A Catholic communications company's new initiative seeks to promote Catholic creatives and help customers encounter Christ.
Many people don’t put too much thought into selecting the staples they use every day, like soap, notebooks, coffee, or other household goods. But what if these simple rituals could become reminders of faith that support Catholic families and communities?
Imagine a day filled with little opportunities to encounter Christ through the Catholic products in your home, and you’ll start to understand the mission and purpose behind Cedar House, a new initiative from Catholic communications company 5 Stones that just launched in August 2020.
“Cedar House is an online marketplace that specializes in curating and finding Catholic content to help people express their faith at various touchpoints in their lives,” said Steven Duran, Cedar House’s Director of eCommerce. “We hope our content and materials will help our customers in some way, serving as a reminder of their Christian faith and relationship with Jesus, or facilitating an encounter with Jesus.”
Much like the well-known maker marketplace Etsy, Cedar House brings together high-quality products from many different small businesses. Putting all these products in one place makes it easy for customers to find and support products made by Catholic artisans, and helps customers to shop with purpose, meaning, and soul instead of mindless consumption.
“When you look for products online, there’s so much saturation,” Duran said. “In a world where everyone goes to Amazon to buy stuff quick and cheap, we want to be antidote to that. We share stories about people doing incredible work so our customers can buy products with meaning, and enter into their story and mission.”
Cedar House differs from Etsy significantly, however, in that makers don’t have to set up shops or promote themselves. Instead, the Cedar House team does all the work of curation and promotion, so makers can focus on the work they do best, which is creating beautiful products.
“Our mission is helping Catholic businesses grow,” he said. “We’re in the business of Catholic business. For us to succeed, our clients have to succeed.”
Many Catholics who are involved in their local churches have heard of larger Catholic companies, such as Dynamic Catholic or the Augustine Institute, but small Catholic companies don’t have access to that level of publicity and marketing. Cedar House shines a spotlight on small businesses like Monastery Creations, through which the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration support their order by making and selling soaps, candles, and other handmade products.
“My job is to find these products that people have never heard of before and then bring them to Cedar House and introduce them to a larger audience,” Duran said. “Then our audience can purchase something like soap and in purchasing that, enter into the mission and story of this order. One example is Sister Cathleen, the ‘Soap Sister,‘ who puts a little holy water in each soap and prays over them to bless the lives of people who will use them. People can come here to find people and stories they want to support.”
Ultimately Cedar House is about the work of evangelization, and facilitating encounters with Christ through the products featured. “We hope that buying this soap will allow you to take a moment throughout your day and pause to contemplate the presence of God in everything in your life, even washing your hands,” he said. “The goal is to help people express their faith at every point in their lives.”
The name Cedar House comes from the Biblical story of King David, who began the work of building a temple described as a “house of cedar” for the Lord to dwell. In a similar way, Duran said, the Cedar House team hopes that this online marketplace can be a place for customers to find God’s presence while they’re shopping or searching online. He said of his work, “this is our way we can participate in building up the Kingdom of God.”