I went to Target a few weeks ago for the first time in a loooong time (some of you are wondering, how is that even possible??? Answer: I live in a small rural city and the closest Target is 128 miles away. (Confession - we mostly love that we're 128 miles from a Target!) So I made it to Target and as I was walking the aisles I was overwhelmed and in awe...why? Because it seemed like EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. was cool and on-trend. #TargetDoesItAgain and again and again and again - every aisle - all day long. Full disclosure, at first I was having a great time, admiring their stylish taste paired with cutting-edge displays. When you live in the retail world it's always impressive to see someone rocking both.
But admiration soon gave away to some heaviness....I had never really thought about Bought Beautifully competing with the likes of Target. But I couldn't help wondering why Bought Beautifully even existed when there was Target?
They are so cool. Their stuff is awesome. Their prices are forever cheap. Their selection is never-ending and always changing. They pretty much have everything you could ever possibly need...wrapped up with a cute tassel on it.
Queue the voice in my head asking, "Why are you even trying? Bought Beautifully will never be as good or as cool as Target. It is not worth doing." So, I drove home in a a bit of a funk, feeling like the writing was on the wall and we should close up shop and call it good. Target wins. We fold. But later that night, a different thought rose up and it seemed like God was speaking directly to my heart:
"Why are you looking at Target to tell you what is cool? Why are you letting cultural norms guide your thoughts and actions? I don't care about cute stuff and cheap prices...have you stopped to ask me what I think is cool? What I think is worth pursuing?"
Hmmmm, really good questions... So, how do we determine what God thinks is cool? I'm no theologian, but it's pretty easy to learn more about what God values...check out Matthew 5 or 1st Corinthians 13 to get started. Here are a few qualities God lays out as "cool" that directly influence and guide the work of Bought Beautifully and our 40+ artisan partners:
God values... - People who seek peace in every situation - Beauty and worth coming from the soul and not the surface - Restorers of justice in an unjust world - Lovers of all people regardless of anything - Generous hearts with sincerity valued over quantity
Regardless of what you believe, I'm guessing you didn't take issue with this list? It's probably because every one of us is seeking something - just look at our time, how we use our finances, or poll a few friends and what you are seeking (intentionally or otherwise) will be quickly revealed. For many of us who are seeking after God - we are fortunate in that we don't need to look at the culture around us to tell us what is truly cool.
We have complete freedom, even a calling, to step away from worldly norms to pursue what God thinks is cool...not to mention that our hearts connect with that list above on a different level, right?
So, the long and short of this post is - we aren't folding, we aren't quitting. Bought Beautifully is in this for the long haul. Target isn't beating us. In fact, they aren't really even our competition. Because while Target is focused on asking people to buy cute stuff at great prices, Bought Beautifully is different...We are encouraging people to live out their love for others through their purchases.