The Power Of Purchase With Beautiful Lives Thrift
Sustainability. Ethical Practices. Empowering + Elevating Women. These are not only buzzwords in the realm of fashion + consumerism today, but are words and phrases we all aspire to embody in our purchases, practices, and individual lives. In our recent roundtable discussion, we discussed the realities of these topics and how they play out in our own lives. What we know for sure — as consumers, our dollars have real impact. We’ve seen firsthand, through shops like Beautiful Lives, that the impact of a purchase doesn’t have to stop at bettering our budget + global environment, but can extend to the wellbeing of our communities. We sat down with the team at Beautiful Lives to hear their story, their tips for shopping secondhand, and real examples of how they are elevating women in their local community + around the world. Helping all women to truly live beautiful lives is the organization’s heartbeat and proof that a passion project can become attainable when women empower women.
Anna: Tell us about Beautiful Lives and what inspired you to open up shop?
Beautiful Lives: The concept to sell women’s clothing to serve vulnerable women and children abroad was a personal endeavor for Melody Taylor, the founder of Beautiful Lives Boutique. What began as community garage sales moved to homes and then grew to a brick and mortar store in Little Rock, called Shop My Closet. It was tremendously successful and helped to provide for women locally + globally through nonprofits serving vulnerable women and orphans in Kenya. In 2016, Melody and her husband moved to Fayetteville to launch a similar thrift boutique model — the birth of Beautiful Lives Boutique.
A: How have you seen the phrase “power in your purchase” play out through Beautiful Lives?
BL: We want our audience to know that choosing to shop thrift impacts so many areas of social justice that they may not have even connected with. First, when you purchase at one of our stores, 100% of the profits support local + global organizations that we believe in, ultimately providing life-changing resources for vulnerable women around the world. Second, the environmental + social impact of the fast fashion cycle is a conversation that we hope to shine a light on. We have been using the hashtag #purchasewithapurpose on social media to raise awareness of the power of our purchases.
A: Part of your mission is to impact women locally and globally — what are tangible ways your shop does that?
BL: We serve a large population of women in the Northwest Arkansas area by providing fashion assistance and quality clothing at affordable thrift prices. Additionally, we provide vouchers for women in need to shop with us at no cost. We have created a dynamic community that welcomes women of all ages to work together to support women in need. We love partnering with local nonprofits to donate clothing and provide personalized shopping to women in need. We also work with the Arkansas Women’s Correction Center to provide clothing and mentorship. Some of our favorite local charities include YoungLives, Ladies of Grace, Global Outfitters, as well as global charities such as International Justice Mission, Go Near Ministry, and James 127 Foundation.
A: Thrifting can be intimidating for some — what would your top tips be to someone who has never thrifted or shopped secondhand?
TIP 01 | Go in with a mindset that while you might have to spend a bit more time looking — your wallet, closet, the environment, and vulnerable women will all thank you!
TIP 02 | Keep an open mind! Fashion is so cyclical — while it might be a piece from a generation ago, it’s probably due to be the next current trend.
TIP 03 | What you see on the hanger is not necessarily the final product that’ll you’ll end up wearing. Sometimes slightly altering a piece of clothing can update it and make it more unique. We’ve started a series on our social media showing you how to do just that!
A: How has the shop directly impacted the community you are a part of?
BL: We aim to impact every woman we serve. Our mission is that each store would be a place that honors and dignifies every woman, no matter where she finds herself presently on her path. We are rooted in the core value that all women are working together to elevate one another through community and kindness. We champion each other in big ways and small.
A: What has been one of the most impactful stories you’ve witnessed so far through Beautiful Lives?
BL: It’s been incredible to witness the power of creating cycles of hope, sustainability, and generosity. One of my favorite stories happened when one woman, previously a participant in the Ladies of Grace program [a local women’s prison ministry] made a visit to our store. She knew about Beautiful Lives while she was incarcerated, and brought her voucher to the shop the day she was released. She was immediately embraced by some of the women on our staff who volunteer for the program. That very day she decided to begin volunteering in the store, moving her from the recipient of what we do to a powerful provider in that lifecycle.
A: How can people find + get involved with give-back shops like yours in their area?
BL: Following hashtags like #purchasewithapurpose and #shopthrift. Keep your ear to the ground, ask around, and you will find them. They are out there! Perhaps YOU are the person they have been looking for to come volunteer, spread the word, and help raise their profile.
A: What is next for Beautiful Lives?
BL: Beautiful Lives Boutique in Fayetteville has been so successful that the time has come to bring this model to other parts of NWA! Currently, two new stores are underway and set to open soon – Beautiful Lives Siloam Springs and Beautiful Lives Bentonville.
Want to keep up with Melody and the team at Beautiful Lives? Follow them on Instagram @beautifullivesboutique.