Most business models go a little something like this:
A person sees a need or gap in an industry, creates a product to meet that need or gap, and finds a producer who is able to help them bring their product to the market.
We do things a little backward.
When we started Store of Hope, we wanted to create work for skilled artisans around the world who did't have a place to work. Our starting point was the producer, not the product. Instead of looking for needs or gaps in a certain industry, we began looking for needs and gaps in humanity. Our hearts settled on Nepal, and we began forming relationships with artisans there with whom we could begin creating products.
The people of Nepal have a strong tradition in working with Cashmere and are highly skilled in it. Because of this, producing Cashmere products seemed like a natural place to start and so we began working together to combine their skill and our designs. Working closely with small-scale producers also allows for a quality that is simply impossible to duplicate in mass production, and we know exactly how and where our products are made.
We don’t yet have Fair Trade certification on our own products (but if you are looking for some, check out the People Tree collection) – getting to that point requires a lot of paper work and building the company infrastructure of our producers in an entirely different way. But don't worry! Even though we don't have the certificate yet, we are implementing a lot of the requirements in our production such as fair working conditions, fair pay and freedom of speak to name a few. It’s going to take time and a whole lot of work for us to be able to use the Fair Trade certificate, but achieving this standard for the production is our dream and we are working towards it every day.