Starting week two of Dressember and my little Berry’s first curse word all at the same time! It’s a bunch but don’t worry, Berry has been told why that word is bad and I have had the time of my life wearing a sparkling pink bow tie. This week we are starting off with a wonderful women named Shelby. She is a hard worker, an advocate for women, and a Dressember Veteran.
Mark: Hello Shelby! I hope you are excited for the new season of dresses! Can you tell me a little about what your company does?
Shelby: Hello! Trades of Hope was started in September 2010. I love the heart of this company — empowering women to rise up out of sweatshops and human trafficking. After receiving a gift from my best friend in a April 2014, I went to a party next month and was moved from the experience. The TOH Compassionate Entrepreneur Partner at the party told stories about the artisan partners she had connected with and their inspiring stories.
I joined in March 2015. As a TOH Partner, I am a storyteller. By telling the stories behind our collection, I encourage people to shop fair trade from our talented artisan partners. I have never felt like I am selling, I just brag about the beauty they make and their strength and resilience. I tell the story about how when people buy these items pieces, lives are changed. We have artisan groups from 16 countries, including the USA (Nashville and LA) in our portfolio and our shipping team is made up of adults with disabilities. We will be unveiling new artisan partners in the DR in our spring catalog in mid-January 2020. Our Artisan groups that specifically work with women coming out of trafficking include: Nepal, the Dominican Republic and the USA (Nashville and LA).
Our artisan partners around the world report they make 3 to 6 times more by selling through Trades of Hope, than in their own. TOH is able to provide supports that help to protect our artisan partners’ profit margin — software, websites, marketing team (me!), etc. TOH pays our Artisan Partners 100% their full asking price & as a member of the FairTradeFederation.org, we are committed to our artisan partners earning a fair and living wage in a dignified, safe and sustainable job.
In short, we are all about promoting shopping with the purpose to empower women. Discover MORE HOPE here:
Mark: What do you like about Dressember?
I love the mission and passion! Trades of Hope is once again partnering with Dressember because we have similar goals. Dressember’s mission is to help women get out of sex trade and labor trafficking. Trades of Hope works further on by providing long-term jobs that are rooted in dignity, sustainability and a fair/living wage. Our artisan partners who were rescued out of trafficking are provided with restorative therapy, literacy courses, financial literacy, housing, retirement programs, etc. Together there are so many ways to help people and connect with people. The support of women to RISE UP is one of my favorite parts of Dressember!
What I also like is that Dressember gives the opportunity to discuss the issue of trafficking without having to buy a specific product but still gives you the opportunity to do so, if you would want to. I especially like to pair Trades of Hope pieces made by trafficking survivors with my Dressember ensembles.
Mark: What advice do you have for first time Dressember participants?
Shelby: Go to local thrift to fund dresses! You can find cute, inexpensive repurposed pieces. Swap dress with friends, it saves everyone some money. Last year one of my friends wore the same dress every day for the entire month! Dressember is a great way to champion women to have a better life.
Give incentives to your Dressember donors. I promised to wear my wedding dress for a day when I met my goal. I met goal and dressed in my wedding dress for a full day, the people around me were really supportive. I love the conversation that wearing dresses everyday start, too. You can change up your posts by posting information about the National Human Trafficking Hotline for people to call when they think bad stuff is happening. You can have educational posts as well as your outfit posts. Be thoughtful, have fun, and don’t feel like you have to be fussy just because a dress is involved. Wearing a dress doesn’t mean you have to be all dolled up to rock the month!
Thank you Shelby! I hope week two treats everyone well! I hope that you can find it in your heart to donate! Thank you everyone!
Please donate here: https://www.dressember2019.org/fundraiser/mayamark-goldstein
Mark Oliver Wizard Goldstein