I have never been on a mission trip, though I’m passionate about overseas mission work. My diabetes kept me firmly stateside, within a reasonable traveling distance from my medical team, while my church friends went to faraway places and shared their faith while performing tangible acts of love, like building schools or churches. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel left out and like maybe I wasn’t being as effective a Christian as I should have been :-)
So, some of my favorite charity organizations have always been those that let you thoughtfully and prayerfully fill a shoebox full of Christmas gifts for little kids in very poor countries, or that let you pay to send animals or other life-changing gifts to families in these same countries in the name of a loved one.
I love the idea of giving a person or family the means to support themselves long-term so that they’re able to lift themselves out of poverty, rather than being given a gift of food or medicine that – while obviously life-saving and important – will run out. I’d rather give them the means to earn the money to afford these things themselves. And I have to believe that in general, those in the position to be on the receiving end of these donations would prefer the dignity in that as well.
Recently, I’ve felt motivated to start a home-based business (besides this blog, haha). The extra income would go toward some upcoming “special” expenses that don’t necessarily fall within our regular budget – basement remodeling, yard renovating, vacation… we’d love to take the kids back to Barbados to meet our doctor and nurses there!
I’ve tossed around a few ideas, most strongly considering one that would have me designing a product and doing all of the set-up for the storefront, etc, because I wanted to be able to include an element of giving-back. One of my “30 by 30” goals is to fundraise for a worthy cause, and I wanted to include that in whatever new adventure I decided to pursue.
|A few of my favorite new pieces! Ask me what's what! ;-)|
Enter Trades of Hope :-) I have signed up as a Compassionate Entrepreneur with this truly remarkable company, and I am so excited to have found a way to combine my passions and priorities – overseas missions, long-term stability for recipients, side income for my family, pretty jewelry/bags/décor!
|All my Trades of Hope jewelry in my Love bowl.|
I’m also excited to introduce Trades of Hope to you all! We are a home-party, direct-sales company with a mission. All of our products are handmade by artisans in impoverished countries, who are paid a fair living wage – between 3-6 TIMES what they’d earn selling a piece in their own country – and from this wage, support their families and their communities. Because of their partnerships with Trades of Hope, parents are able to keep their children at home rather than relinquishing them to orphanages (don't mind me, just crying over here, imagining being forced to make that decision), kids are going to school for the first time (sometimes in multiple generations), and whole communities are being changed for the better. Trades of Hope is part of the Fair Trade Federation, so you can trust that this is all done in a fair, culturally-sensitive way. :-)
|One of my favorite bracelets - Jungle Twirl - made in Uganda|
Local friends, be on the lookout for information about an in-person launch party in the coming weeks! I can’t wait to get some of these beautiful pieces in your hands and show you some of the amazing women we’re empowering with our business! If you’re not local to Ohioish, I’m planning on having a concurrent Facebook launch event as well. You just won’t get to touch the products until your own are delivered ;-) Make sure you're following Always, Katie on Facebook for that.
|The Restoration bracelet - made in Haiti.|
If you’d like to learn more about the company or check out the beautiful offerings from our artisans, you can find my personal storefront in the tab at the top of my blog titled “Shop Trades of Hope With Me.” If you’re as excited as I am, let’s talk about getting an online or in person party set up so you can share this SUPER cool ministry with your friends too! Shoot me an email!
|"Dazzling" earrings - made in India. And DAZZLING is apt!|