If you know me at all you KNOW I adore small business. You know I seek small business owners out, I value makers highly and I absolutely love when people shift their path creatively. On my recent Road Trip to Montana, my Mama and I were discussing routes to take. We had two possible choices on the day we were leaving the Elkhorn Hot Springs (coming soon to the blog) to meet up with my Uncle Terry in Lincoln, MT. Both routes were around a 3-hour drive. One went through Helena and the other went via Deerlodge, MT. My Mom then tells me that in Deerlodge there is the Old State Prison and the State Prison Gift Shop. My first thought was "Why would I want to go to a prison gift shop?" Frankly, it just seemed odd to me as I pictured shot glasses and spoons with the prison logo. I don't know!? She then informs me that it is famous for it's horsehair key fobs among other hand crafted
items made from current inmates. Now that sounds interesting! Sold! Yes! I am SO in! Deerlodge! Let's do this!
Now before I show you the amazing horse hair key fobs I found let me share a bit why this is just so darn awesome. I didn't take photos inside this shop, it wasn't appropriate for one and second, we were running late to Lincoln so I had to mad dash in here (bless my Mama for insisting) and seek out what I wanted. No easy task because what I can tell you is that this entire shop is full of amazing eye candy! Leatherwork, intrigue bead work, beautiful jewelry and amazing braided horsehair work.
Everything in this shop is created by inmates that are currently serving time. They individually create their artwork and label everything, so each item informs you who made it, what it is made of and then their other details for the shop. When an item is sold the inmate receives 75% of the price and the shop keeps 25% to keep the shop running. The money that the inmates receive go to their expenses: like child support and paying off their fines etc. They also use the money to buy more materials to keep making more art. It's truly a win win and if you know me you know I LOVE a win win. I searched and searched as quickly as I could and then I hit the motherload! I found EXACTLY what I was looking for and I immediately grabbed up as many as I could. One for my Mama, one for me and the rest for my upcoming Style Kat Box du Jour!
They are all stunning! Super vibrant while also super in style (which I love). All made by the same person. I didn't even realize that till later when I was showing my Mama these and saw the same man's name on the cards. What thrilled me is that he ended up with a great boost that day having sold 10 pieces to one person. I know from my decades of trade that the days I sold a substantial order always lifted my spirits. To me this whole experience, this beautiful little shop in this quaint little town (sorry, no pics), this chance to do something positive and use your brain and hands for beauty and creativity and shifting your current situation, the ability to see yourself bringing in money in a legal way and using it for positive and responsible things... let's just say out of all the entrepreneurs I get to support through my travels and my now, Box du Jours, these key fobs are high on my list of Best Items Ever! I am just so happy we took the route we did. So inspired. So much positive shift! Bless Entrepreneurhood!