Top Menu

Archive | Uncategorized

Amazon Vs. Bought Beautifully…why?

Bought Beautifully Wrestles the Amazonian Giant

We love the “why” questions  because they help us improve here at Bought Beautifully.

When we hear questions like ‘why should I buy @ Bought Beautifully instead of @ Amazon’, it gives us the opportunity to  better articulate what sets Bought Beautifully apart as a marketplace.

Bought Beautifully_versus_amazon

 

We are constantly striving to look for new ways to clearly relay our uniqueness to customers.  Look for some upcoming changes to the website as we focus on telling more stories to better highlight the incredible work of our partners.  In the meantime, with today’s blog, we decided to take this question head-on…so lookout!

Can you hang with me for a quick analysis? Here goes.

Amazon Vs. Ethical Shopping

On Amazon, I searched “bangle bracelet” and found a brass 6-pack for $11.99+ tax with free shipping for Amazon Prime Members…yippee.

The product description featured a lengthy list of disclaimers, essentially, what I see might not be what I actually get…not my favorite way to buy a gift but let’s check out what the reviews have to say :

“Cute enough for the price”            “kind of flimsy but worth the price”   “piece fell out second time I wore them”

“so disappointed”                 “could be better quality”        “looked so bad I threw them away”

Yikes! Not exactly glowing endorsements.  (Almost as entertaining as  Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bear reviews found here: http://tinyurl.com/ybzu57au)

But back to the bangles – I dug deeper and found the name of the company selling this product, googled different combinations until I was blue in the face and came up the following statement per a Facebook page:

Company X (no need to throw them under the bus, right?)

“We are a professional seller selling online for over 8 years. We focus mainly on beauty products, including hair extensions, nail art, eyelash extension kit and synthetic eyelashes. Thank you very much! Your happiness is our energy!”

Seriously. That’s it.

Nothing more on who they actually are, why we should care, who makes their bangles, where the bangles are made, what they do with their profits…how cool they are on instagram…nothing.

So, if you’re still hanging with me you must really want to know what’s different about this Amazon vendor Vs. Bought Beautifully…let me think…pretty much everything at this point.

Ethical Shopping Vs. Amazon

I searched the Bought Beautifully site for “bangle bracelet” and found the Basha Bangle Set of 7 bangles, with a picture that accurately shows what you’ll actually receive. No disclaimers, instead an actual commitment in writing on our site that we want our customers to be “110% satisfied with your item”.  A lovely 5-star review from a real customer expounding on the product’s versatility and all-around perfectness as a gift was a confidence booster as well – thanks!

Multi-piece bangle set

So – with a bonus bangle for that 7th friend, and you-paying shipping (@$2.71)  the total comes to $26.71+tax.

And there you have it – Bought Beautifully’s bangle set is about double the cost vs. the generic Amazon seller. A seller with an inconsistent product…that is likely to fall apart…offering one less bangle…hiding in online obscurity…and stating that they steal your happiness for their energy (remember – their words, not mine).

Back to the Why…

I haven’t fully divulge the one key difference WHY we believe Bought Beautifully bangles are worth that extra $14.  If I had told you Bought Beautifully featured a “Company Impact” tab next to every product, you’d realize there is something else that makes all the difference.

You’d realize that the Bought Beautifully bangle set is made by young women like Piya.

Piya is the daughter of a farmer, born and brought up in Bangladesh where she had three brothers and one older sister.  After her older sister married, Piya was required to work on the farm and in the home, but she wanted to do more to help her parents.  So, she went to seek help from one of her cousins, who had just arrived from Mumbai, India. He promised her to get a good job in Mumbai, and took her with him when he returned. Instead of helping her, though, Piya’s cousin sold her to a brothel and disappeared.  Of course, he had not told her what kind of job she would have to do but abandoned her to be forced into sex work.

8 years later, she is still in Mumbai, sending money to her parents and brothers.  Through Rahab’s Rope, though, she has now learned to make bracelets and sees that she can earn money doing good work. When she first received the payment for making bracelets, her joy was uncontainable, as she said, “this is the first good money we have earned.”  She then kissed her payment saying, “My heart is filled with joy as I am holding it.

Tears filled her eyes, as she said how much she wished she had known Rahab’s Rope earlier; if so, she would have learned something then.  Now, 8 years after she first was trafficked, Piya has returned to Bangladesh, armed not only with a skill, but more significantly, with the hope and dignity that there can be life outside of the brothels.  While leaving, she whispered to our staff, “I am going to start a new life.”

Brass_Bangle_Set

Your generosity, your willingness to pay a little more for a better product, in concert with others like you, actually transforms someone’s life.   Piya has a new life of hope and has been empowered to make a difference for others in her community.

Bought Beautifully’s 7-piece brass bangle set is made in India by women like Piya who have been rescued from forced prostitution and slavery by an organization called Rahab’s Rope – a ministry with a mission “to give hope and opportunity” to former slaves, child laborers, and prostitutes. Their vision is “to see lives transformed” and they do this through prevention, restoration, and direct intervention with the slave and prostitution trades.  But they need us and they need you to continue their mission.

Check out Bought Beautifully’s Basha Bangle set here: https://goo.gl/6bJX9d

At the end of the day, we realize that you can’t find everything you need @ Bought Beautifully, nor is it always available in a local business (always look!).  We know that Amazon isn’t bad and that there is a need to have it at your fingertips.  Did you know that you can support Bought Beautifully even with your Amazon purchase via Amazon Smile?   Information below.  But don’t you dare buy those inferior bangles.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to www.smile.amazon.com

Step 2: Sign In and type “Bought Beautifully” for your charitable organization.

Step 3: When you need to shop Amazon, start at  www.smile.amazon.com and .5% of your purchase will be donated to Bought Beautifully.

 

 

 

0

Beautiful Stories – Haiti

This past May, several of us with BB traveled to Haiti. Among our main goals were to meet our    Haitian partners, see the impact of their ministries, and experience the beautiful country they call home.  We wanted to encourage their hard work and creative energy while learning how we could better represent their products and work on the BB site.

HaitisJewels

Like all of our vendors, the more of their products we sell directly translates to their ability to sustain operations, bring on and train new employees, and continue to strategically and permanently disrupt the cycle of poverty that has historically defined countries like Haiti.

Over the course of 6 days, we spent time with vendors all over the country: from the capital Port-Au-Prince to Gonaives, Musac and Jacmel. The Haitian landscape was incredibly diverse driving through crowded shantytowns, dry deserts, the bustling capital of Port Au Prince, verdant tropical forests, mile-high mountains, and postcard beaches (minus the ever-present trash).

While the language barrier of Creole was very real, our guide/driver/translator Rocky (thank you Cornerstone Church!) was wonderful in helping us experience the real Haiti. We found people to be overwhelmingly friendly and kind.  We felt welcomed and found that we were treated as friends as we traveled into their communities.

haitian partners

Each day had it’s own list of highlights as we were fortunate to spend quality time with our vendors learning more about their work and their community.

Our week in Haiti – the people we met, the perseverance of its people, real lives being changed – left us wanting to share this with you:

behind every product is a beautiful story and soul. Your purchases are allowing these souls to thrive, to break cycles of hopelessness and poverty.

So – in response to Haiti’s Jewels parting question, “When will you place your next order”? We ask you to help us reach others interested in making a real difference with their purchase by sharing Bought Beautifully today.

Want to hear some stories?

Spicy pikliz and touring Pappillon enterprises, catching the vision behind 2nd Story Goods and tasting our first breadfruit, diving into product development with HAPI artisans and stumbling upon beachside lobster…we have a lot stories! If you’d like to hear them, want to share your own from a trip to Haiti, or just have some questions in general about our partnerships…

Please join us for Beautiful Stories – Haiti this Thursday, September 28 @ The Union in downtown Sheridan. We’ll share more photos, videos, and spend some time talking about the wonderful people we met there.

0

Not Your Mama’s Cowhead! Western icon gets a Caribbean infusion.

La Jacmel – Handmade in Haiti, Paper Mâché Cow Head

I was recently introduced to Havenly, an online interior design service that has users think about what styles and pieces resonate most with them.  With that in mind, I was challenged with the idea to share a few thoughts about a current favorite home decor item!  The obvious choice for us was  “La Jacmel” – we just can’t get enough of this piece.  It’s like the well-dressed friend we all have that pushes the envelope with style, pulls it off with class, and gets compliments everywhere they go!  Well, now you can too…no really, it’s that cool.

This beautiful piece is unique, trendy, and truly a work of art. Most importantly, like all Bought Beautifully products we love it for much more than its classy look – the inspirational story of hope, opportunity, and love each one represents is incredibly real for the maker behind the product.

Speaking of, La Jacmels are handmade in the Hatitan beach town of Jacmel (hence the name) by local artisan Pierre Edgar Satyr.  Pierre partners with the Artisan Business Network in Haiti which seeks to “empower Haiti’s artisan culture to improve community wellbeing”.  And looking at Pierre’s work, you would never guess what material he uses to create them: RECYCLED CEMENT BAGS?!

What an incredible real life example of creating beauty from ashes (Isiah 61:3), by turning old cement bags into beautiful paper mache art.

Read on to see “La Jacmel” featured in three differently-styled homes and hear why each designer loves the look:

Paper_Mache_Art

Emily:

This piece is special to me because of the feelings of hope and purpose it evokes  (Ha! I know that sounds ironic considering it looks like a skull.) I was lucky enough to travel to Haiti earlier this year to meet several artisan partners and saw first hand the impact that dignified work has on the artisans’ lives. When I see this piece I feel hope for the country of Haiti, and purpose in the work we do at Bought Beautifully, confidently knowing my purchase positively impacts Pierre’s life and community in Haiti.

* * *

Paper_Mache_Cow_Head

Jeriann:

I love this piece for many reasons, it was given to me as farewell gift when I transitioned out of my recent job.  It is a friendly reminder of my time working with my talented colleagues.  I also love knowing that the purchase of this item impacts others in a positive way.

* * *

paper_mache_cow-skull

Jenae:

I like to come up with all sorts of ways to describe my style… Contemporary Belle Starr, Grandmamodern, Modern Grit, Playful Rancher….. hopefully you catch the theme, a little western, a little unique, a little cozy 70s and yet still classic. La Jacmel cow head has the perfect combination of this, with the colors, subtle patterns and materials, it is a modern twist to the standard old school skull. Its energetic and classic… without actually having a dead animal on my wall. Plus, I always like to collect a unique art from my adventures, and this being made from Haiti checks that box.

 

 

 

* * *

0