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Sometimes, the use of social media is a rather frivolous afterthought in marketing campaigns. In the case of Magdelene House and Thistle Farms, hope, love, and social media sell redemption. Let them show you what social media really can do.

Last week, I went to a house party for Thistle Farms, a non-profit business operated by the women of Magdalene House, a two-year residential program for women who are recovering from sexual abuse, violence, and life on the streets, and who have paid dearly for their past.
The party was held to celebrate the start of Magdelene’s 10-city tour of prisons, offering hope to women inside from graduates of the program who’ve been “on the inside,” often as many as 100 times.
Marketing with hope, love, and YouTube
If you want to know what transparency really means to marketing, read on. The group uses Facebook, blogs, and YouTube to spread the word about the program, which has an 80% success rate.
The key is the stories of the women, and I promise you that you can’t watch this video without tears.
Magdelene was founded by Rev. Becca Stevens, chaplain of St. Augustine’s at Vanderbilt University. She blogs about faith and justice here.
The women women of Thistle Farms create natural bath and body products – but what they really sell is hope and grace. All sales proceeds go back into the program.
Through Thistle Farms, the women of Magdalene – each of whom was considered unemployable because of multiple arrests and prison time – gain much needed job skills, and learn responsibility and cooperation.
At the party I attended, two of the women, who are now clean and sober and employed as executives of Thistle Farms, told their stories. In the midst of a lot of hugging and tears, every person in the room brought some of the products – which are great, by the way.

Neither the Magdalene program nor nonprofit Thistle Farms takes federal or state money. They operate in faith on grants and the generosity of donors along with the small profit the handmade products bring in.
Currently, the products are available in stores in 21 states and the District of Columbia and also online. Most recently, the ladies received a contract to sell their wares from Whole Foods, a testament to the quality of their goods and growth potential of their business.
The stories of the Magdalene and Thistle Farms programs are now available in a book, “Find Your Way Home — Words From the Street, Wisdom From the Heart,” available online, including at
Bonus Link:
Karen Strauss – Becca Stevens is awesome!