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Is Trades of Hope a Scam?

Not a Charity/Non-Profit

The company is very upfront about this. However, they explain it as a motivation — women don’t want charity. Then, the company goes on to downplay profits. For all the language about helping and empowering women out of poverty, it is important to note that Trades of Hope is a for-profit company.

You can check out the company’s impact disclosures to learn more about how many artisans worked with the company. The personal stories are super impactful. Notably, there isn’t any concrete information about how much actual money gets into the hands of the artisans. It’s hard to tell what to think about this information without more context.

Condescending Savior Tone

In many places, the marketing is really unacceptable. Full stop.

For example, they play up the white savior angle.

“Over all, women in developing countries do not want charity. They want an opportunity. They want to feel the same pride we feel when they are able to take care of their families. And without an American women selling these products and raising awareness, our artisans would not have a sustainable income.”

If you or someone you know is considering selling Trades of Hope, be sure to read about these cultural phenomena and understand the damage this thinking does.

They sometimes refer to the artisan women from other countries in ways that are unbelievable.

“…in their natural environment.” Nope. Nope. Nope. Who talks like that about human beings?!

These are not respectful ways to talk about global partners in business. There’s no way around this, and no excuse for it.

Fair Trade… Federation?

There are a number of Fair Trade organizations that companies can be certified by or be members of. They all have different requirements, values, and goals. Trades of Hope is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. This shouldn’t be confused with other the Fair Trade Certification.

Some of America’s most popular and respected brands are Fair Trade Certified. Companies like, Patagonia, Athleta, and Kashi, have been Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA. Trades of Hope and their products do not have this certification.

Trades of Hope are instead members of the Fair Trade Federation. This organization is not affiliated with Fair Trade USA. Their values, requirements, and accountability are different. For example, Fair Trade Federation uses the same standards for food goods as well as handicrafts while Fair Trade Certification is specific to these different types. Fair Trade Federation is a membership rather than a certification. The requirements to join the Fair Trade Federation do not appear to be nearly as rigorous as those to be Fair Trade Certified.

Multi-Level Marketing

Trades of Hope is a multi-level marketing company part of the Direct Sales Association. The FTC commissioned a while ago that concluded more than 90% of people will lose money participating in MLM companies. That’s something to keep in mind when considering joining a company with a multi-level or network sales business model.

Another thing that’s really striking about Trades of Hope is that you cannot see the compensation plan online without joining. This is a red flag. It’s important to be able to evaluate the plan to be able to estimate costs, expenses, revenues, and determine if the opportunity is right for you.

Director Level Compassionate Entrepreneur Diagram

Based on the compensation plans we found, in order to reach the higher ranks with Trades of Hope you must recruit others to sell the products. This also requires those recruits to purchase starter packs and meet personal volume requirements. Sales commissions are “Compassionate Entrepreneurs” at lower ranks.

It is possible to earn money selling Trades of Hope. However, it is extremely difficult and unlikely to replace career level income. In order to comply with FTC regulations Trades of Hope should share how likely it is that you could earn “full time income” if someone is telling you that you can earn that much.

Recruiting tactics like talking about free vacations and quitting your job are scams. Ask the CE for real data to back up their claim.

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