SHERIDAN — Haiti resident Mafie Joseph is 29 years old, married and has five children.
She used to sell items — used clothing and household items — in the streets to support her family. The income was unsteady and unreliable.
In 2011, though, Joseph began working with a group called 2nd Story Goods. The organization is a subsidiary of “Much Ministries,” a registered nonprofit organization out of Georgia. 2nd Story Goods is comprised of individuals working to design and produce clothing and other items that do good, are good and look good.
Now that she is working with 2nd Story Goods, Joseph has a stable income. She said it keeps her from spending her time in vain selling items on the streets and allows her to plan an income.
2nd Story Goods is one of the vendors with which Sheridan nonprofit Bought Beautifully works. Bought Beautifully, run by Sheridan resident Emily Betzler, encourages individuals to use their spending power to affect change in the world. Bought Beautifully only works with vendors who know their supply chain, pay fair wages, prioritize safe working conditions and practice stewardship.
“It starts with a very simple activity, like shopping for something we’d purchase already, and makes it purposeful and powerful,” Betzler said of her organization’s mission. “It can be easy to forget how blessed and privileged we are, but the reality is that buying Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, presents for friends and shopping for things that we like — not just need — is a privilege that so much of the world can’t afford. When we decide to do these actions with thought and conviction and with a goal of maximizing the benefit to each person along the supply chain, we use our purchasing power for lifting others up and the impact can literally be immeasurable.”
Joseph is one person seeing impacts of others’ purchasing power.
“This job with (2nd Story Goods) helps me and my family and my friends as well,” Joseph said via a translator and email to The Press. “My husband is out of work at this time, so this helps us as a family and I can help my friends too. They need help sometimes. It does a lot; I can send all my kids to school, dress them, feed them. Sometimes I can help others as well.”
Joseph also noted that dignified work does more than aid alone.
“The dignity of work is that it is much better to know how to do something of value,” Joseph said, adding that other aid workers give families what they need, but don’t help families provide for themselves. “It is better to work. You can’t wait on other people to come in and give you the help you need…having a job is way better. I have pride that my husband and I can provide for our family. It is much better.”
Joseph also hopes she’s making a lasting impact by modeling hard work and independence for her children.
Betzler knows that small moves can make big waves in the global economy. She noted that because the global market has never been more accessible, Bought Beautifully can harness the power of those shopping with the organization to deliver sustainable income streams for its partnering organizations who in turn re-invest in their communities in a wide variety of tangible ways.
“We can see the life changes that are taking place through stories that our partnering organizations share with us about the impact and success of their employees — personally, economically and spiritually — as a result of our partnership,” Betler said. “Hopefully, at some point, we will be able to travel to these places to see these impacts firsthand!”
In order to help further the group’s mission, Betzler and the Bought Beautifully crew has organized a fundraiser for Friday night at the Barn in Big Horn. It will be a fashion show, highlighting items from both Bought Beautifully’s vendors and local merchants.
Betzler said the primary reason for the event is to build relationships by providing a unique experience for people to connect with Bought Beautifully, experience the products as the nonprofit highlights the stories behind them and ultimately understand the power of the purchase.
“We saw an opportunity to engage in our community’s creative economy and to feature products from local businesses to participate in the great work that takes place in our own community through a healthy local economy,” Betzler said. “The ticket price for the event will go toward building Bought Beautifully’s capacity to continue adding new vendors, streamlining our online shopping experience and helping us achieve our continuing development goals.”
Plan to attend?
The Fashion with Impact fashion show fundraiser will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Barn in Big Horn, located at 228 Johnson St. in Big Horn. The cost is $60 per person or $100 for two people.