The beginning… Beautifully Made has a unique story that starts with the Armstrong family’s adventures as missionaries in Haiti. Amanda Armstrong, the founder of Beautifully Made, was 5 months pregnant with her second child when the Armstrongs moved to Haiti in 2011. People from their hometown of Maryville, Tennessee thought that Amanda was crazy to undertake such a huge endeavor while pregnant, but the family chose to embark on the new journey in faith.
Her job in Haiti was to work with an orphanage that already existed. Although she struggled to understand the Haitian culture and made plenty of mistakes, her love for Haiti grew rapidly as she loved on 28 beautiful children at the children’s home. She loved making their lives easier and bringing a smile to their face. The Armstrong family’s motto was, “We are blessed to be a blessing”, but they quickly realized that God had put these children in their lives to bless and transform them as well.
After a couple months of living there, Amanda came across some amazing artisans that were making unique pieces of art out of recycled material. They hand-carved detailed designs out of recycled steel drums, each piece taking hours to make. She was blown away by the amount of work and effort that went into each piece.
Before moving to Haiti, Amanda was an interior designer who loved creating new and beautiful things, and upon seeing these unique handmade pieces, the wheels started turning. She slowly started working hand-in-hand with the artisans, excited to partner with them to design artwork that could be sold in the United States, while also serving to create more jobs in Haiti. The designs combined Haitian craftsmanship with styles that are trendy in the U.S., and it was an instant success!
In December of 2011 the Armstrongs had their first "market" at their home church in Tennessee. Thousands of dollars were raised, and the Armstrongs were able to bless the artisans AND supplement the orphanage's budget for the following year! The most exciting part is that they were able to provide additional jobs in Haiti and provide additional money for the orphanage without asking people for donations. Shoppers were able to buy something that was unique and one of a kind. They were purchasing items that gave back but also created awareness at the same time. Year after year the market grew and became a well-known event in East Tennessee.
In the summer 2014, the Armstrongs helped open an orphanage for children that were considered a “restavek” (child slave). Today, there are a total of 25 children living at the Freedom House children’s home. Most were restavek children. After living in Haiti for almost three years, the Armstrongs decided to move back to the U.S. while continuing to help supervise the Freedom House. Along with bringing awareness to talented artisans in Haiti, Amanda also serves as the Basic Needs Coordinator for the Freedom House. Her role is to organize and improve the lives of all 25 kids, and continue to fundraise for the monthly operating budget. She works alongside other Americans and the director of the children’s home to oversee the children, traveling to Haiti every three months taking clothes and basic needs to the kids.
Where we are going…
After 4 years of working with artisans, Amanda decided to start a business that would be dedicated to helping artisans while continuing to provide income for mission efforts around the world. Beautifully Made became an actual business in March 2016. Years of hard work and dedication have resulted in “Beautifully Made” products entering stores around the U.S., giving hope to the beautiful people of Haiti and beyond. Year after year the market has grown in size, raising over $100,000 for the artisans and orphanages.