Husband and wife team Austin and Kelsey Bock have been dreaming of ways to make a difference in the world ever since their college days.
With Bound For Freedom (B4F), they’ve created a vibrant hub for the community of their beloved St. Joseph, Michigan, to come together and spread awareness and support for global issues through events, displays, and products that give back. We’re proud to partner with B4F in spreading the message and importance of empowerment.
When did you first experience a desire to open a store like Bound for Freedom?
Bound For Freedom (B4F) has always been a thought, or rather a collaboration of thoughts in the back of Kelsey, my wife, and my (Austin) minds since our college years at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. We were captivated by the poor and powerless around the world through multiple mission trips at school, we loved having the ability to talk about our experiences over coffee at our local cafe, McConn, and always loved having/finding/starting the newest things in fashion or trends. When we got married in 2012, with all these passions it seemed like a plausible, beneficial, and worthwhile idea to start Bound For Freedom, so we did.
What sets Bound for Freedom apart from other retailers?
Bound For Freedom is very unique from other retailers in that it is a little bit of everything. It’s a store for unique gifts, somewhere to update an outfit, it’s a small cafe and lounge with simple coffees and teas available to drink. It’s a museum where customers can gain insight into what exactly is happening around the world today, it’s a small space for artists to create and for entrepreneurs to work- it’s a community hub to connect with others through friendships, music, arts, dreams and some of our other events.
What is the mission of Bound for Freedom?
I think our mission is what set us apart the most. For us it’s not about the money. Yes, we need to make money in order to sustain our business, but it's about doing something we love in helping others around the world by sharing their stories and along the way encouraging others to follow their dreams and change the world. We hope to be a launchpad for new ideas, products, stores, and many other things to take shape, as well as a museum/signpost in Southwest Michigan and the Midwest for those who haven’t heard about this world’s injustices to learn firsthand what is actually happening, hopefully inspiring them to join the fight.
Why do you choose to carry KK Intl. products?
We chose to carry KK intl. products when we first discovered them because 1) the products looked amazing, 2) the website and feel to the organization was exactly what we loved, 3) the fact that all their products are actually connected to real people and their mission as a company was to not just give handouts was phenomenal, but most importantly 4) was the fact that in their company values we found out that their model of love was that of Jesus which for us as a store is the whole reason for our existence and our love for others.
What message would you like to share with the KK intl. community?
To all those involved in KK intl. directly, keep doing what you are doing. Your organization is inspiring businesses, people, and other organizations from all over the world to figure out ways they can use their gifts to positively impact the world and those who live here. To those making KK intl. products in Peru & Uganda, Thank You from the bottom of our hearts for putting your blood, sweat, tears, hearts and lives into making these gorgeous items and for taking so much pride in what you do. To any organizations carrying KK intl. products I challenge you to look into the other products that you carry on your shelves and see what positive or even negative impact they might be having towards people around the world and use your business and merchandise to be the change the world needs. Fair & ethical businesses can help to change the world.
How do you foster community/stay connected with your community?
Events, Events, Events!! Whether it be new sales/specials at the store, participating in all the local events that happen here in St Joe, having movie premiers of some of our favorite movies/documentaries, letting local musicians busk outside our store front, partnering with other stores/organizations/churches who are having events, scheduling regular taste sampling days for our coffees, teas, chocolates, etc- no matter what we want our community to know that we love and support them and desire to offer them unique, fun, eye opening, engaging, and regularly happening events.
Just for fun - what’s next on your bucket list?
I think the next thing on our bucket list would have to be more world traveling. Both Kels and I love, love, love traveling and exploring. Seeing as that B4F has many partners all around the world, we would love to see these companies and their employees in action- maybe Peru or Uganda are in the works soon!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
We couldn’t come up with just one and these two combined would just be a beautiful sight. So, the world could use way more flowers (not just a few scattered here and there) and a greater compassion for those around us.
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