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Wait, what’s cool? (That time I visited Target and almost quit…)

What is cool

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.

Tassel from Target

Target Tassels

Tassel Necklace

BB Tassels














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?

artisan hands hard at work

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.

Bought Beautifully asks you to see the people, the stories and the transformational impacts tied to every product we offer.  And don’t you worry, we’ll try to keep things hip and cute too.

So – whether you shop beautifully with us or with any other equally worthy fair-trade, ethically-made or mission-driven organization we want to say thank you for choosing to #LiveOutLove with your purchases as just one more step in following your heart towards a most worthy and true coolness.




9 Responses to Wait, what’s cool? (That time I visited Target and almost quit…)

  1. Sydney Weaver January 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm #

    What a fantastic post! I love to be reminded of what God says it cool! It is so spot on….I so loved reading this!!!

  2. Kate January 26, 2018 at 8:31 pm #

    I love this, Emily!

  3. Kim Freeman January 26, 2018 at 9:28 pm #

    Great post my friend! So glad you do what you do… it matters!

  4. Linnea January 28, 2018 at 2:21 pm #


  5. Sarah Mentock February 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

    Emily, you have put into words what so many of us feel when we walk into a Target (or, in my case, TJ Maxx). It is so important for us to know that God is sending us these feelings for a reason…to live our lives as a reflection of his LOVE!

  6. Amanda Lunday February 7, 2018 at 6:44 pm #

    Love, love, LOVE this!

    • Emily Betzler February 12, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks, Amanda! Hope you are doing wonderful!

  7. Julie February 7, 2018 at 7:58 pm #

    This is a great reminder for us to ‘do the right thing’. Living out Gods love should be our purpose. Target shopping is a culture thing…everybody loves Target. Happy you’re not quitting!

    • Emily Betzler February 12, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

      Julie – Thanks for your encouragement! We are glad we aren’t quitting too!


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