Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shopping with Trades of Hope: Your Purchases Can Empower

I have started a tradition with Blue, or as much tradition as one can have with a 16 month old. I keep a stash of dollars in my purse and whenever we meet a Salvation Army bell ringer at the entrance of a store, I hand him the dollar and he squeezes it into the bucket. It's a game to him, but maybe someday it will translate to generous charitable giving (admittedly, $1 may not seem "generous" but you would not believe how many times we end up going to the grocery store every week). When Blue is an adult and my accomplishments as a mother can be fully recognized, I will only feel successful if he is kind, loving, generous, useful, respectful and charitable. But that all starts with me and how I nurture those traits in him on a daily basis. And nurturing them in him on a daily basis means finding ways to nurture them within myself. How can I help? What one thing can I do everyday to make the world a better place? I look people in the eye when we are speaking. I say please and thank you and try to smile often. I look for opportunities to put our money when our values are. And that brings us to Trades of Hope.

A few weeks ago, Traci (of Arkansas but we aren't going to hold that against her, are we? Razorbacks who?) emailed me to say she was hosting an online shopping party to benefit Trades of Hope. She explained that the organization purchases products from women artisans all over the world who are simply trying to improve their circumstances. They are from Uganda and Guatemala and Nepal and Cambodia. But they are also in Costa Rica, Philippines, Peru, and even the U.S. They are women just like me, but without the opportunities and good fortune I've been blessed with my entire life. Trades of Hope has a website and founders and a mission statement, but perhaps this says it best:

We work with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have aids and leprosy. These women have never had the chances we've had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.

We are helping by marketing their products through the home party model, so they can put food on their table, a roof over their head, get medical care and an education for their children. We want to tell their stories to the world! We have a heart for ministry and business, and through this we have started separate successful non-profit organizations and businesses. Together, we have a combined 30 years of experience. This has given us the tools and drive we need to help women and make an impact on the world! As moms, we also wanted to partner with our daughters, Chelsie and Elisabeth, and teach them that women at any age can make a difference and be world changers!

I asked Traci this morning to tell us how she found Trades of Hope and what it means to her.

"I found Trades of Hope through my writer cousin's blog. I love Addie's new series, 'One Small Change' because it is filled with ideas from her readers on little ways we can make the world better. I desire to make a difference, but I am also easily overwhelmed. I have great intentions, but somehow in the chaos of daily life, I lose my way. However, I CAN do the small least 1 or 2 of them. The day this blog post came out, I ordered the Deep Aqua Layered Necklace. It is a beautiful piece (which is commonly heard from Trades of Hope shoppers) and to know that I was able to make a small difference to someone else makes it an even more precious part of my jewelry collection. For me, I have been able to witness first-hand some of the poverty of other countries through mission trips to Mexico and Nicaragua and if something as simple as buying from an organization like Trades of Hope can make life better for another mother, family, or child, why wouldn't we ALL do that? We are buying gifts anyway!"

I also asked Traci what percentage the women artisans receive from each purchase, since Trades of Hope is essentially the middle women.

When Trades of Hope works with an artisan group, that group is able to earn 3-6 times more than what their local economy could (or would) pay them. Trades of Hope places the order and then pays 50% up front so they are paid while they work. They pay the remainder upon delivery of the products. The artisan group sets the price at a fair wage, meaning they are able to provide more for their family, including food, shelter, medical care, and education. It is not a set percentage, as prices vary widely all over the world. When Trades of Hope offers a sale, it is Trades of Hope taking a hit...NOT the artisan group. The faster Trades of Hope sells their products, the faster they can return and re-order. Trades of Hope also has a program called Gifts of Hope, which you can read about here

So now that you have a little more info and maybe a bit more fire to make a difference, too, let me get you shopping. Traci's current party is open until Sunday, December 15 ( 2 days) for orders that need to arrive by Christmas. She is keeping the party open for post-Christmas orders until January 1. However, orders are shipped as they are filled, not when the party closes. If you are unable to shop Traci's party in the next few weeks, there are ample opportunities to host your own online or in-home party or order from the website 24/7.

Personally, I am buying THIS:
It's called the Journey Bracelet and I love everything about it. It measures 9" and "not for petite wrists" but, y'know...Mama doesn't have to worry about that. The scarves, jewelry, handbags, home decor, and stationary are beautiful and reasonably priced. This bracelet is $24 and having worked extensively with seed beads, I can tell you that's a steal.

Many of you have finished your Christmas shopping but if you are wrapping it up this weekend, let me send you in the direction of Trades of Hope. If not for them, then perhaps for you. Santa did say you've been awfully good this year. 


  1. Thanks for sharing about Trades of Hope! If someone wants to host an online party, they can contact me (Traci's Compassion Entrepreneur). If they want to host an in-person party, I can help connect them with someone nearby.

  2. You might want to check out this post from JennyMac:

    Like you and Neal, she wants to raise a caring child. Mini Mac is six or seven and she has some good ideas. I think it will give you a link back to her 2012 post, which was interesting, too.

    Was that petite wrist crack aimed at me? of course not! hope you're all well.


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