Monday, November 10, 2014

What does a Trades of Hope trunk show look like?

 I'm really excited about numerous opportunities I have coming up to share Trades of Hope. Many of my hostesses don't really know what to expect so I decided to share a little peak at what one of my Trades of Hope trunk shows looks like; here is an overview of what it's all about.

When I decided to become a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope, I was sick with anxiety. You guys I have done the Mary Kay thing, and other direct sales things that have not worked for me because I am not a sales person. I did not start Trades of Hope because I am a self-motivated business type. I started because I have a heart for the millions of women and children stuck in the sex industry. I want to be part of the help that gives hope and a future to women who can't feed their babes. I have a desire to be an advocate, a voice for the voiceless, and this is one of the tangible things I can do.

We all buy cute things to decorate our house and most of us wear jewelry and accessories. Even more of us use purses and bags to carry around diapers, Ipads or your necessities for work. Have you ever thought about who makes those things? Usually it's groups of people (including children) who are being under-paid, in undesirable working conditions, with no benefits, no breaks, no adequate bathrooms, and bosses who demand long hours and are unable or willing to care for their workers as individuals with basic needs.

We work with reputable organizations (most fair-trade certified*) and ministries that pay their workers livable wages, generally 3-6 times more than they would make if they were working on their own selling their goods on the street. Many of the organizations/ministries are able to provide benefits like job skill training, budgeting classes, dental and health care, childcare while the women work, etc.

(*those that are not officially fair-trade certified still follow fair-trade guidelines; their groups are just too small and unable to pay the fees enabling them to have the certification)

Artisans in Haiti from the Apparent Project
One of our artisans in Uganda
Esther is one of our artisans in India. 
Our group in Costa Rica is happy to work with Trades of Hope. Our large orders
enable them to hire more women and create amazing change in the slums where they are located. 

So what does one of my Trades of Hope trunk shows look like? 

I bring a couple of "trunks" full of the items made by our artisans and I display them creatively in your home or wherever you have decided to host. I have done shows in both. I love being in people's homes, but it is also really fun and easier for the hostess to be at a neighborhood coffee shop (where they do all the dishes, make the coffee, serve the wine and provide the treats.)

We wait for all of your friends to arrive, and then after everyone is settled in with their drinks we begin. I just basically share my heart, educate about the global issues going on that are negatively impacting so many women around the world, suggest tangible ways we can help, and encourage everyone to take part in one way, shape or form. We have amazing discussions, share experiences, and ask questions. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we pray. Sometimes hard questions are asked and hard answers are given.

Sometimes hearts are broken, but they are quickly encouraged. This is not a pity party to make you feel bad for being a privileged American. This is an opportunity for you to become aware, and for you and your friends to help be a light where there is so much darkness.

Then we refill our drinks, enjoy some snacks and everyone shops. Most of our items are under $50 so even those of us on a tight budget are able to leave with something special. One of my favorite pairs of earrings is just $20.

Earrings range from about $18 to $32.
Some items are available to purchase at the trunk show,
other items are shipped to your home for a flat rate of $4.95
Bright and colorful bags, clutches, purses and even a child's sized turtle backpack
One of our best sellers, this necklace is from Haiti and is a beautiful collection
of hand-made beads; some are made of clay, some are made of CEREAL BOXES!
Not a "jewelry person"? Bracelets are a great and easy way to ease into wearing accessories.
At the end of the night it's fun to take a picture of everyone that was able to come, if that's your kind of thang:)

And some times we sneak cute pictures of  our cute friends
wearing their cute new stuff:)

If you want more info or would like to place an order online 
you can check out my website here.

If you have any questions, want to book a party 
or want info on becoming a compassionate entrepreneur 
you can email me at:

[all photos not sourced were graciously shot and shared by Sarah Hardie Photography]

Monday, November 3, 2014

All about that simple life...

I really should order this.

It's been two months since our family life got a lot more "simple." And by "simple" I mean I just don't do daycare anymore.

I have been working my tail off doing house projects, volunteering, loving on Eli while Gabriel is at school, learning about/using essential oils, preparing wood signs and dolls for craft fairs and my friend's new shop HWY North, and getting ready for lots of Trades of Hope trunk shows and vendor events.

House Projects. 
Living room:  a few porcelain mounted deer heads have joined my living room decor. We ripped up the carpet in the living room and I found a great new rug.... that already has a stain. I was devastated.... but with small boys come spills, leaks, messes. That's life.

this is my feeling on the art of raising boys lately. 

kristen wiig's faces help me express my deepest emotions and thoughts.

Our bedroom: Matt surprised me and painted! And a day later I began painting over it. Baby yellow is not my thang, and as nice as it was for him to paint, I had to gently break it to him that... just, no. I got some fun things to hang above our bed. An old vintage looking fan (it's just the cage and blades), some neat frames and a manly rugged scull and antlers... I said no to the paint color, Matt said no to an animal scull hanging over our bed. Marriage is all about balance. I can handle it. (I thought it looked rugged and manly... he wasn't amused). I also got nice new sheets and a gorgeous new white duvet... that Gabriel poured fractionated coconut oil all over last night when he was mad that Ipad time was over. Oil. All over our sheets and down comforter. Did I mention I'm all in to the oils? Like literally... they are now stained in to my sleeping arrangements. That's life.
So anyways, when our bedroom project is complete I will post pictures. I am so excited for our room to feel finished.

I am now at Breaking Free very Friday morning and every last Tuesday of the month. On Fridays my friend Moriah and I help process donations. We hang clothing, organize, and sort. It's really fun, and we get to work with one of the interns that is a graduate of the program there. She is fun to chat with and it's fun getting to know her. A couple of weeks ago a new girl had just joined the program and she came in while we were there. The intern helped her to find under garments, warm clothing and a winter coat. It was a beautiful thing to see her so amazed that these items were available to her. I am so grateful to be a part of this. 
On the last Tuesday of each month we do outreach on the streets in Minneapolis. We hand out sandwiches, water bottles, toiletry kits, condoms and business cards with info about Breaking Free. In September I had the opportunity to talk with a woman who is stuck in prostitution. She needed help and we were able to provide resources. She told us her story and it was so heart breaking. But she was positive and encouraged, and she let us speak life, truth and beauty in to her heart. She even let us pray with her. Pray for Bonnie.  

Mornings with Eli.
Me and Eli have the sweetest mornings. Some mornings I get the biggest and middlest on the bus and then crawl back in bed with Eli at my side where we fall back asleep for another hour. Sometimes we visit Sugarush for donuts and good conversation with the owner. Sometimes Eli watches Curious George while I clean and do dishes. Sometimes we have friends over for a coffee/play date. Whatever we do, it's wonderful and peaceful and I am soaking in every minute with my littlest boy.

Essential Oils.
Yep. I did it. You haven't yet? You should. I use oils and our family is benefiting majorly. I have barely touched our medicine cabinet since August. I'm a believer. (Contact me for more info if you are interested in how you can get educated and start using them too.) 

Getting Creative.  
I now have wood signs and dolls at my friend Emily's local gift shop! Check out HWY North at the intersection of Hamline and Minnehaha Avenues in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. I'm also going to have hand-crafted items for sale at a few craft fairs in November and December.

Trades of Hope
I have parties and vendor shows booked for the holiday season. I am super excited to continue to share this vision and to help teach women that we are all able to help empower women out of poverty. We have a new catalog out for fall/winter. Check it out my website here.

Well, there's what my "simple" life looks like as of late. It's busy and full, but I am feeling good about what each and every day is accomplishing. Good stuff. Hard stuff. Life stuff. 
All of the things I wanted to do once this season began. Well not all, most. I still suck at meal planning. Oh well. That'll come next season maybe.