I’m thrilled to introduce Compassion Entrepreneur Krystle Bowen to you today. Krystle is an internet-turned-real-life-face-to-face friend of mine that I have come to adore and respect. She works with an innovated program called Trades of Hope. Here’s how they describe themselves:
Trades of Hope empowers women to create sustainable businesses worldwide. We want women to realize their potential as world changers, business owners, dream creators, and heroes of their own stories. We are looking for American women to rise up and be the voice for the women who have no voice, empowering them to rise out of poverty.
Adriel: Thanks for joining us in the 31 Days of Women Empowering Women series, Krystle. You really are the perfect fit. Can you please tell us how you were first introduced to Trades of Hope?
Krystle: I was at our church holiday craft bazaar and the Uganda Wrap bracelet grabbed my eye. Once I read about where it was from and the mission of the company, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I asked the woman selling the products about it and she ended up being my sponsor and helping me get started. This was about one year ago next month!
Can you explain what Trades of Hope is?
Trades of Hope recognizes that many women live in poverty but it’s not for a lack of ability, it’s a lack of opportunity. So two women and their daughters decided that if we could sell makeup and candles in American homes through the ‘party system’ we could sell handcrafted items from women all over the world the same way. We’re helping get food on their table, medical care and education for their children. We work with artisans all over the world who have escaped sex trafficking, who are staying out of sweat shops and slums, and who are getting their kids an education! We purchase the products from the artisans with fair trade principles, and it’s approximately six times more than they would make in the context of their country. We bring it back to the US and sell it in the homes of women all over.
What was it that most captured your heart about Trades of Hope?
I recognized that as a mom of three young boys, I didn’t have to up and leave the country to make a difference and help change the world. I could do it within the context of my life as is and also teach my kids about it. I had the privilege of going to Haiti on the first vision trip Trades of Hope did just three months after I started working as a Compassion Entrepreneur (selling their products). The purpose was to meet with the artisans we work with in Haiti, connect the dots, and put a face with what we are doing. It was profoundly impacting time and made it so real. This is legit. And it made me that much more excited to be a part of this!
Why do you believe Trades of Hope is an effective and sustainable model for empowering women through business?
I believe this model works because we are working with groups (non-profits, co-ops, missions) that have set up the groups we work with but it’s the artisans themselves who are working, investing, and receiving the benefits. It’s not a ‘hey look what we are doing here’ or a short-term band-aid. We are just linking arms with these groups (mostly women) and becoming their voice. They are talented, resourceful, determined and relentless. We are partnering together to give them the opportunity.
How can we get involved in Trades of Hope?
There are three main ways to get involved:
Buy online. If you live within the 48 continental states you can buy Trades of Hope products online at any time, no need to wait for a party!
Host a Trades of Hope party. To spread the word, you can host a party at your home! Go to the Trades of Hope website to find a Compassion Entrepreneur in your area and get connected. If most of your friends and family live elsewhere, you can host an online party.
Become a Compassion Entrepreneur. This is unlike any other business in that you can earn an income while helping other women earn one as well. The products speak for themselves and with Christmas approaching, these items make amazing gifts that give twice.
Ohhh friends, I am all about Krystle’s heart and vision and the heart and vision of Trades of Hope. To combine a way for women to empower women in the developing world by supporting local artisans and fair trade in a sustainable, proactive way and generate a way for stay-at-home moms like Krystle to earn some income while raising awareness and being a bridge and a voice for these women? It’s just an all-around win. I hope you’ll visit Krystle’s blog or her Trades of Hope website and consider how you might get involved. A little Christmas shopping maybe??
This post is part of 31 Days of Women Empowering Women, as well as part of a larger movement of writers all over the world joining in with The Nester in writing everyday for the month of October. See hundreds of incredible #31Days projects here.