Quality with a human touch:

Local company bTizzy offers high-quality products made by people with disabilities

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Most people want to feel like they’re a productive member of society regardless of the challenges in their way. That sense is exactly want locally based business bTizzy provides.

It’s to the company’s great credit that it also offers a marketplace full of high-quality products. That those products happen to be made by people with disabilities is almost irrelevant, but then again, it’s integral to the company’s reason for being. For many, bTizzy represents a new opportunity to become self-sufficient.

“Offering [people with disabilities] a platform and presenting it in a way that public could appreciate seemed to be greatest need, and that’s what bTizzy provides,” said business owner Nikki Zimmerman.

One of bTizzy’s products, Alex Elman 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil which features braille on the bottle for those who are sight-impaired. Photo courtesy of bTizzy.

One of bTizzy’s products, Alex Elman 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil which features braille on the bottle for those who are sight-impaired. Photo courtesy of bTizzy.

Zimmerman, who herself had a daughter with disabilities, knows full well the talent that many disabled individuals bring to the table. They only need the presentation, professional marketplace and promotion that bespeaks their work’s quality. That’s how the idea for bTizzy came together.

“A lot of our vendors did not have the means to do their own outreach and marketing,” Zimmerman said. “They needed a full platform for them to be seen in positive way.”

Located online at btizzy.com, the marketplace features a professional, easy-to-navigate design with pages featuring the work of each contributor. The artists and artisans themselves come from a variety of circumstances, some suffering from physical disorders like blindness or paraplegia and others from intellectual disabilities. What can’t be denied is the quality of their work, which ranges from beautifully detailed artwork to jewelry to home products like artisinal soaps and olive oil.

“These folks are so tremendous that it’s just a privilege to work with them,” Zimmerman said. “It’s a testimony to their resolve.”

Likewise, the bTizzy producers are happy to have a marketplace for their work. Zimmerman said it’s a misconception that people on public disability insurance are content to stay there. They want the chance to make their own way and support or entirely fulfill their own livelihood.

“I’ve never met one person who didn’t want to participate in the economy,” Zimmerman said.

For bTizzy producer Charlotte, who makes earrings on her bTizzy page, the website is a terrific opportunity to express her creativity and sell a valuable product. She sees it as a step in the right direction for people with disabilities, who want to work but are often limited in their opportunities.

“Any employment or any type of work that a disabled person or any person for that matter can do is great,” she said. “I think that the more people that we have employed the better in any way, shape or form that could possibly be.”

BTizzy product creators come from all over the country, as do the their supporters. Zimmerman said the site has generated significant interest since launching last summer. She’s hoping to build that momentum into a nationally recognized option for disabled people. The company motto is “get into one”—find one artist or producer that sparks your interest—and Zimmerman hopes that call to action will open up new worlds to many.

“We have people all over the U.S. who are contacting us,” she said. “The need is so great and interest is so high, so it’s kind of daunting.”

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.