Tag Archives: fair trade

Coffee Date

Happy July!

This summer is flying by for me—more so than normal, I think, since I’ve had a kiddo! I’m sure the same is true for you. So before summer leaves us completely (sob), I thought it would be fun to have a quick catch-up session!

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you:

That my husband and I just got back from Hawaii. We left our four-month-old daughter with my parents, which was hard to do, but I think it was the right decision. We missed her like crazy, but she loved her time with her grandparents!

Hawaii was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. We started in Maui and ended up in Oahu. The sunsets and scenery were unreal:


Hawaii8(The fresh juices and ALL THE FOOD were pretty unreal, too!)

We absolutely loved our time in Hawaii and can’t wait to go back sometime. It’s such a relaxed, friendly place and I would recommend it to anyone.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you:

About an awesome company you will love just as much as I do! This Bar Saves Lives has a fantastic mission: for each box of granola bars sold, they donate a live-saving packet of food to a child in need. Recently, they came out with a kids’ line of gluten-free, non-GMO bars that are sold exclusively in Target. Buy a box, snap a photo of you (and your kid if you have one!) with the bars and post it on social media with the hashtag #thiskidsaveslives, and they will send you a free box of bars! Pretty cool, right?

MeandGrace(Don’t worry, I’m not feeding her the granola bars, even though her little rolls may suggest I am. #thiskidhasthunderthighs)

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you:

Nepal is still in a state of devastation after the earthquake in April. A great way to support artisans in Nepal and show our support is to buy one of our best-selling felt birdhouses (back in stock)! These fair trade wool felted birdhouses are made with sustainably harvested materials near Kathmandu, Nepal.

Wherever you are today, hope you’re enjoying your own (potentially iced!) coffee and a lovely summer day!



Our Reason for Being


Happy Friday to you!

Today I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about the vision behind Seven Hopes United and why we are passionate about the fair trade industry. We’re based in sunny San Diego, but we’re an online business spanning the whole globe!

When you set out to shop, you may not normally think of ways your spending money could impact the world for good. But—what if you could help end poverty in the world by shopping? Seven Hopes United believes that consumers have the power to make a difference by supporting sustainable and fair business practices in their everyday purchases.

Our dream is to help empower and enrich the lives of communities worldwide by providing a means to a living wage for thousands of disadvantaged artisans and their families.

We specialize in marketing stylish, handmade, fair trade and eco-friendly gifts from around the world. Your purchase of fair trade products ensures that our artisans are paid a living wage for their work, working conditions are safe, and no children are exploited. We are committed to promoting a sustainable lifestyle. We strive to source products that use recycled and natural materials through a traditional handmade process.

Each product is hand-picked by our buyers with our conscientious customers in mind. Our products are sourced from small-scale artisans who are passionate about quality design. Our gifts are curated because they either make us laugh, or touch our hearts.

Our Name

The inspiration for our name, Seven Hopes United, comes from hope. The 7 of Seven Hopes United, represents the seven continents of the world. The idea of Seven Hopes United is that as consumers we would recognize how our purchases affect people of the world.

Without fair trade, producers of disadvantaged nations work for minimal wages and are unable to provide basic human needs for their families. Our hope, as Seven Hopes United, is that we would unite as one nation to take on our mission of creating a globally conscious fair trade market that enriches the lives of communities worldwide.

Our Logo

Our logo represents the villages we are able to support through Seven Hopes United. The houses reflect the style of homes in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, where the idea for Seven Hopes United was born. The colors represent the hope of a bright future for disadvantaged producers and their families through your patronage.

Why is Fair Trade Important?

As consumers demand more and more cheap consumer goods, more factories are being built in developing countries to produce those goods. As we all know, many of the products we use every day are produced under poor working conditions in China. Due to the lack of opportunities in rural villages of China or other parts of the developing world, many people have left their small, traditional communities to move to large cities or factory towns in search of this kind of work. A plethora of problems stem from this migration of people to cities for factory work:

  • Often these workers are not fairly compensated for their labor, and are unable to support their families
  • Workers often face dangerous working conditions, long hours, and few or no days off to rest
  • When work is scarce or wages are low, women are often coerced or forced into the sex trade, and become victims of human trafficking

How Fair Trade Can Help

Seven Hopes United supports a trading partnership based on the guiding principles of Fair Trade. Fair Trade supports sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers by ensuring that the artisans making the products are paid living wages.

At Seven Hopes United, we believe that above all else, our business should be based on respect:

  • Respectful of ourselves and our own personal commitment to integrity.
  • Respectful of basic human rights and the dignity and worth of all people.
  • Respectful to our environment by reducing our carbon footprint, and promoting a sustainable lifestyle.
  • Respectful of our commitment to invest in disadvantaged communities, and provide a living wage to our employees and producers.

Why We Support Local Artists

Seven Hopes United primarily offers fair trade merchandise, but we also feature products made by local artisans. How does this fit into our philosophy?

Our mission is to empower communities around the world, including communities here in the U.S. as well as in developing countries. We are Seven Hopes United, 7 continents united by the hope of fair wages, working conditions, and a prosperous future for our families. When asking a mother from any part of the world what she wishes most for her children, the answer may come in many different forms of language, but they will all say the same thing. She wishes for an education for her children, that they will be healthy, and go on to live happy and successful lives.

Our local artisan pieces are chosen with a purpose. Every product and artisan has a story – perhaps their craft was learned from their mother, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother. Or maybe the artist was chosen because they are devoted to using recycled materials in their products. Whatever the story may be, each product is made by hand, by real people, and your purchases help support them in their craft.

Your Impact

By shopping at Seven Hopes United, you become an essential piece in enriching the lives of thousands of artisans and their families worldwide. Every purchase through Seven Hopes United induces change – here’s how:

  • Provides economic stability and a living wage for disadvantaged producers throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East
  • Provides work for victims of human trafficking in India, Cambodia, and Bangladesh
  • Provides healthcare, school fees, and community buildings to weavers in Southern Sudan
  • Protects sea turtles on beaches near Kenya’s Kiunga Marine National Reserve
  • Supports orphanged Rwandan youth affected by AIDS & genocide
  • and more…

Our Recycling Program

Seven Hopes United is committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Because of this, we purchase as little packaging materials as possible; we reuse almost all packaging material that is shipped to us. So when you receive a package from us, please do not expect a brand new cardboard box. Instead, expect a re-used box. And if you see styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap inside, know that we are simply reusing them and doing our best to keep this material from entering the wastestream by recycling it.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit of our story today. If you want to learn more or find out about volunteer or job opportunities with us, feel free to reach out here! We would love to  hear from you!



Why Fair Trade?


If every American made just ONE Fair Trade purchase a year, it would lift ONE MILLION families out of poverty.

That really makes you think, doesn’t it? We hear the words “fair trade,” “ethical shopping,” and “social responsibility” a lot these days. But sometimes what they actually mean gets lost in the shuffle. Here’s a breakdown to help:

Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to create greater equity and partnership in the international trading system by:

•Creating opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers: Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation & sustainable development.

•Developing transparent and accountable working relationships: Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent & respectful.

•Building long-term trade relationships: Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence.

•Paying a fair and living wage in the local context: Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labor time, materials, sustainable growth & related factors.

•Providing healthy and safe working conditions within the local context: Fair Trade means a safe & healthy working environment free of forced labor.

•Ensuring the rights of children: Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education & play.

•Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices: Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

•Respecting cultural identity: Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive & equitable change.

•Promoting the principles of Fair Trade: Fair Trade encourages an understanding by all participants of their role in world trade.

What does fair trade mean?

The word “fair” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Fair Trade is about more than just paying a fair wage, it is based on trading partnerships that give reciprocal benefits and mutual respect. Wages paid to producers reflect the work they do, workers rights are upheld, and healthy and safe working conditions are enforced.

By approaching global trade as a relationship that has the ability to create change, Fair Trade offers exploited producers dignity, respect, and a means to a fair wage. Beyond providing a living wage to marginalized producers, revenues from fair trade cooperatives are invested in global communities to support development projects like clean water wells and clinics that are able to provide health care for thousands of families.

Fair Trade uses an ethical system of exchange to empower producers to create sustainable and positive change for their families. When we as consumers choose fair trade products over products produced in a market where workers are often exploited and left without resources to provides for their families, we are choosing to shop for change! When we choose products from Fair Trade Organizations, we can be assured that children’s school fees are paid; nutritional needs met; health care costs are covered; the poor – especially women – are empowered; the environmental impact of production, sourcing, and transport is mitigated to the fullest extent possible; and, so much more.

What are fair trade products?

Consumers can choose from a myriad of products, including fair trade jewelry, crafts, home decor, housewares, handbags, personal accessories, clothing, toys, and more. Fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate are also widely available, if not, ask your local grocer to carry fair trade certified products.

Do fair trade goods cost more than comparable non-fair trade goods?

Generally, fair trade goods do not cost more than other goods, because fair trade organizations work directly with producers – cutting out middlemen who raise the price along the way according to traditional trading practices. In the fair trade market, the cost to consumers typically remains the same while a higher percentage of the price is returned to the artisans who make each product.

Does fair trade make a difference?

In producer communities, schools are built, wells constructed, children attend school, and other signs clearly indicate that the income generated by fair trade sales positively resonates in a community. In intangible ways, one can note the impact of fair trade, as well. Cultural techniques are revived; women become valued members of their societies; alternative production methods preserve biodiversity; small and medium sized enterprises in the developing world increase their capacity. Through this and other evidence we know that lives have been positively changed, because of fair trade.

What can you do to support fair trade?

Shop fair trade, learn more, and spread the word. Individuals can support fair trade by educating their friends and family about the fair trade options available, by buying fair trade gifts, bringing fair trade products into their home, office, church, school or other group, by asking local stores to carry fair trade products, and much more.

Since 2000, fair trade sales and consumer awareness have increased tremendously, as the range of fair trade products have also expanded. In 2002, the first World Fair Trade Day was celebrated to heighten consumer awareness and to strengthen connections among fair traders and ethical consumers around the globe. In 2009, the Fair Trade Foundation reported that total fair trade sales passed $1.1 billion in the US alone.

While this is wonderful news, and we continue to see growth for US sales of fair trade, so much more needs to be done.

•According to the World Bank, an estimated 2.7 billion people in the world exist on less than $2/day.

•According to a 2000 US State Department report, 15,000 children aged 9 to 12, in the Ivory Coast alone, have been sold into forced labor on conventional cotton, coffee, and cocoa plantations.

•In addition, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture reported 284,000 children in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are working in hazardous tasks on conventional cocoa farms.

There are over 7.5 million individuals directly benefiting from Fair Trade production today, and we as consumers need to provide a voice for thousands of others that need our help. Please help us empower and protect marginalized producers around the globe by becoming a globally conscious shopper.

If every American made just ONE fair trade purchase a year, it would lift ONE million families out of poverty. It is because of the efforts of entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations, and people like you that we are able to make a difference. By choosing fair trade products, you are not only accessing beautiful handmade goods, you are making a difference in the lives of the people who grow and craft each product. Shop fair. Give Fair.

Fair Trade Links

For more information about Fair Trade and the principles we adhere to, please visit the following websites:

Fair Trade Federation
The Fair Trade Federation is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to Fair Trade.

Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA, formerly Transfair USA, is one of twenty members of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, and the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between US companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities.

Fair Trade Resource Network
Fair Trade Resource Network is an information hub designed to grow the fair trade movement.
Other fair trade friends, supporters and resources:

Green America
Green America is a national nonprofit consumer organization, promoting environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic justice through marketplace strategies including green living, responsible shopping, fair trade, green business, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible investing — for consumers, businesses, workers, investors, and everyone.

Partial to a modern aesthetic, it shares sustainable design, green news and solutions.

Mother Nature Network
MNN is the leading resource for daily environmental news, green commentary and simple steps to save money, stay healthy, and support the planet.

Global Exchange
Shows actions and how to accomplish change on such far ranging issues as curtailing sweatshop practices to improving the environment.

I hope this helps shed a little light on the fair trade movement and what it means for us!



May Day – International Workers’ Day

Many of us do not know or understand the true origins of May Day – International Workers’ Day. Just over 100 years ago, the working class struggled to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were harsh, and it was common to work 10 to 16 hours a day. For years, many people died and suffered horrible injuries in the workplace.

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. We must remember that people fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for.

May Day in Bangladesh on May 1, 2013.

Photo: Ghetty Images – International Worker’s Day Rally in Bangladesh on May 1, 2013.

May Day (Today) in:

One thousand factory workers and opposers to the Cambodia National Rescue Party gathered on the streets outside the Cambodian capital’s Freedom Park. These workers are fighting for a higher minimum wage and labor rights.

Around 50,000 workers intend to hold rallies in the Indonesian capital over the next two days and police have deployed nearly 20,000 officers to maintain order. Workers are fighting against stagnant incomes, poor retirement and health insurances and rising transportation and housing costs.

There are many other protests and rallies occurring right now all over the world. We must let the origins of May Day serve as a reminder – many lives were sacrificed so that we could have the 8-hour day, include Saturday as part of the weekend, as well as safe working conditions and child labor laws.

There are many workers in the developing world (like Phnom Penh, Jakarta, and many others) still fighting for these rights, and we must do our part to support them. Whether you vow to not shop at stores that purchase from sweatshop factories, or choose to support fair wages by shopping fair trade.

fair trade definition

Image: fortheloveofjustice.com

Companies like Seven Hopes United support artisan cooperatives that are Fair Trade Federation members. Fair Trade Federation members are held to a higher standard, insisting that workers be treated with dignity and respect, have safe working conditions, no child labor, and fair wages. There are many other fair trade principles that ensure the rights of workers and better their communities as well.
fair trade principle 1fair trade principle 2fair trade principle 3

We as consumers have the power to create change – we can demand better working conditions and fair wages just by purchasing fair trade products. It may seem like such a small gesture, but it makes a world of difference to the artisans, farmers, and their families. This is why we celebrate and remember May Day.

Side-by-Side: Seven Hopes United vs Tommy Bahama

If the livin’ is easy in the summertime, let’s pick out some easy fair trade products to go along with it! How about a fair trade/department store swap today? We’ll do a side-by-side comparison of Seven Hopes products vs one of my fave summer stores, Tommy Bahama! Here we’ve got very similar:


PicMonkey Collage 9

The two columns look a lot alike, right? Bright, relaxed and bohemian—which happen to be three of my favorite words when it comes to summer! Tommy Bahama embodies the spirit of sunny beach livin, but the price tag isn’t quite as sunny. So here I highlighted with pushpins our Seven Hopes items—ethically produced pieces that help out your wallet AND empower women and children in third-world countries!

Sometimes when you’re searching out fair trade products, what you find is more understated and simple. But not so with these beauties! And as each item is handmade, as opposed to mass produced, you get intricate detail and a beautiful uniqueness to every piece!

Click the links below to be transported to the Seven Hopes products above and to your own sunny fair trade paradise! :)