by: Cinthya Rubio, Marketing and Communications Director @ Our Hands For Hope
It’s official… we are now on Roozt.com!!
At Roozt, every purchase makes a difference. All featured brands are fashion-forward companies that are making a positive impact in their community, environment, with their employees, or with humanity as a whole. Also Roozt provides a meal to an American in need for every new member who joins Roozt.com. Membership is absolutely free.
By: Alicia Fischer, Communications @ Our Hands For Hope
We are always striving to be the fairest we can be. What does that mean exactly? In the world of Fair Trade, it means having a product, a business, and a lifestyle that contribute to the success, improvement, and equal treatment to the lives of others.
For us, being fair means justly compensating the women in Peru who create our knits. It means creating and teaching a sustainable business model for each woman to improve upon and contribute to while positively affecting their community. It also means promoting and sharing other Fair Trade companies who are doing the same thing: creating sustainable businesses that are ethically sound, setting an example for the world in helping to improve disadvantaged areas.
With that, we would like to present TCHO.
TCHO is a luxury chocolate maker in San Francisco, California that obsesses over the pure, natural flavors in chocolate.. The factory and store are located at Pier 17 along the embarcadero, and while they call San Francisco their native home, their chocolate is from Ghana, Madagascar, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and — of course — Peru.
We had the opportunity to speak with them about the company, what Fair Trade means to TCHO, and a little more in depth about their TCHOSource program.
It is very uncommon in the chocolate business for cacao farmers and workers to be treated fairly. TCHO says that most farmers have never even tasted their own products! Instead, they harvest the beans and ship them off to their buyers without any say in the process from bean to chocolate. TCHO saw this and wanted to do things differently.
Intro TCHOSource: the way that TCHO does business with their suppliers to ensure the best possible product. This means working closely with the suppliers in each country to produce their flavor profiles as well as helping access other markets through improved product quality. TCHO didn’t just want to buy good beans; they wanted to help make the best ones.
“Fair Trade is definitely important in the cacao industry,” says Katie Gilmer, TCHOSource Manager who’s traveled to Peru and Ghana to meet with suppliers and make sure everyone’s happy. “There are so many terrible human rights abuses that’ve been documented in the industry. Fair trade is a good step moving forward against those abuses.”
Just like Our Hands for Hope, TCHO’s powerhouse suppliers are in Peru.
“Other than being a great cacao region, Peru’s economy is growing,” says Katie. “Part of it is that their government has been favorable to economic growth, they have the natural resources, and this entrepreneurial spirit in their people. Peruvians just have this drive on top of their already rich culture with food, colors, fabrics, etc.”
We agree with her there! Just like us with our knits, TCHO buys their beans directly from their country or origin, sourcing everything on their own and importing into the US. What is unique about them, however, is that they are establishing flavor labs where they source their beans. By doing this, TCHO works with the growers to do quality control throughout harvest.
“Once harvest is done there are no more adjustments you can make in processing to give the buyer what they’re looking for,” says Katie. “The flavor labs allows us to be more nimble in our cocoa production to get our optimal flavor profile. Then, we can have specific flavor profiles to differentiate quality levels for different customers. A big part of that is training people how to taste, and having them taste what they’ve made.”
TCHO is currently working to encourage other chocolate producers to use their flavor labs so that they’re producing the best product for their buyers.
“It may be more competition for us, “says Katie, “but it helps everyone in the end.”
Here’s to TCHO. A New American Chocolate company with not only a great product but who’s also serving a great purpose. Check them out at Pier 17 in San Francisco, and sign up for a free factory tour to really see what they’re all about.
TCHeers to TCHO!
By: Cinthya Rubio, Marketing Director @ Our Hands For Hope
Gala, age 50 from Trujillo, Peru was affected with polio as a child. This has left her with a life long, leg disability. She is a single mother with a 17 year old daughter, Michella. Despite her disability, Gala has always had a smile on her face and a very positive attitude, which she has gracefully passed on to her daughter.
Over the years, Gala’s health problems have increased, one of her kneecaps has made it more difficult for her to move around. The only way for her to relieve some of the pain is to have knee surgery, but with a very limited income she has had to put this procedure off.
Today, with the help of Our Hands for Hope she is part of a network of women that have the sole objective of working together and helping each other. Violeta, our Peruvian coordinator, sent word about Gala’s need for surgery and asked if we would be willing to increase one of our orders by just five items… The women had come together offering to hand knit the extra pieces and donate their earnings to cover the cost of Gala’s surgery. Together, the women have created beautiful alpaca knits and have raised enough money to pay for her surgery!
Here is a video that Gala’s family sent to us:
Gala has received the needed surgery and is recovering nicely. Gala’s story warms our heart, seeing how our knitting community came together to help her is priceless. But none of this would be possible without you. With your purchases, we are helping women help themselves.
Today begins the WWIN (Women’s Wear In Nevada) Fashion Mart in Las Vegas.
Looking forward to those new store orders to come rolling in.
Stop by and visit us at the Rio Hotel, in the Miranda room, booth M809.
Tell Ron the Rep and staff “Hi” for us!
Do you ever walk into a clothing store and wonder where your new blouse really came from? The tag may usually say from China, but who was the person creating it and ensuring every stitch and seam met up perfectly for you to wear?
At Our Hands for Hope, we’re on a mission – A mission for fashion, a mission for prosperity, and a mission for hope. We’re not just about the knits, but the people behind them. We believe in the power of helping others and how far that power can take us.
For the past three years, we’ve been working with some wonderful women in Peru to showcase their skill in alpaca knitwear, bringing trendy pieces to you and hope to them. These women are mothers, caretakers, and harbor a great skill. We’ve stepping in to create a sustainable, trendy product line that showcases their incredible talents and introduces them to the United States market, providing them and their families with opportunities not easily accessible outside of Western outlets.
Our home originated in the Napa Valley, but we’ve been expanding. We are now in California, Texas, and Colorado, and are looking to spread hope to new markets, telling our story to encourage women not only in Peru but the rest of the world.
So, here we are: Our Hands for Hope. We are diving into the fashion world with a purpose. This blog is our place to show you our travels, thoughts, and trends and to inspire you to lend a hand to the hopeful.
Together, we are changing lives one knit at a time.
Here’s a bit of history.
Over the last twenty years Peru has gone through some major cultural changes. Ten years removed from communism the country is still struggling to pull its people out of severe poverty. Jobs are being created but not quick enough.
One of the reasons I started my website is that I wanted a place for women to come together and dream. We women need to know that we don’t have to hang on to an old dream that has stopped nurturing us — that there is always time to start a new dream. This week’s story is about one woman who created a bucket list to fulfill her lifelong dreams and wound up creating jobs for over 60 women in Peru. -– Marlo, MarloThomas.com