Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How is the money I am spending on your products helping women?
Hope For Women sources its goods only from women artisans. This is a conscious choice since we feel that when a woman’s life is improved and she has more opportunities, it empowers her, her family and the entire community. Many women tell us that their work with Hope For Women has given them confidence and a new found voice in their community.
The income the women get from their work leads to better living conditions, better health and nutrition, and opportunities for schooling for their children. Women have the opportunity to earn 3-5 times the government established minimum wage - a significant difference.
Question: How do you make certain that the women are getting a good wage for their work?
Hope For Women works directly with community development groups who train and support the women who craft our products. We have Hope for Women field representatives working directly with these groups and this partnership ensures that the women receive a fair and livable wage for their efforts, and that the money goes directly to them. Our representatives pay the women in advance for their hand-crafted products, ensuring timely and guaranteed payment for their work. This is tremendously important to the women since most typical companies pay for product 30 to 90 days after it has been delivered, which denies the women the ability to utilize the funds and leverage them for more opportunities.
In addition, women are generally paid considerably less than men for comparable work. Hope For Women works to create a wage that is equal to a man’s wage to help bridge the gap.
Question: How are you supporting the women’s groups you partner with?
All of the women we work with tell us that the greatest thing we can give them is stability in their lives. In an effort to do so, our model is to make long term relationships with the women’s groups we work with so we can best understand their needs and help meet them. Our business strategy is to have a line of high-volume products that will provide the women with continuous and stable employment. It is not helpful to them to have “feast or famine” production where orders are few and far between. Instead we are aiming for continuous, monthly orders that will provide sustainable incomes for the women.
In addition, we work with the women’s groups on product development and provide training, technical assistance and direction for meeting US market standards.
Question: What is the mission of Hope For Women?
Hope for Women brings premium quality, fair trade products created by women artisans to the mainstream market. We are a socially responsible organization committed to providing sustainable employment for economically disadvantaged women worldwide.
Question: How do you guarantee that the women who make Hope For Women products are treated well and will really benefit?
Before we commit to working with any women’s group Hope For Women goes through a series of steps to ensure that our partnership will lead to tangible and measurable benefits for the women who make our products. We only partner with established local women's groups and co-operatives that are committed to improving the lives of the women and their communities. Hope For Women has field representatives working directly with these groups to ensure that they are meeting our fair trade standards.
Question: Are Hope For Women products environmentally friendly?
We assess each Hope For Women product in terms of raw materials and production process for meeting standards of environmental sustainability. For more details, see our Commitment to the Environment section.
Question: What materials are your notecards made out of?
The Hope For Women India note cards are made using handmade "tree-free" paper, and the insert and envelope are made from handmade recycled paper (we are working to have our El Salvador cards made from 100% recycled paper too). Real flowers and ferns are dried and then glued on to the paper under the creative direction of the woman artist. The flowers and ferns are not treated with any chemicals but their natural beauty will last for years if kept away from moisture and direct sunlight.
Question: Will Hope For Women be offering different products besides the notecards?
Question: Who started Hope For Women? And Why?
Hope For Women was founded in Burlington, Vermont by Evan Goldsmith and David Goldsmith – a father/son team. Evan is the President of Hope For Women and his experiences working with women’s groups in India dating back to 1993 on income generation projects are the foundation of the organization. He is driven to help create sustainable jobs for the women HFW partners with by working within a business model that gives great benefits back to the women crafting the products. David is the Chairman of Hope For Women and brings 40+ years of business experience to the organization. He is motivated to successfully integrate fair trade products into the mainstream market in order to create a business model that will provide the greatest stability to the women over the long term and therefore provide the highest benefit to the women partners.
Question: Hope For Women is doing great work! How do you spread the word?
We hope people will come back to purchase Hope For Women products again and again based on the high quality of the items we bring to you. It is very important though for us to share with you who is making the product and how it is impacting a woman’s life. Each Hope For Women product has our social mission on the packaging as well as on the product, so that people can see first hand that they are buying a product that supports women and fair trade. In addition, we have detailed information on our website where you can learn more about our women artisans, product details and our fair trade principles.
Question: What if I know about a women’s group that can benefit from partnering with Hope For Women?
Please tell us! Use our Suggest a Product web form to give us all their information so we can contact them directly. We only work with women producers and with groups that meet our fair trade standards, so please keep that in mind.
Question: What if I have a specific question about the groups that Hope For Women works with?
We always enjoy hearing from you – so ask away using our Contact Us web form and someone from the Hope For Women team will be in touch with you.