Sometimes products I review change the way I think.  They change the way I look at products and the way I perceive things on shelves.  And my favorite products that do this are the ones that change my heart as well.  When Ginny, a Compassion Entrepeneur from Trades of Hope contacted me to post about her own experience in Haiti and beyond and the line of purses and bags from Trades of Hope, an organization that helps keep women out of poverty by helping them to build a sustainable business, I was more than thrilled to bring as much information to you about it as I could.

I took some time looking at all of the beautiful items for sale – at very reasonable prices – I might add.  Jewelry, scarfs, handbags, home decor and more make the perfect accessory or gift!  And most of the money earned in selling these items goes right back to the women making the items, not to a big corporation.  I love that!

I chose a beautifully woven handbag to review so that I could report back to you the quality of the merchandise!  I have to say, this is top notch.  I love the craftsmanship, the design and the quality.  The bag is soft, both inside and out, a great size for picnics, outings and more, and is easy to carry.  It even has a pocket inside for your little things.  I think every woman needs one of these bags!  Or one just like it from the Trades of Hope website!

I am so incredibly impressed with the entire organization and products.  Take a moment to read below on how Ginny got involved and why Trades of Hope means so much to her.  She has actually been to Haiti to see, first hand, how this program is benefiting these women!

In 2010, I made my first of what will eventually be many trips to Haiti.  Before I went I imagined that I was going to spend a week making a huge difference in the lives of the Haitians.  Once I got to Haiti I quickly realized that there was so much to be done that my one week’s effort painting an orphanage and visiting orphans was going to be the equivalent of drying up the Mississippi River with a paper towel.  I would get a little accomplished, but mostly I would learn something and get a little messy.  I did learn something, I learned that the Haitian people are fullof joy, and love and are willing to work very hard but they need more than our prayers and our short term missions trips. They need long term solutions, sustainable income and food for their children.  I also got a little messy, but not in the way you’re probably thinking.  I got all messed up on the inside, and I fell in love with Haiti the way a mom falls in love with her babies.  Like a mom, I only hope and pray for the very best for Haiti but when I see the desperation that is so thick in the air it’s almost tangible I want to do something about it and my heart aches for this beautiful country every single day.

I have returned to Haiti twice since then and will return many more times.  My 10 year old daughter will be going with me this year, to meet the people that I have grown to love like family.  We work when we are there, and what we do is important, but it always seems like it isn’t enough, like we could be doing something more.

On my trip in November 2011, I met a woman named Marilyn who is doing more.  She started a sustainable business called The Apparent Project which has a single mission, keeping the families of Haiti together.  Haiti has an orphan problem, orphanages are all over Haiti and most of them are completely full of kids and seriously understaffed.  We had the opportunity to visit several on our first trip and we learned that most of the orphans aren’t true orphans.  Most of them have been given up by their parents because of extreme poverty and lack ofopportunity.  The Apparent Project started an artisan program that trains parents in various crafts (jewelry making, sewing, bookbinding, etc.).  The jewelry is beautiful, and I came home and ordered 500 bracelets to sell, in order to help The Apparent Project in their mission ofsolving the poverty crisis in Haiti.
Then early in 2012, I ran across a company in the US called Trades of Hope.  Trades of Hope is a company built on the home party model.  A couple of ladies in South Florida decided while they were at a candle show, that if we can get together to buy make-up and candles, that we can also get together to buy beautiful pieces of jewelry that can help women rise out of poverty.  They partnered with The Apparent Project, and organizations like it all over the world.  The women who make these products are in impoverished nations with limited opportunities, and are able to earn a respectable wage through the selling of their crafts.

I read about Trades of Hope, and I contacted one of their Compassion Entrepreneurs, and immediately signed up.  I’ve done party plan businesses before and been quite successful but I always seemed to lose my passion for what I was selling.  There is no chance of that happening with Trades of Hope!  Every single product is a quality work of art, made by a woman at risk of extreme poverty, and through fair trade practices those women get to earn about 6 times the average wage in their countries.

So the next time you need a unique gift for a family member or friend, you know the one who is impossible to buy for, check out the store at Trades of Hope and you can also give the gift of a sustainable income to an at risk woman. 

Pretty incredible, right?

If you are in the market for some great gifts for you or someone you love, please take a moment to check out all of the amazing selection at Trades of Hope.  You will be glad you did.  Not only for getting such great products but by knowing that you did something really good for woman who need it most!

And because Ginny is so sure that you will love all of the Trades of Hope merchandise, she is giving one (1) of my lucky readers a chance to WIN their very own handbag of their choice!  Yes, you can choose any of the amazing handbags featured!  Just click [continue reading] for easy Rafflecopter entry:

a Rafflecopter giveaway