Better Life Bags - A GIVEAWAY!Today we have the awesome privilege of getting to know Rebecca Smith founder of Better Life Bags AND one lucky reader will have the awesome privilege of winning a Better Life bag. It was such an honor to talk with Rebecca. In our brief interactions, I was so moved by her faith, commitment to God and the ways that He has used her! She is truly an inspiring, kind, and humble women - who is living her passion and changing the world!!! You guys are going to love her. Below are her responses to a few of my burning questions about her life and her business. Read on to get to know the inspirational lady behind Better Life Bags. Oh, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end!
Tell us a little about the history of Better Life Bags?Our business started as a divine accident, actually. I made a diaper bag when I was first pregnant with my son, posted pictures of it on Facebook and custom orders started rolling in. After moving intentionally to a highly immigrant area of Detroit in 2010, I realized that many of the women I met could not work outside their homes for cultural reasons, yet they had a great need to provide for their families. At the same time, our little shop was growing quicker than I could keep up with myself, so I married the two needs together and hired my first seamstress. We now employ twelve people from our community and have a really fun interactive website to help with the custom aspect of our bags. I relied HEAVILY on God and Social Media. I really invested deeply in growing a community of people around our brand that I cared about. I answered emails and commented on people's photos. I cared less about selling my product and more about the customer. I've been learning about business as I go along and just trusting my gut to do the right thing and God to cause the growth.
What have been some of your biggest challenges, triumphs, and joys in the process?In September 2013, my husband quit his job and we transitioned to me working full-time and having Better Life Bags be our family's sole income. It was an enormous amount of pressure to know that my efforts were essentially putting food on the table. I felt incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love full-time, but also torn that I was missing out on big parts of my children's lives. So, we are in another stage of transition to both my husband and I working part-time. We have full-time employees in place at Better Life Bags to keep it running without me - which frees me up to focus on vision for the company, new bag designs, and marketing! All which I LOVE!
You took another leap of faith to moving your family to a low-income section of Detroit to make an impact in that community. Would you be willing to share about this experience?Gosh, yes. We have lived in this city, that we call home for a little over 4 years. The first year was really rough for me. I didn't feel like I connected to anything or anyone here, but now I absolutely LOVE it. The people here are really grassroots - blue-collar people. Working hard for their money and not taking anything for granted. Businesses are moving in and people are being really creative with how to improve the economics of this city. I'm honored to be a part of what I see being a new wave of growth for Detroit. But, it doesn't come without challenges. We wanted to move to a place where the needs of our neighbors are obvious on the outside - and use our resources and connections to meet many of those needs. My eyes have been greatly opened to the flaws of the welfare system as I literally walk alongside people in the poverty cycle and help them claw their way out.
My faith has actually become a million times more simple. All the theology and controversies fall away here - and our family simply focuses on loving God and loving people. Both well and both from a place of dependence on the Holy Spirit.And I so glad that the mission of our business is wrapped up so tightly IN our business. We aren't a company that gives $1.00 of every bag sold to charity - or even 10% of our sales. We live and breathe and work among the people and community that we are helping. As a FOR profit. We want to prove that businesses can do great things and make a profit to do even more great things. We want to show America that outsourcing overseas is a thing of the past - because people here in the US want to work hard and need to be paid well. We want to be an example to our customers and open their eyes to the power of their dollars - and make them think twice and carefully about buying from big box stores. We want to connect the customer to the maker of their products.
What motivates you?Our employees. They come to me weekly and ask for more work. Work that depends on the sales that come in. They are saving for things that many of us consider needs. Actual beds for their kids instead of blankets on the floor. Trips to see their family who they haven't seen in decades. Money for school uniforms and birthday cakes. The safety net of a savings account. And the dignity and honor that comes from making money.
Any thing else you would like to share?Our company exists because of our customers. Lives are made better for our employees because of sales. We are so thankful for the community of customers we have around us - and how they advocate and share our company with people in their social networks. YOU - our customers - are the reason that 12 women in Detroit wake up every day. Thank you. You can find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @betterlifebags and read my personal blog about running a business and raising a family at www.RebeccaSmithOnline.com
……………Isn't she great? Thank you so much for sharing with us, Rebecca, and for the work you are doing! Now for the fun part - Your chance to win a Better Life Bag. Here is what to do: 1. Head over to Better Life Bags, explore the site and either design (so fun!!) or choose your favorite bag. 2. Share this bag on your prefered social media - Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. 3. Come back and enter the contest using the form below. Make sure you include the link or picture (if you used instagram) of the bag you shared. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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