By John Bush
The Lima News, Ohio
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Trades of Hope” is a fair-trade certified company that partners with artisan groups in 16 countries to help impoverished women create better lives for themselves and their families.
When Bluffton resident Joanna Gratz decided to search the Internet for ways to help others, she had no idea it would lead to a life-changing mission that not only set the course for her own life, but for countless other women in the U.S. and abroad who are victims of sex trafficking, abuse and extreme poverty.
The stay-at-home mom is a compassionate entrepreneur with Trades of Hope, a fair-trade certified company that empowers women by providing them with sustainable business opportunities.
The organization partners with artisan groups in 16 countries to help these impoverished women create a better life for themselves and their families.
“Our artisans don’t lack ability; they lack opportunity,” Gratz said. “So Trades of Hope is giving them this opportunity to have their own businesses and be their own boss. It provides hope to these women, and when you have that, you feel like anything is possible.”
With partnerships in the U.S. and countries such as India, Haiti, Cambodia and more, Trades of Hope allows women to create and sell items they make with their own two hands. While they predominately sell jewelry items, their inventory also includes home decor, scarves and handbags, as well as other items for men and women.
Compassionate entrepreneurs then sell their items at home parties, online or during community events. Artisans set their own prices and are paid 100 percent of what they ask for up-front.
“Their income is not dependant on what I do,” Gratz said. “Really what I do is help spread the mission of Trades of Hope, share the products and share the artisans’ stories.”