No matter the occasion this easy breezy outfit is bound to make a statement. Lately, I've been loving the way the Gold Princess Bracelet looks with the Inspiration Earrings. Don't be afraid to play around with different textures like this ruffled shirt layered with the Beachcomber Necklace. This combo gives off a light-airy feel for those hot summer days. Then, add that unexpected pop of color with the Cambodia Clutch to make this subtle look an instant classic!
Elisabeth here! While Chelsie and Ryan took a brief break from the National Tour to attend to some AWESOME new changes at the home office, Gretchen and I traveled to Columbus, OH to meet fifty-five on-fire CEs and inspired guests!
Not only did Gretchen and I get to share our hearts about Trades of Hope, but we were so touched by the women we met there! We got to hear stories from CEs about how Trades of Hope changed THEIR lives. We also got to meet several mother/daughter CE teams. I was 15 years old when we founded Trades of Hope, so I am always so passionate about daughters making the purpose of Trades of Hope their own purpose, too! I was moved to tears to hear these young girls talk (with tears in THEIR eyes, too!) about their hearts for people in desperate situations around the world. It was a beautiful, meaningful evening expressing the heart of Trades of Hope, connecting relationally with friends and growing our sisterhood of world changers!
We partnered with CE Jill Butler for a truly moving event at the Roosevelt Coffeehouse in downtown Columbus. If you are ever in town, spend some time a the Roosevelt! They are a beautiful, nonprofit coffeehouse that is working to end trafficking and poverty locally and globally! They definitely share our heart's mission. We know God hand picked that place for this event.
Be sure to check out the rest of the tour dates and details to see if we are coming to your town!!
Chelsie here! We've had a beautiful week full of lots of laughs and new friends! Last week, we visited with Rainy Benedict, Amanda Sparks, and the Indiana CEs for an amazing event and yummy snacks. I even got to spend breakfast with them the next day too, which was such a treat. Then we headed on down to Louisville, KY to meet up with Jenna Lewis for an coffee chat about empowering women. And last but not least, we looped on up to Lansing, MI and partnered with Heather Gonzalo, Tracie Westrate, Gail Faler, & team for an emotional and moving event.
Ryan and I are now headed back to Florida for work, but we will resume our trip in August! We've had an INCREDIBLE time exploring the midwest and meeting CEs there that will for sure become life long friends. Don't miss out on the upcoming meet ups, which our other amazing founders will be speaking at!
Columbus, OH, Hershey, PA, and Manasquan, NJ are all coming up!
Hope to see ya soon!
Check out photos of the last 3 meet ups below. :)
We've had an adventurous week driving around the midwest. We had such a fun stop in Chicago, met new friends, and met up with old friends. On the way back to Florida, our truck's brakes gave out and we were stuck in Kentucky for a bit. But we are excited to say that, after a stint at the mechanic's, they are good to go and we have finally started our journey home. It will be exciting to be back with our office, family, and friends for a while before we embark on the next Trades of Hope adventure! As always, thanks for following along as we drive our camper around the U.S.!
Here are some snaps of the last week.
Chelsie here! We've had a busy week traveling through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois! But oh boy, it's been exciting. First, we stopped in St. Paul and had a barbecue with some of our beautiful CEs. Then, Jess Argetsinger's team hosted a big meet up and we had 5 incredible people join our sisterhood!
After that, we traveled on over to Milwaukee to meet up with Laurie Turner and the CEs in the Wisconsin area. We had an amazing evening by Lake Michigan, sipping coffee and talking about empowering women! Loved meeting you Wisconsin CEs and friends!
And we finished our week off in Aurora, IL with Erika Solgos and local CEs. The setting was so homey and friendly and a new friend joined our sisterhood!
We've had such an incredible week meeting you and hearing your stories! This coming up week we are finishing out with Indianapolis, IN, Louisville, KY, and Lansing, MI!
We have had such a fun two weeks heading into the midwest and as the days have warmed up, we've become even more excited. Just a month ago, we were in Wyoming in the snow. So these sunny, summer days make us happy. We will be headed back to Florida next Tuesday to work on some projects at home. I am so excited to see family and friends again, but also a little sad to leave the road. (Luckily, we've decided to make our camper our permanent home for now, so that will keep things exciting). And we will be resuming our trip come August and are looking forward to meeting you east coast friends. :) Thanks for following our journey and thinking and praying for us!
Check out some instagram snapshots of the last few weeks.
Father's Day can be difficult. Sure, you can get Dad another tie or watch, but how about giving a gift that not only impacts him, but another family. Fathers are important to a society's well-being and 20% of our artisans are men. These men can provide for their families and give their families security through Trades of Hope's fair wage. So, this Fathers Day give more than just a tie, give a gift that will also bless another man and his family.
The World Map Journal is perfect for the man who loves to journal his thoughts and ideas.
The Leather Traveler's Wallet is our newest addition to the Trades of Hope's men collection! Two simple yellow and white stitched lines adds the perfect masculine accent to this rugged wallet.
The Survivor Bracelet is such a unique and resourceful bracelet. This bracelet doesn't only have the rugged look but has the extra edge in resourcefulness. This bracelet is designed as a tool for survival. It holds fishing supplies, paracord, twine, an emergency whistle, and more!
Adjusting the Aperture: Focusing on the Foreground
In 2014, our Vision Trip to Costa Rica allowed us the opportunity to meet an amazing group of 6-18 year-old girls participating in a life-skills program. Started by a woman named Penny, the program provides developmental activities on topics such as vocational skills, personal growth, healthy relationships, Bible studies and basic English. All participants are living below the poverty line in neighborhoods that are involved in or at risk of sexual exploitation, drugs, alcohol, and violence.
On our Vision Trip to Guatemala last month, we met 100 girls, ages newborn to 22, who are living in a safe house – some placed there by the government after being removed from unsafe situations (violence, sex abuse, substance abuse, street-life); others by loving families who don’t have the financial means to care for them.
Two countries, similar situations. At the epicenter of both: poverty. Poverty wreaks havoc worldwide. It puts girls at a much higher risk for sexual exploitation and abuse. It limits education. It blurs choices, forcing parents to make decisions they wouldn’t otherwise. Poverty separates families and precludes dreams. With our focus on sustainable business and dignified opportunities, I am proud of how we view our artisans and their histories. We are not focused on the fact they’ve been abused or impoverished; we are focused on their dreams and their futures. Don’t get me wrong -- their backgrounds are the core of why we partner with them. It’s just not the how. Our how involves acknowledging our artisans’ need for this opportunity, then focusing all our efforts on providing an avenue for bringing it to fruition. We have the rare opportunity to meet our artisans and know their lives, environment, needs, creativity and their dreams. As a perfect example, meet Karen from Guatemala. She is extremely bright – in both senses of the word – and dreams of being President of Guatemala, as well as a writer and a political ambassador.
These young entrepreneurs not only learn skills of how to make products, they learn what it takes to run their own business– accounting, budgeting, costing, forecasting, negotiating, etc. With so many amazing possibilities for their future, if we focus too much on their background – where they had little control -- we lose sight of who they are today and who they want to be. It’s analogous to adjusting the aperture on a camera – focus too much on the background and the foreground starts to blur.
Conversely, we can’t ignore their background as it’s the core of our partnership. It provides the context of why we do what we do. Our goal is for them to have more opportunities in their future than they’ve had in their past.
Our balance is to know our artisans’ backgrounds but focus on the beauty, the hope and the partnerships we have with them. In other words, adjust our aperture so we have a sense for their background but our focus stays on who they are today and, even more importantly, where they want to be tomorrow.
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."- Maria Robinson
Chelsie here! Our second half of the National Tour has begun and it kicked off with an INCREDIBLE weekend with our Des Moines CEs. First, we had a CE dinner where we got to meet one another (and spouses!) and chat while eating some yummy food. The next day, the Des Moines team kept us busy and set up so many fun interviews with local news stations and radio programs in the area to help spread the word about Trades of Hope. We then got to visit Dorothy's Home, a safe home for girls that have been trafficked in Iowa - which is the third biggest state in the US for sex trafficking. That was a heartbreaking and moving experience!
We concluded with an incredible meet up at Java Joes (yum!) where Colleen and Connie interviewed me and we got to share some of the stories of our artisans all over the world. Thank you Des Moines team for making us feel SO welcome!!
We have a busy up coming week with St. Paul, MN on Tuesday, Milwaukee, WI on Wednesday, and Aurora, IL on Friday! Hope to see you there.
Check out some photos from our Iowa meet up below.
On a personal note, we are SO excited to have our meet ups start again. The last month we have been flying back and forth to Florida and I even got to lead a vision trip to Costa Rica. We also had a couple weeks in the wilderness of Wyoming and South Dakota - which was fun! We have never been to that part of the U.S. and it was so unique and rugged!
We did go through a bout of homesickness where we missed being around people, as we were only in a town of about 200! So having our meet ups start again has been so fun, as we love hanging with our CEs and getting to meet their friends and family.
Check out some instagram snaps of the last month below. :)
Watch this adorable video of Co-Founder Chelsie and her husband Ryan travel the country on the Trades of Hope National Tour! Their adventures are epic.
Want to meet Chelsie and hear more about Trades of Hope? Then, check out her tour dates and meetups.
It's time to soak up all the beautiful weather you can! As you prepare for warmer weather, get inspired by this Summer Essential Guide. Summer calls for a breezy and comfortable look. Layering the Beachcomber Necklace is the perfect touch of charm and the Cambodia Clutch adds some sophistication to your look. Then, finish the look with the Ivory Sands Cuff and Inspiration Earrings.
Hey guys! Elisabeth here. Gretchen, Holly and I just had an amazing trip to Guatemala with our Vision Team, 6 awesome CEs! First, we visited our artisans who make our Julia Necklace and Identity Bracelet. These girls were truly inspiring. Our artisans live at a safe home with many other girls. As well as giving adult women sustainable businesses, our business with them benefits the girls' home as a whole. Upon arriving, all of the girls in the home ran up to our group and gave us each hugs. It was a heart-warming as it sounds. With each "Hola, buenas dias," we all fell a little more in love.
We were so blessed with the opportunity to watch our artisans make some Identity Bracelets. Our adoration for their skill, talent and creativity only deepened as we stared in awe.
While their work was indeed beautiful and moving, I found something so much more inspiring: their hearts. After we had a group discussion with our artisans and some girls learning the trade of making jewelry, I found myself asking for photo after photo after photo with these, business women as if they were celebrities. Despite the darkness of their past, they have tremendous dreams for their futures! They have dreams of being international business women, doctors, lawyers, or writers. Karen (pictured with me above) has the ambition to be president of her country one day. You know what the beauty is? Because of you and Trades of Hope, every single one of these girls have the bravery to believe that their dreams will come true. They are confident. They are expectant. And I long to be pictured with them because they empower me to believe that my dreams will come true as well! Sustainable business is a never ending cycle of hope upon hope for everyone involved!
Here are more photos of our CEs with the girls:
We also got to meet our artisans who make the Mayan Clutch and Turtle Backpack! These women work so diligently; and because of your business, they were able to expand their workplace and their home! Sweetness radiated out of them as they let our excited CEs take photos with them! It was such a fun, sweet gift!
Here are some more photos of our CEs in Guatemala!
Thank you so much for the lives you are directly impacting and empowering in Guatemala! It is such an honor to partner with these women of Guatemala and with you! - Elisabeth
Trades of Hope empowers women out of poverty by creating a market for their handcrafts through Fair Trade. Follow our adventures here!
**Any pricing in past blog posts is subject to change. Please check online store here for current prices.
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