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Our Conscious Consumer Pick for September: Inspirations Today


In the picturesque coastal town of Southport, North Carolina, tourists flock to the boutiques that dot North Howe Street, the town's main thoroughfare.  In the enclave of colorful shops called Olde Southporte Village, entrepreneur Candy Padgett has created a store that is not only charming and utterly unique, but also revolutionary.   


Driven by her Christian faith and by her passion for helping hurting children and women, Padgett– a mother of 3– curates items that inspire and that help support families in need for her small oasis of a store, called Inspirations Today.   


The store favors hand-crafted items, including hand-embroidered fine linens for moms and daughters, hand-blown tear bottles that bring people closer together through births, deaths, and many occasions...all of which are made in the USA.  Also sold are locally hand-spun writing pens made with exotic woods, as well as neck and eye pillows filled with rice and lavender from a local artist who also loves to use her art to help others.   There are scripture-based items, including hand-painted ceramics, journals, T-shirts, and flip-flops that leave an impression of a Cross in the sand. 


Padgett has also created a line of Vegan Body Products called Signa Scents, using top quality products for skin including virgin Shea butter imported from a fair trade company in Ghana, Africa.


But the heart of the store, according to Padgett, consists of items from companies who give back to others either by taking care of children who cannot fend for themselves or by employing single/low-income moms, and people of other hurting nations, affording them the opportunity to help themselves through a 'trade,' by purchasing & reselling their goods.  


Here are a few of many examples:

  • Bridgewater Candles: These soy, clean-burning candles are made by a company that is committed to feeding and nurturing children in developing countries.   Through a partnership with Rice Bowls, Bridgewater donates a portion of each jar candle sale to different  orphanages internationally. Every candle purchased feeds a child for a day. Nearly 144 million children across the world are orphaned. Every 2 seconds, another orphan dies from malnutrition. Join with us to change the snapshots of life for children around the world. Inspirations Today is proud to have fed over 200 orphans so far.
  • The Potting Shed: Organic-based approach to the art of gardening and the art of design, and a fresh approach to gardening in the modern world. This company operates out of an old school in Idaho, where they too believe in 'recycling' whenever possible. 
  • Signa Scents: Makes all vegan body products,  most are organic and all natural.  The 100% organic and vegan "Mending Mindo" soap was designed specifically to help a Mindo, Ecuador mission (a percentage of each sale goes to help the mission in Ecuador.)
  • Twoolies: These exotic and colorful stuffed animals were designed and created by the architect Sindy Posso and Mayan artists, from southern Mexico. They are entirely made in natural wool and hand-weaved by skillful artists. There are no two alike; each twooly is a unique combination of textures, colors and patterns.
  • Praol's Story Bracelets are made with real pewter and freshwater pearls, each one telling a different 'story.'  The inspirational jewelry is handcrafted by stay-at-home moms and low income single mothers that find themselves in dire situations, our flexibility not only enables but also empowers them to earn an income without the burden of day care expenses.  Proudly handcrafted in the USA. 
  • Beyond Borders/It's Cactus - a fair trade company that sells Haitian recycled metal art from 55-Gallon drums, as well as Latin American folk art.   Committed to improving the standards of living of the artists' families and their communities by paying a fair wage, providing equal opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged, providing healthy and safe working conditions, and providing financial and technical assistance to workers whenever possible.


Says Padgett,  "When you love what you do, and why you do what you doesn't feel like a burden at all.  In fact, you are constantly looking for other ways to contribute more."   Padgett's radiance, and the store's mission, draws customers to confide their own sorrows and struggles, which the shop owner considers "a blessing," adding that she hopes that they "walk out feeling blessed."  


You can find Inspirations Today on Facebook, and if you're swinging through Southport, check it out at:

Olde Southport Village Shoppes
1102 N Howe St. B
Southport, NC  28412
"Inspirational, Motivational, & Positive Thinking Gifts for All Occasions" 
Many products are also available at:
Tickled Pink at Lumina Station
1904 Eastwood Road Ste.106~107
Wilmington, NC 28403

Nobody, not even Inspirations Today, is paying us to say nice things about this store.  We just think they're awesome.  If you know of a product or store that you think we should feature as a Conscious Consumer pick of the month, send us an email to and let us know about it :)

Check out last month's featured company, Sole Rebels Shoes.