite clear to me that a “yes” was being put on my heart. Ultimately, despite the many reasons for wanting to go, my decision came about as an obedience to serving God and saying yes to something that will most certainly take me out of my comfort zone into a place where I can rely on only Him alone. And I can’t wait! (Alison Wiggelsworth, Board Member)

What do you hope to take away from the experience?

I really hope to deepen relationships (just like with any relationship–business or personal–spending time together is a key piece of a genuine relationship), to leave with a better understanding of the body of Christ working in the world today, and the role that we as individuals and BB as an organization can, and do play in that.  A renewed sense of vision and purpose! (Emily Betzler, Co-Founder and Board member)

I hope to have my perspective shifted and sharpened to see the true blessing in each day wherever it finds us and to be challenged in a good way to dedicate my remaining days to working for those less fortunate but even more deserving. (Colin Betzler, Co-Founder and Board member)

There are so many things that I anticipate being able to take away from this experience. What I am most looking forward to though is growing deeper in my love for Jesus and allowing that fullness to be poured out so that I might faithfully and passionately take on the motto to live out love! (Alison Wiggelsworth, Board Member)

We are truly excited for this opportunity! We believe it will enhance and enrich the work Bought Beautifully is doing. We appreciate you keeping this next adventure in your thoughts and prayers!

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DIY – Hand painted Wooden Eggs

Happy Friday friends! I hope you’re ready for more Easter egg inspiration.  I am honored to share today’s guest post from AshleyAnn at Under the Sycamore.   It’s such a treat to share her words here, I have been following Ashley’s blog for years (she was the first blog I ever read!), and I am constantly inspired by her heart, her perspective, her parenting and her photography!
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My family relishes traditions – the sentimental, the peculiar, the significant, the funny and the meaningful. With every holiday I am editing our traditions – adding new ones and letting go of others. I like to keep our holidays simple and full of meaning. You won’t find the pinterest-worthy decorations at my house for celebrations, but you will find us gathered and present with each other. I’ll take meaningful over beautiful any day. If I can get meaningful and beautiful, well, that would be the jackpot!
 HandcarvedEggd
Easter is my favorite holiday. Everything is springing up new. The grass is green. The sky is blue. Unlike other holidays, there isn’t all the extra stuff competing to distract from WHY we are celebrating. This year I wanted to try something new. A package of gorgeous hand carved wood eggs arrived on my doorstep. I gathered the kids (by the way, I have 5) and began sharing with them the stories of the artisans, who made the eggs. We talked about how the purchase of the eggs provides employment for the deaf, disabled and disadvantaged artists who make them. The eggs are from olive trees that grow in the hills of Gilead – less than 50 miles from the Mount of Olives where the Easter story begins. Immediately my kids were excited and interested in what we would do with the eggs.
 wooden eggs
I shared with the kids the reasons eggs are significant to many cultures and the symbolism of new life emerging. After a quick history lesson (#homeschoolmom) regarding Easter celebrations, I pulled up images on my computer of how various cultures have painted eggs over centuries.
When it comes to art and creativity, I give my kids free reign to be themselves. Armed with paintbrushes and paint, I set them loose to turn their eggs into something they found meaningful. The colors may not have been ones I would choose, but in many ways that was the point. We gathered around the paint to celebrate the coming of Easter in a meaningful way, not simply create perfectly decorated eggs for decor. 
 
The kids are deciding where we should display our eggs. I voted for a bowl in the living room, but I think I’m outnumbered by those that want the eggs in their rooms!
For more information on some of the resources we used:

Painted eggs cultural resources – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/easter-eggs-history-origin-symbolism-tradition_n_1392054.html

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A huge thank you to Ashley for sharing her post with us!  Check out her blog if you don’t follow her already.
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Easter Traditions with kids

Easter Traditions with Kids – Painting Handmade Wooden Easter Eggs

Hello!

We have our second guest post in the Easter series, the wonderful Molly Stillman form Still Being Molly is sharing how she incorporated these beautiful Eggs into her Easter traditions…

We are only a few weeks away from celebrating Easter and one of the things I am trying to be more intentional about this year (and also share more with YOU guys about), are ways to celebrate this holiday by supporting ethical companies and companies that give back.

Trust me, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but when I think about the mainstream companies that are producing the Easter decorations, Easter candy, clothing, etc… most of it, is done with slave or child labor. In fact, almost every holiday we celebrate and the paraphernalia we buy is made by people who aren’t being paid a fair wage, treated well, work in unsafe conditions, etc. It’s truly awful. (source and source).

Head on over to her blog to read the rest of her post, see more of this cutie (below), and click around on her site, she has a heart for social justice and great content :)

 

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Rethinking Easter – seeking traditions that give life

Spring has sprung and Easter is right around the corner!  This is one of my favorite seasons and holidays for many reasons, but primarily the witnessing of new life.

This year we wanted to re-think Easter traditions to find ones that truly embody the spirit of Easter (sacrificial, life-giving, other-centered, etc.). 

We immediately thought of one of our partners, Holy Land Designs, who works in the Holy Land to love and care for their neighbors.  I knew we had to find a way to further support their work…So, over the next few days we will be partnering with a few bloggers and instagrammers to share ways to re-think Easter traditions and incorporate our hand-carved wooden eggs into your Easter celebrations!  First on the guest post is the lovely Theresa Miller ♥.

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What comes to your mind when you think of Easter? For some, the Easter bunny. For others, Christ’s resurrection. But for all of us, food on the table, family, and eggs seem to come to mind. In the Christian tradition, the egg symbolizes the empty tomb and the hope of new life. In all traditions, coloring eggs around Easter time has been commonplace. More recently, however, chocolate and plastic eggs filled with candy has widely replaced the prominent dyed egg.

In our home, all that candy can be a bit distracting for our four children. Although they love the candy, the distraction reminds me of Christmas, where the excitement of Santa swooping over our house delivering presents competes with the true meaning of Christmas. No matter the spiritual conversation or religious events surrounding Easter, candy-filled eggs and bunnies seem to win hearts over the amazing truth of Christ’s coming and resurrection.

Ethical Easter EggsBut what if we re-thought the Easter traditions we are creating? What if we took the symbolism of the egg to a new level? A beautiful, impactful one, drawing on the meaning of Easter rather than distracting from it.

Journey with me for a moment to the hills of Gilead in the Holy Land where Olive trees grow less than 50 miles from the Mount of Olives. Here, at Holy Land Designs, eggs are made of aged wood taken from Olive trees that have been cut down due to a lack of fruit production, therefore, providing the best quality olive wood while preserving the in-tact trees. Every egg is individually handmade to perfection. Once purchased, the eggs journey back to your family where you simply or artistically paint each egg or incorporate them into your Easter Decor.

Ethical Easter Decor

 

The handcrafted material, which you can personally paint, is just part of what make them so special.

It’s the stories behind these Easter eggs, however, that make them so impactful.

The hand that craft these eggs also use their hands to communicate.  Twenty employees, all deaf, disabled and/or disadvantaged, are providing for their families in a land plagued by unemployment. Purchasing one egg provides enough income for them to buy a chicken to feed their families, pay for school supplies for their children or meet some other essential need.

 

Rihab is one of three deaf sisters in her family. Due to her disability, she was never able to go to school or even learn sign language. She came to Holy Land Designs seeking work when her father became disabled and was no longer able to provide for the family. As a result of her time at Holy Land Designs, Rihab now speaks sign language, knows basic reading and writing, is able to count money and can communicate with her hearing son!

She and one of her deaf sisters have transitioned from being liabilities on their family to becoming providers for them!

These are the types of organizations that Bought Beautifully champions and partners with: organizations, ministries and individuals around the globe who are living out God’s call to love.  We bring their products to a larger marketplace so that you can more easily make a purposeful and impactful purchase.

Bought Beautifully believes every person was created in God’s image and, given the right circumstances and opportunity, has the ability to thrive.

This is exactly what we’re witnessing at Holy Land Designs and you can join the story by engaging in the work God is doing around the globe through your purchase of one egg–or one egg for each family member! These eggs you will save, collect and hide or display each year as a new Easter tradition. So when you think of Easter and your children searching for their eggs or those eggs beautifully resting in a bowl for display at the center of your family banquet table, you will be reminded of another family across the globe also eating and thriving because of your generous purchase.

Wooden Eggs

If we spend our money in ways that align with our faith, the impact would be immeasurable. (See Ephesians 3:20)

In 2016, Bought Beautifully sales provided over 4,100 days of employment around the globe.

Will you partner with us in changing the world for good?

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Theresa is a wife and homeschooling mama of four children.  She is passionate about family, writing, and ministry that encourages women in this generation. Theresa has been published in MOPS International, MOMSnext e-zine and other on-line publications. Theresa authors Heavenly Glimpses blog, where she captures the heart of Christ through glimpses into the life of her children, marriage, and a writer unfolding.

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“Haute” Holiday Hostessing, BB style

Our friends over at Arhaus invited us to write a post sharing a few of our favorite tips for hostessing and decorating during the holiday season. Gathering people, whether small and intimate or large and wild, is one of my favorite things to do, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to share some of the things I have learned over the years.

Huate Hostess

With this being Bought Beautifully’s busiest season, I partnered with my go-to photographer friend, Jenae Neeson, and my co-host and friend, Jeriann to decorate a Christmas table.  Jer and I have been working together for 4 plus years hosting a large holiday event (100+ plus people), on an extremely low decorating budget (<$200).

The most important thing we have learned is this:

decorating and hosting can be beautiful, impactful, and affordable.

Bought Beautifully’s mantra for gatherings is to minimize stress and expenditures, while maximizing impact. So, my goal for this post was to create “haute” holiday decor in about an hour using ethical items and items we had on hand.

Hostess with handmade vases

Here are three hostessing tricks that we consistently use at our large events and at home.

1.) Know your purpose

Holiday hostess decorWhat is your reason for gathering?  Whether it is a 3 year-old Birthday party, Christmas Eve dinner, or New Year’s Day brunch, there is a deeper reason for bringing people together, knowing “the purpose” will guide your decisions, reduce your stress, and create the spirit for the event.

When you let the spirit of your event shine through something magical happens.

handmade cheese trayAt Bought Beautifully, every thing we do centers around supporting our artisans and telling their stories.  With that at the forefront, it makes our choices easier and it becomes less important if our green is exactly the right shade, if the name tags match perfectly, or if the bowls are the right size.

For this table setting, our vision was to create something wintery and beautiful but our purpose was to remember the story of God’s love and how it is being shared and experienced around the globe today.  We wanted to incorporate as many items that told that story as possible.  Each place setting is adorned with paper ornaments handmade by women in Kenya and name cards that share encouraging messages, while handmade Bought Beautifully products are sprinkled throughout the room.

This Christmas and every night we want to remember and celebrate all the hands that contribute to the beauty of our table and the warmth of our home. When we are serving our salad, we will remember the precious hands that carved the bowl and serving spoons. The napkin rings made from straw and thread in Honduras, remind us that great beauty can come from the simple and ordinary.

2.) Use your resources first

Ethical Table decor

It is easy to feel overwhelmed looking at all the pinterest-inspired ideas and thinking that you have to spend a fortune to achieve them.  BUT we have found that this doesn’t have to be the case at all!  Before spending a dime ask yourself these questions:

What do you have that you can use in new & different ways?  

Walk through your house and gather items that have the same feel or are in the same color scheme as the look you are trying to create. Bring them together and start playing!

For this scene, we started with a scarf for the table runner, then we grabbed a wreath from Jeriann’s laundry room door for the main center piece, brought in hand-made pillows from another room, and found the final touch with an ethically made utensil holder serving as a wine bottle holder!

Using your resources is definitely the best idea when it comes to affordability, but if you are looking for something new, we are loving Arhaus’ Dining section, particularly their artisan-made collection which features handcrafted items, recycled metal pieces, and my personal favorite, the live edge tables. These are simply gorgeous (and sustainably made in America!)

3.) Be flexible and have fun

Haute hostess style

Our initial vision for this table setting had been a more traditional red and green Christmas colored theme but once we gathered items, and saw how gorgeous my teal scarf was accenting her white tableware, we went a completely different direction.

To achieve the look we flipped her table cloth over to show a more muted side of the fabric, added a scarf, and then brought in other turquoise and white items from around her home.  As soon as we changed directions, everything came together quickly and seamlessly…we even had time to celebrate with a glass of wine. 

Cheers to a happy, haute, holiday of decorating and hostessing!

To shop this look:
Kuni Salad bowl

Kuni Serving Spoon set

Wine/Utensil holder

Scarves

Cheese board

Handmade paper ornaments

Name cards

Pillows and at the Holiday Pop-up Shop in Sheridan, WY

Glasses available at the Holiday Pop-up Shop in Sheridan, WY

Don’t forget to check out Arhaus’ Dining section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thankful Tables…all around!

We are kicking off our Thankful Table series today with a loop of inspiring posts! Read below to see how we are cultivating a Thankful Table and then head over to meet  Teresa, Amy and Molly and be inspired by their Beautiful and Thankful Tables.

A Connected Table

Tis’ the season:

To gather with friends and family,

To celebrate all we have to be thankful for,

To break bread in community.

Ethical Tablescape

This year, as we take part in these common yet wonderful traditions, our family is striving to bring a new perspective to the table. We are working to better understand, acknowledge, and celebrate our connection to others around the world.

Ethical table settings

As we say grace, we are praying with a new perspective. Not just for our friends and family, but for people we may never meet – our brothers and sisters around the globe.

They are makers, growers, artists – each a real person giving a real story to every product.

We are connected to them, not only by the God who created us, but also by a global economy. With dignified employment through ministries around the world, their creative hearts and hands are able to provide an array of products to bless our tables AND homes- from clothing and food, to toys, jewelry, home goods and more.

We want to welcome these makers not only into our lives but into our hearts.

We want to celebrate, acknowledge and be thankful for them as our Thanksgiving tables would not be nearly as beautiful, nor our lives as full without them.

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So, this Thanksgiving we are:

Thanking God for the gifts that He has provided through the generous and talented hands of others.

We are thanking God for people like Helen, who works with Bought Beautifully’s vendor partner Badala, to create beautiful products like the Kuni bowl pictured above.

Helen from Badala

Helen’s work with Badala not only allows us to enjoy her beautiful products, but also allows her to work a dignified job that pays fair wages for her labors, giving her a fair opportunity to provide for her family, and rise out of poverty.

This Thanksgiving, we are raising our glasses and our thanks to Helen and all the artists, craftsmen and workers who make important contributions to our lives! <3 <3 <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Thankful Table

Over the next few weeks, Bought Beautifully will be partnering with different people on various platforms (Facebook, InstaGram, Blogs) for a “Thankful Table” series. Our hope for this series is to share ideas and inspiration to encourage thankfulness this holiday season.  We are thrilled to have you follow along!

Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Theresa Miller.

Living Out of the Box Around a Thankful Table

One neatly wrapped box awaited to be opened, to be seen, to be marveled at what could not fit in that box.

around the tree

Six young, anxious sleeply-eyed girls scurried to the tree one Christmas morning on Goodrich Street. There were wrapped presents scattered under the stubby asymmetrical tree, but tearing through those presents wouldn’t be the memory imprinted for years to come. It would be that one small, neatly wrapped box with the slit cut through the top that would imprint its mark into one child’s mind.

The family surrounded that box, child anxious on her knees, as they enthusiastically removed the top, like a jack in the box, labeled, “My Gift to Jesus.” They each received and read their own slip of paper and remembered their gift to Jesus written the previous year and witnessed in their hearts how God had responded out-of-the-box in the messiness of real life. They then closed the box and parents and children wrote down a new offering–something from their heart in response to what God had given–and folded that offering three or four times before slipping it through the slit again.

There was just something special about recording what was significant to a particular time and capturing it for a lifetime. There was something about witnessing what was good and promising in the midst of life unraveling; God’s faithfulness through it.

Recording thoughts

Those little girls wouldn’t sit around that gift-box in front of their family tree in the years to come. Instead they would witness life’s heartaches and brokenness in their young lives. They would feel a family divided and a new land open wide across their own. But they would continue to offer their gifts outside of that box and would continue to see God.

They would see restoration, redemption and hope.

Across the sea, in Haiti, a man or woman crafts a journal. They don’t have the luxuries that we know here in America. Children will carry water and walk a long road to school only because of a chance they’ve been given, not simply “a given.”

workingwithhands

They work ferociously with their hands and feel abundance in their hearts.

The hands that made this journal have also known heartache and brokenness. The hands that made this journal have been rescued from poverty and dependency and are now able to provide for their family with dignity.

Haitian Journal

The journal tells a powerful story of restoration and hope.

Those six girls hovering around that gift box in front of a tree on Goodrich Street grew up and expanded their family to over forty members when they gather for a holiday, including parents, husbands and children.

That family is mine.

The child anxious on her knees, me. I’m still that child on her knees, anxious to see how God is working through stories unfolding.

Across the sea, men and women are giving their children hope for their future. They call themselves 2nd Story Goods because a new story is beginning to emerge in each of their lives.

This Thanksgiving all forty something members of my family–five sisters, husbands, twenty plus children and grandparents will all pile in and gather around my family’s home where we will continue to offer our gifts, this time around a thankful table, writing (and drawing for the littlest ones) in one of those beautifully handcrafted journals from Haiti that tells its own story.

Thankful journal

A story of restoration, redemption and hope.

As I’ve grown, I’ve come to see how all our stories are connected. We are all born into hope, come to know brokenness and are restored back to hope through a Savior who pursues us, rescues us and makes all things new. The hands and feet of Jesus may look a little different in each of our lives, and I wonder if we always recognize them, yet it is the key to a beautiful story unfolding.

Now we have a way to connect to a story of restoration across the globe, to also be the hands and feet of Jesus, and build hope for their future.

So let’s reach around the globe this year and join hearts and hands around a thankful table of believers, as we share our stories and offerings of thanksgiving.

And then witness how God works outside of that neatly wrapped box.

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Theresa is a wife and homeschooling mama of four children.  She is passionate about family, writing, and ministry that encourages women in this generation. Theresa has been published in MOPS International, MOMSnext e-zine and other on-line publications. Theresa authors Heavenly Glimpses blog, where she captures the heart of Christ through glimpses into the life of her children, marriage, and a writer unfolding.

Theresa Miller

 

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Host a Beautiful Bash & Bring BB to YOUR City!

Bought Beautifully is popping up all over the country this holiday season. But we’re not finished yet…

holiday-market-schedule

Don’t see your city? It’s not too late to bring a Beautiful Bash to your home or church!

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What if you knew the story behind a product you were considering for purchase?

What if you knew the name, the face and the story of transformation behind that leather bag or beautifully beaded necklace?

What if you knew how your purchase would impact a woman in Africa, Haiti, or even America?

Cause gear bag

What if you learned and shared these artisan stories from the comfort of your home with a handful of friends who shared your heart for justice and restoration of a poverty-stricken world (and love for shopping!)?

What if you could join hands and pray specifically for the maker of your product?

By hosting a Beautiful Bash, you can make a real difference.

Artisan

Yes, you can impact the world by simply hosting a party! And it’s as easy as…

1.) Sign Up  2.) Invite Friends  3.) Party

BB picnic

Bought Beautifully will put together a unique box to match your style, and ship it right to your door step!

Your box will include:

● A curated selection of products from around the globe

● Bash details (check-out system, detailed instructions)

● Graphics, printables, and fun invitations

● Artisan stories to share with your friends and family

Bring change to your city this Christmas with gifts that share the hope of Christ with people around the world.

Ready, set, sign up NOW!

 

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Shop Beautifully to Support Khushnama’s Education

Shop beautifully to support Khushnama’s education.

Everyday, countless lives are changed by YOUR beautiful purchases. We love supporting our family of vendors, and the specific artisans who channel their creative talent into the unique pieces we sell. Recently, we got the opportunity to put our heads together with a group of beautiful artisans to create an original piece that would make a very specific impact.

Oceans away in New Delhi, Ashabelle is hard at work creating products that in turn create bright futures for their artisans. Young girls living in the slums of India are often overlooked when it comes to dreams of education or career. Pushed into marriages, these women are frequently forced to forgo their passions in order to please society. By providing an alternative place for these women to learn and grow in both skill and spirit, Ashabelle is changing the status quo in India. And with the help of Bought Beautifully shoppers, dreams of education are now more attainable than ever, especially for one artisan in particular.

Meet Khushnama: daughter, creator, dreamer.

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Khushnama’s parents moved to Delhi, India from a village in Bihar to make a better life for themselves. This gave her an opportunity to go to school. While Khushnama has finished her primary education, she is interested in pursuing higher level studies, specifically English courses. Unfortunately, she is facing opposition from her family and her community, as they would like her to settle down and start a family instead of pursuing such childish interests. Khushnama has yet to give up on her dream as she feels that her desire for more education is pertinent to her future success.

Not only is Khushnama passionate about English education, she is also a talented designer, a lover of music, and an independent woman with BIG dreams.

khushnama

We believe in the importance of education and the role it plays in future success.

As we began to brainstorm ways to tangibly provide education for artisans, we were able to hear Khushnama’s story, and the yearning she has for an education that would propel her future goals and dreams. After many months of dreaming and collaborating with the Ashabelle team, we are excited to announce that we have created an opportunity to provide education for Khushnama. With your help, our efforts to continue Khushnama’s education are within reach! And the best part? It comes in the form of a beautiful necklace!

Be Beautiful Necklace

Every necklace purchase provides $4 to Khushnama’s scholarship fund.

(P.S. It only takes 6 necklace sales to meet Khushnama’s education goal. YOUR purchase counts!)

So, as you prepare for the new school year that awaits here in America, we ask that you also prepare to help us bring education to girls like Khushnama, who are fighting daily to keep their dreams alive. Together, we can educate women around the world BEAUTIFULLY.

Shop now, and support Khushnama’s education.

 

 

 

 

 

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Akola: “She Works”

Akola Blog Title

Akola: “She Works”

Meet one of our newest obsessions (and vendors), the Akola Project, empowering women in poverty to become agents of transformation in their families and communities through economic development.

Much of the population living in poverty is comprised of women, who are the primary providers for their families. There is a significant segment of this female population in countries of all stages of development that are stuck in poverty, unable to act as adequate providers, because they are marginalized by cultural, socioeconomic and gender inequalities.

Akola Project addresses the issue of poverty by empowering women who lack access to the training and economic opportunities that would allow them to rise in socioeconomic status.

The Akola Project model is uniquely designed to empower each woman economically and socially in order to allow her to take ownership of her own development and ultimately, change her view of herself. Over time, Akola’s team has found that the key to achieving sustainable poverty is to invest in multiple areas of women’s lives, not simply the economic. Akola’s programs are designed to replace the negative outcomes that result from patriarchal society, lack of
government assistance, lack of infrastructure in remote communities, and cyclical poverty with positive outcomes in three major areas: economic empowerment, social empowerment, and process empowerment.

International Headquarters: Jinja, Uganda

With international headquarters in Jinja, the majority of Akola’s production takes place in Uganda by women participating in vocational training, employment and holistic programming. Partnering with 7 rural communities in Northern and Eastern Uganda, Akola works in villages that are remote, functioning with barter economies. As women earn wages through their work at Akola, they are infusing capital into their village economies and empowering other local business owners by being reliable customers.

While part-time bead rollers earn an income that is nearly twice the Ugandan poverty level,

Akola’s full-time members earn up to five times the Ugandan poverty level.

This means that the average full-time member earns a salary that is equivalent to that of a Ugandan police officer or primary school teacher. Wow!

 Akola Uganda Strip

The Demi necklace is a perfect representation of the artisan work that goes into each rolled bead. Made with love in order to give hope, this necklace makes a bold statement. Shop the Demi necklace here.

deminnecklace

Domestic Headquarters: Dallas, TX

Along with global projects to fight poverty, the Akola Project has created a Contemporary Collection to be produced exclusively in Dallas by women associated with one of nine local nonprofits who are seeking dignified employment to provide for their families.
Many of the women that work for us have children and are the main or only caregiver. We pay a fair living wage, teach them a skill, and provide work hours when their kids are at school (9 to 2). Some bring the smaller children with them to work. We have elevated the level of product we make in Dallas to allow us to pay a fair living wage in the city.
dallasproduction

In the fall, we employed 20 women. This summer, that number is more than doubling as Akola products are now available at both Bought Beautifully and Neiman Marcus.

The Alexandria bracelet, one of Akola’s contemporary pieces made with love in Dallas, is one of our favorites for its bold, yet classic look. Shop the Alexandria bracelet here.

alexandriabracelet

The Akola Impact

Everyday, Akola artisans gather at vocational centers in order to assemble and create the pieces we purchase. When an Akola accessory reaches the hands of a customer in the U.S., 100% of the purchase is reinvested into Akola’s mission to empower women in poverty.

Every cent contributes to Akola’s social business that provides women with a dependable, living wage every month.

 

With her income, the Akola woman is able to provide healthy meals and clean drinking water for all of the children and elderly community members that she cares for. She no longer has to worry if her family will go hungry. She also earns enough to send her children to school, and access basic healthcare and a secure home.

Love knowing your purchases are supporting and empowering women both locally and globally? Shop more from Akola here.

akola vocational center

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