Gretchen, CEO + Founder (R)
Pranee, Artisan Community Leader in Thailand (C)
Elisabeth, Chief Creative Officer + Founder (L)
As a mother-daughter team, we created Trades of Hope after learning about the atrocities women face around the world (and the U.S.). The lack of jobs for women forces mothers to give up their kids to orphanages, increase women’s risk of being trafficked, and keeps them in a cycle of poverty and social oppression.
We knew we had to use the privilege we were born into to create a platform for women to show the world what they are capable of.
We’ve traveled the world to listen to these women, and this is one thing they taught us: THEY DON’T WANT CHARITY. THEY WANT AN OPPORTUNITY.
While our handbags and jewelry may seem frivolous at first glance, every purchase supports a woman leading her family out of poverty. She doesn’t need pity or charity. She’s proud to be providing for her kids and being the hero of her own story. So, no. Our accessories aren’t frivolous. They’re physical representations of women using their skills and rising around the world.
Before Trades of Hope, I (Gretchen) was a mother of two young children when I began looking into international adoption. Our life was great, and I was grateful. But I felt a restlessness knowing most people around the world weren’t as blessed as we were.
Have you ever
felt that way?
A little nudge in the pit of your stomach? Deep down, I knew I had to do something. Without knowing where it was on a map yet, I went on a trip to Haiti and was shaken by the corruption of so many orphanages there.
I couldn’t un-see what I saw, and I knew that staying silent in the face of injustice was complicit. So, without any prior experience, I started and ran an orphanage in Port au Prince for almost a decade. During that time, we helped 100 children find forever families. I knew in my head that it was a good thing. Adoption is a beautiful act.
But one truth kept
tugging at my heart…
More often than not, the children given to our care had living parents, grandparents, or relatives. These parents loved their children but couldn’t afford to feed them. They were desperate. There were too many tears and heartbreaking goodbyes. It felt so unjust to me.
I wanted a better way to help these families. And that’s where YOU come in.
In 2010, I teamed up with my daughter Elisabeth and our friends Holly and Chelsie to create jobs for mothers around the world so that they could keep their babies. The four of us started Trades of Hope to empower women. But you all – our ethical shoppers, party hostesses, and Partners …
…you all turned it into a MOVEMENT of HOPE.
When you shop our pieces, our Artisans do a happy dance because we can place more orders. (Literally, they’ve sent us videos!). When you host a party, the purchases your friends make create more jobs for more women who just want an opportunity.
When you join our accepting sisterhood of Partners, you stand in solidarity with women around the world, shake their hand, and enter a dignified partnership where you rely on each other to bless your families and chase your dreams.
You are the link in this story that can give purpose to a bracelet, opportunity to a mother, and hope to the world. I’m so glad our stories have crossed. Because we started Trades of Hope for women around the world, but
we started it for you, too.
Light and love,