About Emily Betzler

Hi, I'm Emily Betzler. I'm a mother, wife, friend, and lover of life. I'm passionate about using my life and specifically my purchases/finances to make this world a more beautiful place.

Author Archive | Emily Betzler

What She Wore Wednesday – Sak Saum

Do you know a young girl who loves to shop?

Help her experience a different kind of shopping, a kind that will make her feel beautiful on the inside and on the outside.

It is with great pleasure that I get to share a post today featuring my friend Rebekah.  I have known Rebekah as a youth leader since she was a wee little 8th grader and have watched grow into an inspiring young woman of God.

Young little Rebekah

Young little Rebekah

It is so special to have relationships like this, where you get to be a part of a young person’s life and then watch them transform into an adult.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Rebekah and how she will impact the world!  Not only is she cute, folks, but she is smart, compassionate, and has a heart for justice. Watch out world!

Rebekah wear Sak Saum and 31Bits

Rebekah, Sak Saum and 31Bits necklace

Today, Rebekah’s outfit features products from Sak Saum (wallet), 31Bits (necklace) and Goodwill (shirt).  Three organizations who have awesome missions and make or sell great products.

Sak Saum Wallet

Sak Saum Wallet

Her wallet, from Sak Saum, is not only stylish and fun but it is also precious to Rebekah because she has a personal connection and relationship Sak Saum.  In the summer of 2012 Rebekah had the opportunity travel to Cambodia and work with In His Steps International, which is the larger organization that runs Sak Saum.

Rebekah’s experience in Cambodia impacted her life and gave her a new perspective:

“After seeing all the women working for Sak Saum you can’t forget about it.  When you are buying something from Sak Saum, it is like you are on the mission field in some sense.  Because you are playing a part in something bigger than yourself, you are helping a woman gain freedom and giving them a sense of value as a human being.  They are use to being treated as items, being sold or bought and now they are their own person. The whole experience is something really special”

I know we can’t all take our daughters and the young women in our lives on mission trips to help them gain perspective on life and things.  But we could introduce them to a new and different shopping experiences that will expand their horizons.

Shopping experiences that will leave them feeling good about themselves (in my opinion, 100% better than when leaving a mall – ugh.) and empowered by knowing that their choices can make a difference in someone’s life.

Don’t we all want the girls and women in our lives to believe that our choices matter? I know I do.

So next time instead of heading to the mall for our shopping, let’s open up the Sak Saum or 31Bits websites and read the stories behind our products and the women who are making them.

And then let’s celebrate the fact by purchasing these types of products we are investing in something bigger than ourselves for the girls in our lives and women across the globe.

Sak Saum wallet and 31Bits neckalce

Sak Saum wallet and 31Bits neckalce

Rebekah – Thanks so much for sharing your outfit and bit of your story with us today. We appreciate it!

What did you wear today?   If you have an outfit or specific pieces that you believe make a difference and glorify God, We would love to feature you on our site!  Email us to let  us know happy@boughtbeautifully.com! Don’t forget to check out all the other What I Wore Wednesday’s over at The Pleated Poppy.

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Sock it to me – Fair Trade Socks

I have few confessions to make:

First, my son has cankles. Well, he really doesn’t have cankles but when I take his socks off at night, it sure looks like he does.

Sock marks from too tight of socks.

Second confession, It’s not his fault or even his gene’s fault.  It is his mama’s fault :/  She has been cramming his feet into 12 month socks when he is, in fact, 31 months old. :/  Why you may ask, would a mother who sincerely loves her son do this? Well, to be honest it is because I am lazy and a little forgetful.

We live in a small town so our only real options for necessities like these are Walmart, Kmart or JC Penny and since we are really trying to put our money where our hearts are, these two stores  don’t make the cut on who to support with our purchases.  So that means I have to remember to research and find a place where I can buy socks that align with our purchasing beliefs…and sometimes I forget to do that.  I get excited really excited about doing this when looking for Birthday and Christmas gifts and other fun purchases but somehow socks keep slipping my mind. Until today, when I actually put it on the top of my to do list.  I am so glad it did.

Because I re-discovered Maggie’s Organics!

They are a truly fabulous business doing good work. Their mission is:

 to produce and provide comfortable, durable, affordable and beautiful articles of apparel and accessories made from materials that restore, sustain and enhance the resources, including human, from which they are made.

Isn’t that beautiful? And they are following through on their mission in big ways. In fact, they have the highest ranking on the Free2Work website:

Maggie's Organics Free2Work Ratin

Maggie’s Organics Free2Work Rating

Which is really impressive as I think Free2Work is by far the best resource to find information and ratings on how companies are really doing business, including information on their policies, their supply chains, and how they monitor and support (or don’t) workers rights and conditions.  In fact Maggie’s was even highlighted for their traceability and transparency. Read below to see what Free2work has to say about them –

Maggie's Free2Work highlight

So I will proudly be buying not just my son’s socks here but my entire families!  I know that most of us would buy fair trade all the time if it was more convenient and cost effective.  The really great news is that these socks are not outrageously expensive.  Yes, they cost more than the 6 pack that you would get at Walmart but not that much more. The two sets of socks I bought were $7 for a set of two and $12 for a set of three (see picture below). And just think about how much more you are getting (quality product that you know about) and more importantly giving (opportunity, fair wages, justice).   I know for me, that if I slow down long enough to really think about the price differential, there is no question in my mind that Maggie’s socks are worth it and that they are the type of socks I want to choose every time, even if it means changing something in my life to make that happen.  Because feels right on some many levels, including a spiritual level.  It is probably safe to assume that Jesus didn’t wear socks but if he did, I have to wonder what socks he would buy? And if should consider that when purchasing socks or anything else for that matter.

Maggie's Organic Socks

If  everything I am going on and on about and the information that Free2Work provides, still isn’t enough to convince you.  Maggie’s pulls out one more stop that puts them ahead of the rest, they visually tell the story of their socks.  You can actually see and learn a little more about the process of production, and some of the faces and names behind the creation of your socks!

Click here to read the story of the socks and see some of the faces behind the creation of these socks.

Honestly, it feels so special and personal to feel fully informed about my purchase! Thanks Maggie’s for not just making great socks but supporting a beautiful economy!!

Next up on my son’s shopping list – UNDERWEAR!!!

Anyone have any suggestions as to where to find socially responsible under-ware? Hummmm, that could be interpreted in a few different ways :)   I’m thinking free trade and and organic.  Share with me in the comment section if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

Happy Thursday!

 

 

 

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What She Wore Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and time to share some Bought.Beautifully style! To expand our style horizons I convinced my little sister Britt to participate and share with us what she is wearing today.  And let me just say it looks good!  But the best part is that her outfit does good too! Sounds like the perfect way to start the day, looking good and doing good!

Britt wearing Noonday necklace

Britt wearing Noonday necklace

Britt’s fabulous red necklace come’s from NoonDay Collection. It was made in Uganda by a beautiful woman named Coral.  By supporting NoonDay Collection Britt is doing so much more than buying cute jewelry, she is helping to employ and empower women in Uganda and providing for Orphans is various ways, read more about all the NoonDay does here.

In addition, Britt is also supporting a different kind of economy by shopping at thrift stores and garage sales. You may be asking how and why does garage saling and thrift store shopping glorify God (since that is what we are all about at Bought Beautifully).  Let me explain, by spending less money on buying new things Britt can put more money towards causes that are close to her heart supporting God’s kingdom.  Shopping at thrift stores and garage sales also lessens your environmental impact by not using new resources to create a new product. So here is Britt making being a good steward look good! She found her cute oxford shoes at a local Thrift Store and her gorgeous vintage shirt at an estate sale! Which is too bad because I want one. But I guess that gives us  one more reason to go to Estate Sales – your outfits will be original!

IMG_3062

Thanks so much for sharing your awesome style with us today, Britt! We L♥VED it!

And thanks to Lindsey over at The Pleated Poppy for organizing the fun What I Wore Wednesdays!! Head over there to see more What I Wore Wednesdays.

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What I Wore Wednesday

Ummmm, can you say AWKWARD? I can.  Sorry these pictures are a little awkward, this is not my thing.  BUT I figured what an awesome way to share the blog and more importantly some great products that are making positive impacts! (Just a word of warning to my friends – I might start chasing you down on Wednesdays to take your picture instead of mine!)

Cute outfit featuring Noonday & AfricanSoles

Anyway, here is a shot of what I wore today.  Pretty cute, huh? BUT what really sets this outfit apart are two things:

The necklace from Noonday Collection and The Shoes from AfricanSoles.

What makes these two items so spectacular is that what I know about them.  I know a little about the person who created them and the working conditions that they were created in and, even more exciting, is knowing that by purchasing these items I’m supporting two great organizations and two beautiful women!  And that is something really special and makes me love these items even more! So let me show you a little more about these products.  The necklace, Mediterranean Sea Necklace from Noonday Collection, made by Prem:

NoondayCollection necklace
And my lovely sandals are called, Florentine’s Wish, and were made by…Florentine, of course! She lives in Uganda, is single mother of 5 kids, and her wish is to buy a sewing machine and own a tailoring shop someday! YAY, for Florentine, I am hoping and praying your wish comes true.  You make wonderful sandals and I am sure you will make an amazing tailor!  If you want to read more about these sandals and AfricanSoles read this post.
Florentine's Wish sandals

Florentine’s Wish sandals

What did you wear today? Any special pieces that mean something to you or someone else? Share with me in the comments!  Happy Wednesday! And check all the What I wore Wednesday posts over at The Pleated Poppy:
pleated poppy

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Crushed

Woman Sewing

By Her Sewing Machine (Ellie Van Houtte) / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I can’t stop thinking about the recent garment factory collapse in Bangledesh.  Simply devastating.  It is crushing on so many levels and for so many reasons.  Devastating on a physical level with the crumbling of a building in a community that doesn’t have the proper resources to effectively deal with this kind of destruction, devastating for the workers who were forced to work in unsafe working conditions and now devastating for the community and family members that are left to clean up the rubble, the broken lives, and missing pieces.  It has been crushing for me spiritually, because it has caused me to question, Am I at fault or can I be held partly responsible for the garment factory collapse?

2013 savar building collapsePhoto by Sharat Chowdhury

This has been a difficult revelation for me over the past few days because, I believe the answer is yes, even thought I wasn’t directly involved in any aspect of the building collapsing, nor had I ever even seen the building, nor I have never even been to Bangladesh.

bangladeshphoto by joiseyshowaa

And as soon as the list of the companies who were purchasing products from this factory came out (JC Penney; Cato Fashions; The Children’s Place; The Dress Barn; Benetton; Primark) I read through them and thought ok, I don’t regularly buy clothes from any of these places, so I am in the clear, right?  But my conscious kept telling me, no you aren’t in the clear. And the truth is I am not. Neither are you…we all play a role in the economy that produces and perpetuates these types of factories, unsafe working conditions, and unfair wages, simply by consuming the products it produces.  True, the stores I typically buy from weren’t listed as culprits in this case, but it’s a safe bet that just down the block, there’s a similar factory, with similar working conditions, similarly atrocious wages and all in the name of cheap buys for westerners.  The CNN News headline captured the problem in only a few words, “Cheap clothes lead to danger and tragedy“.  The rich people of the world’s desire and economic pull to have cheap clothes as conveniently as possible creates these kinds of conditions, AND, our disinterest in caring or wanting to know what the real price of these clothes allows these types of structures to thrive. We don’t want to know that the average worker in the garment industry in Bangladesh makes between 10 and 30 cents an hour, in buildings without windows, fire escapes, or emergency exits (CNN). And we don’t want to see these pictures, or read these stories, which put real faces and real hands behind the clothing we wear.  We just want to look really cute in our sweet new $22 t-shirt, that we will be replacing in the next 6 months for the latest new style.

It is easy to ignore the realities and justify our choices by looking around  and saying, “but everyone is doing it”.  It is true, everyone is.  But that doesn’t make it right, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should do it too.

Is it possible that as people of God, He might be calling us to something different?  After all He says in Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

I recently read an article on Relevant, called The Socially Acceptable Sin, by Jason Todd .  Jason claims that, “At its simplest, gluttony is the soul’s addiction to excess. It occurs when taste overrules hunger, when want outweighs need.”  When we look at American consumerism, it is gluttonous, our wants really out weigh our needs, especially when it comes to clothes.  Not to mention most of us under the age of 60 don’t have an understanding of real “need”.  We tend to have more clothes than we can wear in a week, maybe even a month.

Is the garment factory collapse a metaphor for our life?

And why we need to slow down, look at the cracks in our lives, take the time to think about them, why they are there and what needs to be done about them. And then start fixing them.  Do we as Christ followers need to stop bowing to the cultural norms of our 1st world lives and observe the demands of our God, who calls us much more:

To share and perpetuate His love to the world with everything we have, including our purchases.

So, let’s not wait for the next headline grabbing story to change how we follow our awesome God.  Let’s take a few more minutes and think through what we are buying, why we are buying it, and what our purchases show the world.  Realize that buying something because its cute and cheap might even be sinful, when we consider the ramifications behind its production.  We need to consistently make different choices. We can choose a product because it is fair trade and hand made by a person who is receiving a fair wage for their work.  We can choose to use our financial positions to support products that connect with ministries with the goal of giving life, not taking it.  And that is something beautiful. Something that may take a little more time and purpose on our end, which is a hard change to make in this age of convenience, but a choice that is so worth making when we consider that this age of convenience will soon end and eternity will be knocking at our doorstep.

I will be the first to admit, that this type of change is not easy but it is possible!  It doesn’t have to happen over night either, it can start slow, make the goal of researching and know the story behind one thing you purchase each week. I think you will find that you like knowing more about the products you buy and the stories behind them and that you love feeling like you are making a positive impact with your money.  So my challenge for you this week is to try to buy one thing in a different and beautiful way. Here are some resources to get you started:

SeekJusticeNotecard

Above is a free little notecard I made that you can down load, print, and keep in your wallet or by your computer (if you are an on-line shopper like me) for a little encouragement when you are about to make your purchases. Click here to download and save the PDF file.

Consumers in Christ, Shopping Directory – This is a long list of smaller organizations that are making beautiful products that provide livelihoods for the producers and support awesome Christian ministries (ok this is a little plug for ourselves, as this is the non-profit we are working on starting :) it is still very much a work in progress, please excuse the typo’s as many things were lost in uploading and we are still trying to fix them).

Free 2 Work, The Story Behind the BarCode – This site is amazing and the work are doing to provide consumers with information on how products relate to modern-day slavery is truly awesome. If you really want to learn block off an hour to read through this website and become informed about the policies and practices of many large corporations.  If you have less time, download their app and start scanning bar codes to see what you can instantly know about where and how the products you are about to buy are produced.

Pure Charity – This one is sort of a catch22. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to shop at big chain stores and could purchase products directly form the producers and know all the details about where they came from and how the profits are used.  But we don’t live in that world yet, and I get that sometimes your kiddos just need underwear.  So, the next best thing we can do is sign up for Pure Charity to help direct where some of those profits go.

 

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Do you have the time?

I DO!!! AND I would love it if you asked me so I could show off my new watch from Sak Saum!  Isn’t it awesome?

Leather wrap watch from Sam Saum

I had been wanting a wrap watch for some time and had been eying these beauties but they were all expensive and didn’t align with our shopping values.

So I put my watch longings on hold…until I saw these on Sak Saum and fell in love and not just with the watch but with the fact that by purchasing one of these watches I was doing so much more than putting money is a large corporation’s pocket.

She's worth it, leather wrap watch from Sak Saum

I am supporting an organization who is doing beautiful, life changing work, rehabilitating women and fighting against human trafficking.  Yessssssss! I love supporting that type of work!  Every time I look at my watch I smile and say a little prayer for the women who made it.  And my heart feels happy and if feels as if I get to be a part of something bigger than myself; something good and something special!

Do you have a product from Sak Saum that makes you feel like this every time you wear it? We want to see it! So, take a picture of yourself or the item and upload it below so we can all share in the beauty! Just click on the blue link below, click here to enter, and upload your pic!!! If you don’t have a blog you would like to share, when it asks for website, you can just enter this site.  I can’t wait to see all the beauty that is out there!



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Shoes for the soul

I just got a Birthday present in the mail!!! Yay!  And yes, I am still celebrating in March (my Birthday is in January) but I see no reason why I can’t celebrate for 3 months :) Everyday is a gift worth celebrating right? I highly recommend extending your Birthday to birth-month or months, especially if you live in a cold Northern climate.  We really need something to celebrate when it is March and 18 degrees out, like it is here today! This little gift was the perfect thing to cheer up my cold weather blues.  I’m not crazy enough to wear them outside yet, I have been wearing them around the house and it already feels a little warmer in here!

So, these little beauties come from Africa Soles. An awesome organization that “empowers refugee widows and orphans” in Uganda.  They say they are “fashion with a mission” and I couldn’t agree more.  These shoes are super stylish and it feels so good wearing them knowing by purchasing them we get to play an important role in providing a livelihood for a woman. So far, I am super impressed with the quality and can’t wait for a change in the weather so I can wear them outside for the rest of the world to see!

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What is Bought.Beautifully??

What is Bought.Beautifully? That’s a great question.  Bought.Beauifully is a blog that exists to help people find beautiful products that give glory to God.  The story behind it is rather long, years in the making actually!  But, ultimately, it is a part of our response to following God and His call to us in Micah 6:8, to:

 act justly, seek mercy and walk humbly with our God.

There are thousands of different ways that this verse can be lived out everyday in everyone’s life.  However, several years ago God starting revealing to us that one way we can live this out is through our purchases and how and where we spend our money. We started to realize that the economic choices we make matter.  And that choosing which purse to buy, can and should be decided based on a lot more than what color or pattern I liked best. Because behind each purse or purchase there is a story and these stories have social, environmental and even spiritual implications.  We realized that every time we put our money behind a product that is mass produced in China with no regard to the environment or a product that was made Asia by child labor we were supporting these economic and societal structures.  So we realized we had to change.  But change is slow.  Really slow if you are someone like me and you really love cute funky products and fashion and convenience and you have a busy full life and making purposeful changes takes time and energy  and that sometimes is just hard to come by.

However, we continued to slowly change our spending habits, thinking before purchasing, seeking to know the story and impact behind the products that we bought, and striving to see that our money and our purchases had a positive impact.  But it was hard!  There were a lot of companies out there doing good work and creating beautiful products but they were hard to find or hard to order from.  The ease and convenience of traditional shopping was always luring me back.  It was clear to me that there was a need to make this type of shopping more convenient and easy.  But It wasn’t as clear that maybe we could do something about it.  Believing that we could  “why don’t we be part of the change we want to see in the world? “(Thanks for the inspiration Ganhdi, what a brilliant idea!) And now here we are. Dreaming big. Trusting God. And trying something new. Wanting to love and support our brothers and sisters who are doing good, beautifully work by sharing their products with the world or at least our friends and family :0

So welcome to Bought.Beautifully!  We are so glad you are here. And we cannot wait to share all the truly beautiful that we find with you.

 

 

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