Betty Be Good Opens New Location
In late May of 2019, Suzanne Smith cut the ribbon on her newest Betty Be Good location. The new Lynden store, which sits directly beside Woods Coffee on Front Street, joins the Birch Bay store in aiding the victims of human trafficking. While the store masquerades as a super-cute boutique on the outside, its inner workings and fundraising efforts have had an incredible effect on Deborah’s Gate—a residential safe house and rehabilitation program in British Columbia—and Engedi Refuge, a similar residence program in Lynden.
Why did you start Betty Be Good?
I love clothes. I worked with the Salvation Army for about a year, and we fundraised for and built Deborah’s Gate, a restorative facility for women who have been trafficked. I was like, “Am I going to be the girl that busts down the doors of the brothels?” or “Am I going to be the girl that builds a business that eventually contributes to the restorative care of these women?” and I knew I was more that girl. I could build a company and it would be two-fold: It would educate and build awareness, and it would contribute to the restoration. We fund the agencies that bust down the doors.
What can customers expect to find in your store?
I buy for a more wearable collection that you can wear in your everyday life. I would see runway shows and think, “That looks really cool, but how do I wear that?” So, everything I buy for the store is really practical. The other thing I’m really big on is the feel of it. If there’s something that you feel it and it feels lovely, you’re going to wear it a lot more.
Most items are under $60, but you still donate to these causes. Talk to me about that.
We give 2 percent of our revenue, and that is right off the top. It’s not 2 percent of profit. We do that, and it creates a fund called Betty’s Liberty Closet. This funds the girls in rehabilitation programs [so they can] shop online quarterly. They need outfits for things like job interviews or facing their abusers in court, and we wanted to provide that for them. I also was never shopping boutiques because they were so expensive. The lower price point allows customers to shop more often, which in turn brings in more money than if someone came in one time and bought one high-priced item. So, it’s more money to the fund at the end of the day.
How has opening the Lynden store affected both the business and the cause?
I am just so thrilled to be in this community. It’s like we found home. People in this community just seem to rally behind the cause and the little business, and I’m so thrilled for that. To move into a community that Engedi already is based in is incredible. We’re going to host the girls from Engedi for a private, closed-door shopping event just for them.
Any big plans coming up?
We hosted a charity fundraiser last year in Birch Bay, and we raised $10,000 which all went to Engedi. This year I’m trying to decide where to do it, but I’m starting to work on it, and I’d really like to raise even more money. $10,000 was an amazing start and it really helped Engedi. But this year I’m setting my sights higher.
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