About Trades of Hope

about trades of hope founders gretchen and elisabeth with artisan partners around the world

Hello! Trades of Hope Founders, Gretchen (CEO) and Elisabeth (Chief Brand Officer) here! 

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:


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.

Click Here to Shop Gretchen's Book!


trades of hope founder and ceo with her book our voices risingShop Trades of Hope co-founder and CEO, Gretchen Huijskens' book! 

Our Voices Rising is Gretchen's inspirational origin story about the start of Trades of Hope, after her first-hand experience of starting a charity in Haiti in the early 2000s. The charity included an orphanage, school, and medical clinic, but led Gretchen to the a realization that most orphans in her care were only orphans because their mothers couldn’t afford to care for them. Gretchen’s perception of helping shifted when she realized the uncomfortable truth: that her charity was often just a band-aid on the real problems.

Gretchen completely changed her worldview and model of charity to a sustainable business model that empowered women to provide what their families really needed: access to education, medical care, nutritious food, a safe home, and clean water. Today Gretchen and the team at Trades of Hope continue to help women rise out of poverty, trafficking, and gender inequality by selling their fair-trade goods with small business support of women across the United States. Gretchen is a pioneer in the field of sustainable business, and the partnerships she creates empower every single woman involved around the world.

New Arrivals from Our Artisan Partners: