FREE PERSONAL SHOPPER POST: Not only am I sharing three of my favorite fashion trends for Fall 2017, but I am providing you direct links to specific pieces you can buy to add the trend to your wardrobe -- FOR FREE! Making your Fall a little more stylish and easy is my goal. There are pieces from so many stores (from Target to Anthropologie), options for every budget, and sizing from "petits" to "plus size" and every where in between!
There are waaay more than three trends that I'm gushing over right now (shout out to my collection of berets!), but these are EASY to work into your everyday style. I also picked three trends that compliment every woman, whether your style is more relaxed or if you've trained your feet to walk in heels all day like I have. This list is for every woman to feel proud of her fashion game this Fall! Let's do this!
01. Japanese floral patterns
The Japanese florals! Florals? In fall? YES! The vintage patterns nod to Fall's love of tradition. Think these are a little too "out there" for you? Absolutely not! (Style tip: try new things in pant or skirt form! Keeping it away from your face will make it less overwhelming while trying a new trend for the first time!) I went super bold (per usual) with my favorite heels to call out the color in the blooms. I did this only because my top was a classic, simple ivory (always have one "supporting" piece so your statement piece can be the focal point!). But black heels or some discrete flats would set the stage for the Japanese florals beautifully!
Also, you may have seen some Japanese floral, satin button downs. This is often referred to the "pyjama trend" (no reference to Asian culture). So many people are against it, but I LOVE it! Bold and oh so comfy! Click through the photos below, they each link you to its product page to buy pieces that fit this trend!
02. sweaters with flair
Guys, this one is EASY! Sweaters with a little (or a lot) of flare is in, in, in for the rest of the year and into early Spring! Ruffles, bows, bell sleeves -- oh, my! Here, I'm wearing some subtly puffed sleeves from Anthropology (got it on sale, sorry!). This trend is so exciting because you can choose how big or small (literally) you want to go! I'm including several examples that you can click through and buy below!
03. Relaxed Business Attire
I just made up the trend name "relaxed business attire" but, regardless of what else it could be called, I'm catching the trend! This could also be described as "masculine fashion for women" -- which is super in right now, too. Call it what you want, but the button downs, striped dress shirts, slacks (or in my case leather pants), and loafer shoes are 10/10 this season! It's a favorite because it's "relaxed" but still put together! (PS - I LOVE CAPES!) There are so many ways to bring this trend to life in your wardrobe, and some pieces are linked in the slideshow below!
I have a few more Fall and Winter fashion blogs lined up, but let me know what YOU would like to see (fashion-related or not) in the comments below or on my Instagram, and I will be happy to cover it!
Hope you are loving everything that comes with this Fall season!
Every time this alluring season comes around, I wonder what it is about this time of year that unites most of us in anticipation and enthusiasm. What makes us gush over leaves? What is it about about autumn vegetables that possesses us to put them on our coffee tables and mantels? How can shortening of days move us inwards to new depths of reflection and creativity?
As we stand at the threshold of a new season, the earth is drawing back into itself, accepting change, surrendering to what needs to be in order to become what it was destined to be. There is a development happening; and though it looks like death and an end, it is actually growth for a new beginning. And even though the earth comes back to this place every year, and it seems to endure the same battering process, each time is an evolution forward. Returning to a similar place does not a hopeless indication.
I wonder what it is about this natural phenomenon that causes us to mimic what creation is doing around us. Turning inward. Developing ourselves. Reaching within. Enduring refinement into order to reveal more of who we truly are.
Fall captures me because it gives me permission to go through that process, to trust the process of life, of human existence, of ups and downs. It reminds me that there is so much beauty in change, so much to behold when you trust, and so much security in believing confidently that more light and new life always, always, always is restored like never before.
That is why I love sweaters, leaves, apple cider, and pumpkin spice everything -- because they're traditional, comforting reminders that even in this season, where everything appears to be ending, the stage is truly being set for life like we've never seen it before.
The earth is filled with signs and reminders and comforts whispering, "What you're going through, it's okay. It is a part of this life. We'll give you proof that hope always comes. Trust that where you are right now is a beautiful part of the process."
This has been my go-to outfit the last few months! It's so easy, pretty comfortable, and a fun conversation starter. I got these overalls on clearance a couple years ago, but I've linked below all the pieces I'm wearing (from overalls, undershirt, to lip color) or pieces that are remarkably similar!
Let me know if you have any other questions + what your favorite style or trend is right now!
I'm very open with the few temporary cosmetic things I have enjoyed. They are FUN! And I wish more women realized that there is no reason to feel ashamed for taking hold of how you present yourself to others.
Feeling bomb about yourself so you can focus on changing the world. > Letting your insecurities hold you back from being yourself and ultimately helping other people.
I’m also convinced that there’s no reason to hoard information, connections, or insight -- especially with other women! It's exhausting to view women as competition. I have been on both ends of making silly little things (such as eyelashes) a point of comparison. I'm so over it, guys. Besides, it's way more fun to share in fun, feminine things rather than experience them alone. When I kept getting questions on my Instagram about them, I decided to answer the most frequently asked ones here! So, read all my answered questions about my eyelash extensions experience so that (if you're thinking about them) you can get them too, and we can woo and awe at each other's fab lashes!
Question 01: Do they hurt? Can you get them wet?
No! The process is painless. You will enter some kind of room at a hair/nail/beauty salon, lay on a reclining chair or bed, and simply relax. The cosmetologist uses two pairs of tweezer-like tools to place one eyelash at a time on one of your own lashes. Remember that someone is moving very closely to your eyes, which is not a common occurrence for most people, so the first few minutes take some getting used to. Before the actual eyelash part starts, most cosmetologists will tape your lower lashes down or cover them will gel pads which will cause your eyes to water, but they don't hurt. This is to keep the glue from sticking to your lower lashes and protect your under eye skin. I will say, every once in a while, there will be an accidental tug that will be uncomfortable, but this only happens to me approximately 3 times per visit.
You can get them wet after 24 hours. (So make sure you shower right before!) Mine get wet all the time in the shower and when I wash my face. I have even swam in the ocean with waves crashing on me and they endured.
Questions 02: Where do I go to get them done?
The #1 thing that will make or break your eyelash extensions experience will be who/where you go to get them. While they are offered almost everywhere with beauty services now, I have been to 3 very different places and had very different experiences. There are 3 things you want to ask before you book your appointment. Trust me, it will save you discomfort, time, and dissatisfaction. Learn from my mistakes.
1.) Ask how long your cosmetologist has been doing eyelash extensions. The first place I went to, where I got my whole set done originally, was a professional salon with with very well trained stylists. The experience was so amazing that I fell asleep while most of it was being done (awkwardly sleeping with my mouth open and everything!).
2.) Ask if they use tape or gel pads for your lower lashed. I know the thought doesn't seem enjoyable. But you know what's even less enjoyable? Having an eyelash pulled off your under eye because they didn't use tape and now it's stuck to your face. Yeah. I would know. The second place I went to for a fill was a nail salon and tape/gel pads were not used on me. Suddenly, the eye watering was far more welcomed.
3.) Ask if they use a sanitary bed. The third place I went to for a fill was a small business owner. Rather than laying on a technician type bed that you would see in a dentist's office or salon, I laid on a cot with a big fluffy pink blanket on it. The fluffy pink blanket was cute and fit her brand, but as I was laying there all I could think about was how many people laid (and sweat) there since it was washed. The lack of professionalism added to the not awesome experience.
Question 03: Do you feel fake?
My response? I feel empowered! Do you know how long I would spend putting mascara on everyday (and then taking it off)? A lot! And even after all that wasted time, I wasn't happy with how they looked. Now, I spend zero time working with my eyelashes. And because I like them so much, I have been wearing a lot less make up. (Cue Beyonce: "I woke up like this.") Eliminating the distraction of eyelashes has opened me up to be more productive and focus on things that truly matter. Plus, it feels good to wake up feeling good! And if anyone has ever made you feel ashamed for wanting to feel that feeling, let me tell you how silly that is. Boldly take matters into your own hands, girl! We don't have time to fret about what we don't like about ourselves. You have too many businesses to start or degrees to collect or people to influence! So, if something is bothering you, do something about it. Then spend your energy chasing your dreams, investing in relationships, and bettering the world!
This is Ismaella.
She creates necklaces in one of the artisan groups with which Trades of Hope partners. She gave me permission to share her words: “I don't need to ask my mom for money. I became more independent economically, and I can help others also.” Ismaella says her dream is to be a lawyer one day.
I’ll be traveling to Haiti next week on a business trip to see her, and I’m thankful, more than ever to be in this business partnership with her.
Tomorrow, May 13, 2017, is World Fair Trade Day.
Many of the things we buy on a regular basis are made by women, men, and children around the world who are treated and paid very poorly. Approximately, 40% of the world's population exists on $2 dollars a day. When I was a teenager, $10 finds at Forever21 was exciting. Now, I see things on sale for $10, $5, or even $2 and think, “Someone in the process of this product is being taken advantage of.” Underpaid, mistreated people toiling in sweatshops or even slavery contributes to the cheap prices available to us, most often also leaving a damaging footprint on our environment behind.
Fair Trade creates space in the world for socially conscious, dignified, and safe partnerships between product-makers, product-retailers, and product-consumers. Some of the Fair Trade principles include, but aren’t limited to, supporting safe and empowering working conditions, create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers, paying producers promptly and fairly, and respecting cultural identity.
Tomorrow is a day to celebrate women like Ismaella who, through fair trade practices and socially conscious shoppers, can reach for her dreams. It is also a day to put our foot down. People toiling in sweatshops, child labor, slavery: these are realities that do not need to exist.
How can we do our part to empower those who are economically and socially oppressed and protect our beautiful world?
1. We can lower the demand.
By not buying cheap products, we lower the retailer’s ability to order more inventory, also lowering the availability of abusive positions that take women, men, and children captive. With most brands not prioritizing the human who make product, this realistically is a gradual change. Don’t try to quit buying everything you do now immediately. That’s not feasible! Just find a couple ethical brands (like Trades of Hope!) or products at a time or choose one area of your shopping to slowly change for the better.
2. We can shop brands that are conscious.
By purchasing from brands that have humanity, equality, and the environment in mind (even if you pay a little bit more), enables companies to have more job positions for women and men around the world. As a founder of Trades of Hope, I can tell you firsthand how the upward growth of our company directly correlates to being able to help more and more people sustainably and long term. In addition to our company that sells fashion accessories and home décor, there are plenty of companies that sell fair trade, ethically made skin care, make up, clothes, and household products. Spend some time on Google and find brands that fit with you.
3. We can buy less stuff and buy more of what truly brings us joy.
I recently made a lifestyle change by buying less that I might only wear for a short period of time, buying pieces on a whim because I thought I might like it. I started asking myself, “Does this really bring me joy? Or am I just buying it because so-and-so had something similar or because it will make people perceive me a certain way?” Keeping pieces that are better quality and that you are truly excited about longer will also lessen the demand for retailers that don’t have humanity’s wellness at heart. If you do want to let something go, bring it to a thrift store so someone else can get their clothes from your closet, again, lowering the demand of sweatshops.
It’s time to start wearing what we believe.
It would be so easy to wear accessories everyone else is wearing, pieces that can be easily found at every surrounding store. But everything we buy was made by someone, a person with a heart and family and dreams, Ismaella. Trades of Hope creates a marketplace of accessories made by artisans in 16 countries who are now earning a safe, sustainable incomes for the first time.
This is what I believe in.
Poverty ending. Hearts hoping. People rising. Nations healing.
What do you believe in?
No. 01 - Colour Pop Ultra Blotted Lip
This lip formula is light, kiss-proof, and stays on all day! Unlike other stains or mattes, the Ultra Blotted Lip is extremely light weight. I don't usually wear make up to the beach, but I love wearing a pop of color on my lips (as long as I know it won't smear in the heat!). I got some really fun shades to wear out under the sun. All 3 of the shades I got are pictured here, from left to right: Zuma (a more neutral, maroon/brown/red), Double Scoop (orange-y + very in style this summer), and Out of Beach (a really bright red/orange, also trending for this summer).
No. 02 - Accessories from Trades of Hope's NEW Summer Line
Jewelry that you can throw on fast, that makes a substantial contribution to your outfit is so important amidst the whirlwind of fun for Summer. As a co-founder of Trades of Hope, obviously I love our pieces. But I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't share our NEW Summer Line with you! It just released today (yay!), and there are statement and everyday pieces of jewelry, accessories, and home decor. Pictured, left to right: the Copper Hammered Studs (easy to throw on to pick up your outfit), the Indu Tassel Necklace (my favorite in this line, the tassel is removable, giving you 2 necklaces for the price of one!), the Chandra Earrings (statement earrings that are so light, you'll forget they are on!). All of our pieces are ethically made by artisans around the world rising out of poverty through sustainable business and job creation!
No. 03 - St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub
In the bright sunny days of summer, loving our skin is all the more important! I use this scrub all year round, but am so thankful for it during the hot, sometimes sweltering days! If I am breaking out at night, I use this scrub, and in the morning, my skin is clear! Having dealt with skin issues my whole life, I am not over exaggerating. If you want to love your skin more, grab this! I pick it up at Publix while I'm grocery shopping, but it's sold almost everywhere.
No. 04 - A Go-To Hat to Make Your Crazy Hair Look "On Purpose"
Whether it's a ball cap, a wide-rimmed sun hat, or a fedora (are those still cool?), you'll want a trusty hat when your hair is the last thing you want to focus on. I just got this Washington Nationals hat in honor of my recent announcement that I'm moving to D.C. in the fall. Getting my money's worth is not going to be a problem!
No. 05 - A "Throw It All In There" Bag
Little crossbody bags and backpacks are great while on the adventure, but while on the journey or on the run or on the way to the beach, having an over-sized tote will be a God-send. Get one you love and one you'll be okay giving a little wear-and-tear. You should be having too much fun to worry about your bag holding up for you. This Dasah Tote from Trades of Hope (ethically made by artisans rising out of poverty in Bangladesh) is so sturdy and will fit anything you could possibly want while on your summer excursions!
I shared on Instagram that I had big news, and I'm excited that I can finally share:
I'm moving to Washington D.C. this summer!
I am so blessed and thankful for this next season, but in the name of true transparency, I must admit that the journey I took to get to this decision alone has grown me so much. I have been stretched and molded by choosing a path that is exciting, but hard. I have decided to move to D.C. and then decided against it 9 times in the last six months, back and forth and back and forth, solely out of fear.
And I must say, I have begun to love the sound of my voice saying "yes" to what is frightening to me but good for me, to what is difficult but right.
The journey started almost a year ago. It was August 2016, and I was surrounded by people my age beginning new adventures. I knew people who were living overseas, chasing pipe dreams, starting law school, and randomly picking places on a map and moving there simply because they thought they liked the city. You know why they did these things? Because they could. Because it ignited a fire of excitement in them, and it felt right.
My favorite people are those who seem to have lived 5 lives by the time they're 30.
I want to be one of those people.
So, it was August 2016, and I was sitting in my mom's office telling her about the people living in England and getting educational experiences and hauling their guitars to new cities. I could feel myself going on and on, and the wonder in my voice was causing tension against the grounded-ness of my near future plans. Finally, she said, "Well, then you should do something like that!"
"Uh, no. No, I could never," was my initial reply. "Trades of Hope is here, I already have my dream job at 21, and I'll figure out the living situation." (I lived in Lakeland, FL and commuted multiple times a week to our Trades of Hope offices in Palm Coast, FL -- about 2 hours apart -- and knew the arrangement wasn't sustainable.)
But my mom kept exploring the idea out loud, saying things about how I'm so young, and this is probably the best time I can do something so spontaneous, and all of the work details could be figured out because life, a really full lifetime, is so much more than working.
I was scared. I'm a planner who likes to pretend that she's in control and have comforting surroundings. I have never been a fan of change. However, through life experiences, that horrified fear has evolved into a distaste that has honesty felt the goodness that comes from shifting seasons. It has evolved so much so that I decided to bring a really big life change upon myself, even though I was (and am) terrified. I determined that I was just going to do it, even if I had to do it afraid.
From there I started dreaming: I could live pretty easily in Europe with my Dutch passport, or some mission work abroad would be so eye-open-- No, there's no way Trades of Hope could be in your life if you're in a different country. Okay, America it is, then. But where? And what? That's when it came down to graduate school.
I graduated with my undergrad 2 years early, as a 20 year-old, in 2015. Ever since I started taking college classes at 14 years old and knew I would be ahead of the timeline society has put on us, I felt I have always had a golden ticket. As Gilmore Girls star, Lauren Graham, also ahead in the education timeline as a girl, described it in her book Talking as Fast as I Can, those years ahead of the curve fell like coins in your pocket that you rub between your fingers like a secret weapon until you are ready to cash them in for a reward at some point in adulthood.
Looking back on it now, the reward was being able to have this past year at Trades of Hope full time. For the last year I have been commuting multiple times a week for 2 hours, one way, to our offices to be a part of our amazing team. It has been so good for me and such a gift. And because I was "ahead" of the game by two years, I cashed in that golden ticket, those coins, to be able to focus on helping Trades of Hope (the company I co-founded and love so much) grow without splitting my time with school, got to have amazing professional experiences before starting my master's, and still get to go to grad school "on time" (whatever the heck that means). It was definitely worth exchanging my ticket and coins to have given what I was able to give to Trades of Hope this past year without school being in the way.
After deciding grad school was what I wanted, I started studying for the GRE. I was determined to get amazing scores, so I began my studying in September 2016 for the Fall 2017 school application season. I figured I already traded in my golden ticket, so a phenomenal GRE score was my ticket out of Florida now. I studied through September, October, November, December, January, and in February, took the test. I applied discipline and diligence to studying for this exam like I never have before. (This is another area in which I saw growth for me.) I bought books, hired an online tutor from Harvard, read more for fun, ate a little better, and made sure I was going to bed at the same time every night (it helps to increase your memory, apparently).
Then, it was time to fill out applications. I completed applications for schools in New York, Boston, and, of course, Washington D.C. -- 5 different schools among the 3 cities. I have always dreamed of a metropolitan experience and decided this was the opportunity. After receiving only acceptance letters, it was just a matter of choosing my favorite city.
I was in D.C. last month and, despite my fears, knew it was the perfect city for me. Beautiful, diverse, cultural, passionate, and not too big -- no where else in the United States has ever spoken to me so gently, so powerfully, so personally. Within Washington, I received admission offers from American University and George Washington University. I am so excited to share that, this August, I will begin working on my Master's Degree in Public Relations at American University. I will be going to school part time so that I can continue pouring myself into Trades of Hope!
If you are thinking about reaching for a dream that feels impossible, let me tell you, if I found a way to move to Washington D.C. despite my personal and professional ties in Florida, your dreams are possible as well. A year ago, I never would have thought this was an option for me. The reality now is freeing and exciting, but also really scary.
I'm probably going to be afraid for a while, even after I get settled into my new home. But I'm going to do this move afraid. Sometimes choosing what is right is choosing to do it afraid, and that's more than okay. There are certain situations in which fear can be eradicated, and I'm a fan of those circumstances. But sometimes, fear stays. And that's when you start talking to it, to fear. Or at least you should, because it works:
"Fear, I understand you have a job, and you're just trying to do your job. We've all gotta pay the bills. So, you can come along on this adventure. However, you're staying in the back seat. I'm the human here, so I'm the only one who will be calling the shots. You can't back-seat-drive; you can't give directions; you can't even touch the aux cord. But you can come along and give your short-lived warnings. But the front is reserved for logic, trust, and thankfulness, and your seat in the back doesn't crowd them out of the car. I'm the one in control."
Fear is good. Its existence does not permit it to take control. You take control, breathe your dreams into reality, and create the life you actually want to live. Use it to empower people, to make the world more beautiful, to build something awe-inspiring, to create something meaningful. You will not regret saying "yes," even if you say it afraid.
A few weeks ago, I announced on my Instagram that I was working on a blog post about yoga and about my experience as a group fitness instructor. Many of you lovely hearts sent in questions for me to answer here! I filtered through all the questions (there were too many to all answer here, but if I couldn't fit them in this post, I wrote you back personally) and combined some questions to answer below. But first, a little bit of my story:
In 2015, I found myself in a place needing healing. I had just graduated from college and life was not looking the way I had always planned. (The year after college is a confusing one for most, a fact that "they" don't prepare you for.) I was in a place of re-learning everything: who I was, what I wanted, what I believed, and where I was going. I needed to heal from brokenness, and I planned to do so in the most efficient manner. (Finding efficiency is a common theme in my life -- oops.) I did everything "they" (actually do) tell you to do: I went to therapy, got a puppy, journaled, and started working out regularly.
Getting to the gym consistently has always been an issue for me. The only physical activity that retained my interest was yoga. I loved how it made my body look, how it enhanced my mind, and how it lifted my heart. I spent the summer after graduation practicing yoga on my own or with friends, and after a couple months had the thought, "Maybe I want to be certified in this someday."
That September, I met with my friend Kirstin who had just opened her women's fitness studio, The Balance Culture, in my town. As we were talking, I mentioned that I had thought about becoming a yoga instructor someday. She encouraged me to come to a certification class they were having at the studio, and I thought she was crazy!
As I mentioned, I was not a gym person. I couldn't specify any muscle groups, didn't know what was safe or unsafe in working out, and had just started becoming proficient in my yoga poses.
But the certification process was so educational, to preparing, and so easy! (More on that later.)
By November 2015, I was certified by AFAA as a Group Fitness Instructor with training in yoga. (This means I'm certified to instruct any class like kickboxing, barre, or pilates in a group class setting.) My dream became a reality so quickly! And it was one of the best things I have ever achieved. If you are considering becoming certified in any fitness, I definitely recommend pursing it!
What is the certification process like?
As I said, I was certified through AFAA, and it was very easy! For a girl who was not really into fitness at all (thanks, high metabolism!), I became a fitness professional quickly. I started studying slowly in September and took the test in mid-November (all the while being in a grad program and working with Trades of Hope). I got to study in a group of women at the studio, and that honestly was a game changer. The testing took one afternoon, all in one sitting. There was a written test and a physical test, which did not take a high amount of endurance (says the girl who wasn't into fitness!). Trust me, if 2015 me could do it, anyone can do it!
Why do you like yoga so much?
I love what yoga does to my body. I feel strong, lean, and flexible. I'm not looking to have too much muscle on me as that's not really the look I'm gong for personally. What I get from yoga is perfect. I also love what it does for my mind. Anxiety has been something I have had to learn to manage, and yoga empowered me a lot in controlling it. The concentrated energy and focus yoga requires allows one to center in and think about what is going on in that single moment. Anxiety is dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, and yoga demands all attention to be brought to the present. The mental break is relieving and has equipped me to remain present throughout most of my day to day.
What do you emphasis the most in your classes?
When I'm instructing, I always talk about listening "to your own body." We are all on our own journeys, and the only way to progress in those journeys is to focus on what we need, not on those around us. I believe in and live by this in every area of life.
What has been an unexpected gift from yoga?
Because I teach in a women's studio, I have absolutely loved the friendships I have gained through this. I love my fellow instructors and the ladies who attend my classes. I spent a lot of time with them out of the studio, and they have blessed my life tremendously in so many areas!
How much did it cost be be certified?
Being certified through AFAA, the most prestigious and recognized organization, I paid about $300.
Where do you find the training?
Thankfully, I studied for my certification at my studio with a group of women who would be certified with me on the same day. So we trained and studied together in our studio every week. But certifications occur regularly in major cities, so I would google one for training near you. I received a study guide to navigate through what I needed to learn.
Yoga and becoming a Group Fitness Instructor was a big part of my healing and coming into a fuller version of who I am. If it is something you are even wondering about, I believe it is absolutely worth pursuing. There is only fun and health ahead!
If you have anymore questions, feel free to comment them below!
My answer to the commonly asked question, “What do you do?” often provokes more questions or confusion from the asker. To be fair, what I do is unique, and to set the record straight (a record of which I am very proud and a record that is tons and tons of fun), this, my friends, is my answer.
What do you do?
I am the Co-Founder and VP of Marketing of Trades of Hope, a fair trade company that sells ethically crafted fashion accessories and home décor made by artisans all around the world to create sustainable business and job opportunities to end the cycle of poverty. These products are sold online through our website and socially sold through Compassionate Entrepreneurs. You know what’s really cool? Because they are creating a market for our artisans’ products, our Compassionate Entrepreneurs earn a commission of off their sales. This means that our artisans and Compassionate Entrepreneurs are in a dignified partnership, both needing each other equally to earn an income. Neither of them are superior or inferior due to race, gender, or financial status. How beautiful.
I co-founded Trades of Hope in 2010 with three other amazing women who won’t allow for the heartbreaking realities millions face every day to endure. We believe that sustainable business is what will end poverty in lives, communities, and countries around the world.
When I was 5 years old, my family founded an orphanage and nonprofit organization in Haiti. After Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, all of the children in the orphanage were evacuated and placed with families in the United States for adoption immediately. That offered an empty orphanage and an opportunity to reevaluate. The community’s poverty around the orphanage had not changed during the time of our work there. Yes, children were adopted out of the situation, but there was no long-term solution to the poverty of everyone left behind.
My mom started learning about micro-loans and sustainable business, and through her learning I became aware of new and innovative ways to help people out of desperate situations, ways that actually helped to heal poverty, not just cover it with a temporary band aid.
This is when Trades of Hope was born.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese Proverb
All around the world, different countries home talented, intelligent, creative people who don’t want charity. They don’t want to depend on another person. They don’t want a hand out that will quickly run dry. They don’t want to wait powerlessly and remain passive in their lives.
They want an opportunity. They want an opportunity to show people their craft. They want an opportunity to change their own circumstances, feed their own children, reach for their own dreams. And when you give a woman that opportunity, she shines! According to CARE Australia, when you empower one women out of poverty, she takes 4 more people with her.
We empower her to be the hero of her own story.
Our artisans work in 16 different countries around the world, as far as Thailand and the Philippines to as close as Costa Rica and even in the U.S. itself! These are women and men who are earning a living wage so that they can support their families, thrive in their communities, and make their dreams a reality. (FAQ: How much of a product sale goes back to the artisans? Answer: Goes back? The artisan has ALREADY been paid 100% of the asking price before their product is released to our customers! This is amazing for them and so unique! Our artisans are our peers and business partners, so nothing “goes back,” as they have already been paid in full before a customer makes a purchase. Because empowering our artisans is our sole focus, if we don’t sell a product, that is a financial ramification we take on ourselves.)
I love my job so much.
As a Co-Founder, I get to dream up new ways to grow Trades of Hope on a daily basis. I also get to do things like help decide what beautiful products will be released in which lines! (I excitedly always want every piece to be released NOW for you all to see, but we typically plan a year and a half out.) I get to collaborate with the other founders on how to lead our office of Home Team members and how to help our Compassionate Entrepreneurs. But I would say my two favorite things about my job are 1) When I travel around the world to meet our artisans and experience their culture and 2) When I get to speak publicly about how I know sustainable business is alleviating pain and will end poverty. I get to travel the U.S. multiple times a year to speak on university campuses, in leadership forums, in interviews, and at large events with our Compassionate Entrepreneurs (we currently have over 4,500 and growing rapidly!). I love public speaking, sustainable business, and cultivating relationships, so it’s no surprise I enjoy it all so much.
As the Vice President of Marketing, I get to do a myriad of creative, colorful, strategic things such as leading an amazingly talented and big-hearted team of creatives and strategists, branding our company and branding each line release (we have three every year), planning and executing our catalog photoshoots, being the creative editor of our catalogs and business collateral, and strategizing new ways to bring Trades of Hope to passionate, purposeful, world-changing people just like you!
This is what I do.
It is my dream job. More than that, it’s my so-perfect-I-didn’t-know-how-to-dream-for-this-dream-job. When I was growing up I wanted to be a spy (to help people like Kim Possible), then a fashion designer, then a teacher, then a writer – and I feel like I am all of those things now, at the same time, but in such an amazingly purposeful way.
I went to Haiti and saw poverty for the first time when I was 8 years old. I spent my childhood struggling in a vigorous pull between my comfortable home in the States and the responsibility I felt after seeing what I saw abroad and wanting to be on the ground there to help. I felt so misplaced, and I was restless and helpless to be there for my friends and their loved ones. Trades of Hope has been the answer: being able to help those who are in desperate circumstances around the world, straight from my home in the middle of my daily routines.
If you have felt that restless helplessness, there are three ways you can get involved:
Thank you for your sweet time and interest! Sustainable business is what will empower people out of poverty and one day positively alter the economies of countries around the world!
At Trades of Hope, we wear what we believe. Poverty ending. Hearts hoping. People rising. Nations healing.
What do you believe in?
Threw together some of my video footage from my trip to Iceland to make this video for you all! If you're interested in Iceland or planning a trip, check out this post for photography and details about what I did!
With relentless ambition + passion I live intentionally to take my dreams from plans to reality + empower other women to do the same. I'm a Trades of Hope founder, public speaker, and designer living in Washington, D.C. When I'm not following fashion trends, re-heating thai food left overs, or playing with my matching redhead pup, I'm offering up fashion shortcuts, life lessons I'm learning, and free wallpapers to remind you of how much you've got this.