Your head may be in a Thanksgiving doom loop just now. What if I can’t find a turkey? How gross are the pillows on the guest bed? Just look at these filthy windows! And in the midst of all that mental hand-wringing, a menacing elf-angel whispers from your left shoulder, “What on earth are you going to get Katie/Noah/Jenna for Christmas? And really, shouldn’t you be ON that, like, NOW?” Then a glittery angel who slightly resembles Mrs. Situpstraight from your childhood Christmas pageant whispers from your right shoulder, “Isn’t Jesus the reason for the season? Shouldn’t we be thinking of how we can bless the less fortunate?” Flick them both away, and let me introduce you to Bought Beautifully.
I first discovered Bought Beautifully, a little Main Street boutique in Sheridan, Wyoming, a couple years ago. I had been looking for something very specific for my bedroom make-over, and I just hadn’t found it yet. And then, Eureka! From the sidewalk, I saw exactly what I wanted through the store window.
I left the shop much later with a satisfied grin and these woven baskets that now grace my bedroom wall. But the baskets weren’t the best discovery that day. From the moment I stepped into the store, it was clear this was no traditional commercial enterprise.
Brilliant posters adorn the walls, introducing shoppers to the artisans who make the goods. Bought Beautifully partners with 41 artisans in 25 countries who are engaged in providing pathways out of poverty, fighting human trafficking, empowering women, and supporting vulnerable people groups. A marker at the register tracks the number of days of dignified employment customer purchases have provided to date.
In this short video, founders Colin and Emily Betzler share the convictions that led them to start the organization in 2014. They first began offering their partner products online, but opened the brick-and-mortar store in 2020. Opening the physical store during a pandemic proved to be an act of faith well rewarded!
The Betzlers explain, “We deliberately organized as a charitable corporation because we see this as our ministry and we want to encourage business traits that haven’t always gone hand-in-hand with capitalistic profitability: we care about and prioritize the physical and spiritual well-being of employees as well as the sustainable development of the communities where they live.”
If you share my enthusiasm for this kind of intentional consumerism, I encourage you to check out the Bought Beautifully website.
Want to know what gifts I selected this year? These hand-knit slippers with suede soles give rural women in Azerbaijan the opportunity to provide for their families. I can’t wait to wrap them up for some special people on my gift list this year!
I know Bought Beautifully is not alone in its mission. Do you support similar organizations? Please share them in the comments and give our readers even more options for intentional gift-giving this season.