Ethically produced and styled with warmth, Purpose Boutique in Washington state desires to “empower every woman to delight in beauty without hurting themselves or others.” Locations in Bremerton and Kirkland curate conscious fashion selling brands like Krochet Kids, 31 Bits, TOMS and Claro Candles.
With a new dress line all of their own, we asked founder Christie Johnson for more about the mission behind Purpose.
Darling Magazine: Hi Christie! Tell us about Purpose Boutique and how it all started.
Christie: About 3 years before Purpose existed, I had a dream to combine my love for style with a greater purpose. I wanted to open a boutique that focused on not just styling but on loving, serving, and giving generously to people in need — especially women. I didn’t even know where to start — especially with a one year old, full-time Navy husband and little business experience! For years, I prayed about this dream, asking God for His perfect timing — that He would use my gifts and talents to see lives healed around the world.
Within 1.5 years, we’ve gained incredible team members and partners that have continued to help define, refine and shape the Purpose dream and mission.
DM: How do you discover the brands and products that you carry?
Christie: Our very first empowerment line, Starfish Project (an incredible organization located in Asia that provides holistic support for women who have escaped the red light district) was through a personal connection with my co-owner, Amy Witt. From then on, we discovered similar brands, aligned with our mission, through online research and networking. When we found a brand that matched our criteria of adorable, affordable and empowerment, we would look into other brands they follow on social media or recommended.
Currently we buy almost all of our clothes from unique boutique lines at apparel markets. Our eventual goal is for all Purpose offerings to convey stories of empowerment, and we are actively working toward this by growing our own clothing line!
DM: What’s been one challenge that you’ve encountered in starting your business and how have you grown as a result of it?
Christie: It has been particularly challenging at times to personally develop and grow as a business leader, wife AND mother all while our business grows beyond the time and resources I believe I have.
I’ve had to increase my business and leadership knowledge through audio books and business podcasts while taking care of household tasks and driving my children to and from their activities. I’ve learned to delegate results to our team instead of delegating tasks. I’ve learned the importance of building boundaries with my business and family to keep all of us sane and healthy!
DM: What can one expect walking into one of Purpose’s shops that they might not experience elsewhere?
Christie: We believe that how you shop can change a life, and we do this by styling, partnering and donating. In addition to styling women, our vision is to empower every woman to delight in beauty without hurting themselves or others. This means we love to support you through laughter, encouragement and an empowering styling experience that accents the beauty and modesty of your womanhood!
… it is part of our big mission to show women that one can consciously shop to change lives when one chooses to shop purposefully!
In addition, it is part of our big mission to show women that one can consciously shop to change lives when one chooses to shop purposefully! Lastly, we LOVE to party. Since Purpose really started through little parties in my living room, we have continued this warm and inviting shopping environment through Purpose Parties. Any customer can host a Purpose party with friends or a charity organization! It’s fun, intimate and provided at no extra cost!
DM: Congratulations on the shop’s new venture with your dress line! Where did the idea to launch Purpose’s own line come from?
Christie: Thank you! In the beginning, I had a vision to serve customers through encouraging, personalized styling experiences. In addition, Purpose gave generously to several charity organizations. However, within about 6 months, our vision for Purpose grew further beyond what we originally imagined. We began to think more seriously through the specifics of empowering women through the sourcing of our products. We started researching all the empowerment partner brands that we carry today.
We quickly found that most of the brands that met our cute and affordable guidelines were mostly jewelry — not clothing. Since the majority of what we sell in store (and online!) is clothing, this was definitely a roadblock. We saw a gap and decided to fill it! We figured if brands can create an empowerment model for jewelry, why can’t we do something similar with clothing?
We are just getting started with our Purpose dress line, made with hope and dignity by survivors of injustice. Our bigger long-term vision is to fill our stores with clothing that is empowering, adorable and affordable. We’re excited to begin this journey with the Purpose dresses, and we’re dreaming every day about expanding this into a full Purpose clothing line, made by incredible women who deserve hope and dignified work.
We hope that we can spark change by simply showing that it’s possible to create and own clothing that is cute, affordable and holistically empowering …
DM: What hopes do you have for the fashion industry in the future?
Christie: We know Purpose alone is not going to change the entire fashion industry. But thankfully, we’re part of a larger group of likeminded businesses and organizations. We hope that we can spark change by simply showing that it’s possible to create and own clothing that is cute, affordable and holistically empowering for both consumers AND producers.
We hope that consumers will learn and be inspired by the fact that how you shop can change a life — and that you can impact change and hope by doing something you love … shopping!
Shop Purpose Boutique’s newly revamped site and just-launched dress line at their website!
Images provided by Christie Johnson