Style. Sustainability. Social Impact: Take A Journey into the Heart of DVTD
If you’ve shopped or even just browsed the DVTD Marketplace, you’re probably aware that it’s filled with unique gifts, elevated essentials, and must-have accessories—all of which give back to causes that are near and dear to our hearts. That’s because we really do believe society’s greatest challenges are overcome with prayer, giving hearts, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
However, have you ever wondered how we decide on that specially curated collection? Or, more importantly, how we decide what causes we will support? After all, there are a ton of amazing causes out there!
Recently we sat down with Brett Duncan, owner and founder of DVTD, to give you a special look behind the scenes at how items are chosen for the Marketplace, as well as the causes and partnerships that help make it happen.
First, what was the inspiration behind DVTD? And, was giving back always a priority or did that just happen along the way?
DVTD was originally inspired by the mission and purpose of an amazing company, Premier Designs. I had the privilege of getting to work with Premier Designs from 2018 – 2020. We had made a decision to take a big leap of faith into a new way of doing business, and it started with taking a fresh look at the purpose of Premier Designs when it was founded in 1985. It wasn’t to sell jewelry, or have huge profits or even be a direct selling company. The Horners started the company to support ministries and missions. DVTD was a fresh look at that mission.
Premier Designs decided to close its doors in late 2020, but the idea behind DVTD wouldn’t leave me alone. I’ve always been intrigued with what’s known as “social entrepreneurship,” where a business is created to solve a problem in the world. It just seems like having a single place where you can shop and know that everything you buy has a bigger purpose makes a lot of sense, and resonates with a lot of people.
How do you decide what products go into the Marketplace?
We’ve created the marketplace to be really special. So we ensure that each product gives back to a certain cause… but not just any cause. The cause has to be something we believe in and to be vetted out. Not only do we want to feel good about every item in our marketplace, but we want our customers to feel confident their shopping really is making an impact.
As for the products, those need to make sense, too. We value our customers, so we’re looking for quality items, that are sustainable, that you want to have in your home. In addition, we look for products that are ethically made and sourced whenever possible.
Because at the end of the day we want the products in the marketplace to give back to everyone—you, the cause, the brand partner. “Giving back” can mean a lot of different things to different people. We prioritize carrying brands that give back to causes that directly impact the lives of people. If that means we can also impact the environment, or animals, or whatever, we certainly want to do that, too. But the must-have is the impact directly on the lives of people.
What does it take to be a brand partner? It seems like they’re just part of the DVTD family? Did it start out that way?
It’s a lot of fun getting to know our vendors, or brand partners. Since we already know they have a similar heart for how they run and use their business, the connections are strong.
Several of our current brands in the marketplace have been part of DVTD since the very beginning, like MISSIO hair care, Double Edged Notes, Jenessa Wait and Kind Lips. They’ve been a part of all the ups and downs with us, and they’re still as excited about what we’re doing today as ever.
We find new brands in all kinds of ways. We do research and often reach out directly to companies to see if they’re interested. Word-of-mouth works better than anything, though. We’ve had Promoters suggest brands, and even other Brand Partners.
Most of the items in the Marketplace are under $50. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have higher prices so that the give back is higher?
We aren’t against higher priced items at all, but we also want to make sure anyone on any budget can shop with us. The products we offer are amazing, but the impact isn’t made until someone places an order. That’s why you’ll find everything from lip balm, cards, notebooks, and coffee to jewelry, home decor, and items for your skin and hair. While there are some items over $100, we want DVTD to be a Marketplace for everyone of all backgrounds and incomes.
I found a great store that gives back. Can they become a brand partner?
Absolutely! If you know of a company that’s also passionate about giving back and would make a great partner in the Marketplace, send them our Vendor Application. We’re always looking for unique, quality products that give back as well. That’s the best way to start the conversation with us at the Home Office.
Will you ever have any additional categories? Or is it limited to what is on site now?
Oh yeah, there’s a LOT coming! We aren’t really too picky on the categories we offer. If it’s a brand that gives back as part of their business model, then we’re interested in seeing if we can make it work. We obviously focus mostly on items in the “gift” category, but we’ve had all kinds of fun brainstorming discussions about where this could really go. I won’t give any of that away, but the sky really is the limit.
Will you consider giving to my favorite non-profit?
There are so many great causes out there that we haven’t had the pleasure of giving to yet! That’s why we created a Fundraising Program. This is an opportunity for us to support the nonprofit organizations you’re passionate about—while still supporting all of the great causes we already give to.