Company Name: Trades of Hope
Do I Recommend Trades of Hope?
While you can make money with Trades of Hope, the company isn’t as powerful as it seems. It just ends up being another direct sales jewelry company with a slightly different angle. If you are passionate about fair trade then yes, Trades of Hope may be worth pursuing. But, if your focus is on income, you’d have more power with affiliate marketing.
What Products Does Trades of Hope Sell?
Trades of Hope is a jewelry company with a difference. The company focuses on supporting and empowering artisans from various parts of the world, including India, Uganda, Haiti and Costa Rica.
These artisans make the products themselves. Some of the produced items are handmade, while others are created using tools or sewing machines.
The idea is that Trades of Hope provides people with ways to earn money and to support their families. Customers are also provided with information about some of the individuals and families who create the products.
The end result is a selection of products that are handmade and actually help people. The individual pieces are also unusual, with the styles being partly based on the region where they were created.
Because the items are handmade, there will also be some variation. This makes each piece unique, which would be appealing to customers.
The pricing does vary depending on the product but many of the pieces are reasonable, such as $20 to $30 for many of the bracelets and for other products.
There are also some products that aren’t jewelry or accessories. Instead, they are items for the home. There are fewer of these, but they help to make the catalog more interesting.
Even though the prices vary, most items on offer are under $50. Honestly, that’s a pretty good outcome. You can find similar products cheaper in regular stores, of course, but those would be mass produced. For items that are handmade, the prices here are reasonable and are lower than many competing companies.
The combination of styles and pricing would make the products appealing. Many customers would be willing to pay a little more if the sales are helping to support other people. All of these areas are powerful from a sales perspective.
Even so, there are a couple of other things to consider.
The first is quality. These are handmade items, created using relatively simple tools. Some of the items even use paper beads or something similar.
The is the nature of the products and is unavoidable. Nevertheless, the quality will be less than what many conventional brands offer. For some customers, this difference in quality could be an issue.
It’s also worth remembering that Trades of Hope isn’t unique. There are many compassionate companies out there now and jewelry is a common product focus. For example, the MLM Threads Online follows the same approach with a similar sales pitch as well. There will even be physical stores in some areas that offer the same types of products.
The products from Trades of Hope are still appealing. The right audience would even love them. But, the presence of similar companies does increase competition and could be an issue in some situations.
Is Trades of Hope A Good Business Opportunity?
From a business perspective, Trades of Hope offers the chance to earn money through sales and through team building. When you first join as a ‘compassionate entrepreneur’, you earn 25% from sales, this can increase to 35% as you make progress with the company.
At least, that’s what the marketing suggests.
Oddly, the compensation plan says something different, with commission rates starting at 20%. This base rate remains consistent but bonuses for sales increase as you go. For example, from the second rank and beyond, you can earn between 2% and 5% in bonuses, which is probably based on your sales.
Of course, the main way to earn money isn’t through sales directly. Instead, the goal is to recruit and build a team. To promote this, Trades of Hope uses a rank-based system. Each new rank comes with additional requirements and various bonuses. The image below shows the requirements for the first four ranks and the process just gets more complicated from there.
Systems like this are powerful if you can make it far enough. The higher ranks offer many bonuses and these are related to the success of your team. If the people you recruit earn well, you can make considerable income from them.
But, be warned. The system is never as easy as it looks. Instead, you need to get quite high in the ranks to be successful. Most people never make that and many are barely profitable at all.
Selling The Products
Trades of Hope offers two main ways to make sales and these are both common. The first is through a party model. Here you are holding events where you showcase the products and teach people about where they come from.
The idea works well for sales and lets you pitch to a group of people all at the same time. The social pressure of events works in your favor too. Parties also let you show off the physical items, giving people the chance to try them on. That aspect will often increase sales, increasing the chance that people will get passionate about the items.
But, of course, parties have their downsides. They are time-consuming events and there’s no guarantee that you’ll make anything from them.
They can also cost, especially if you’re providing nibbles or prizes. The events also create pressure for you to purchase items. This happens because it’s easier to sell pieces if you have them physically. Many people will only want to buy something if they can hold it in their hand or see how it looks on them.
As a result, the more items you have, the higher your sales potential. This creates a pattern where distributors keep buying new items, often spending more than they’re earning. This style can mean you’re left with more jewelry than you know what to do with – as you’re not selling the items you buy.
The other method is through a replicated website.
Websites are powerful tools for making money. But, replicated websites don’t work so well. After all, they’re almost identical to one another. They’re never going rank well on search engines and you’re never going to get much interest.
Even if you could drive traffic to them through social media or something similar, the sites aren’t going to be powerful at getting people to buy. With enough energy and effort, you could potentially get these to convert. But, there is no indication that Trades of Hope offers the training you would need.
You do also need to pay for the site. This is free for the first month and then costs $13.95 per month. That cost is on the high end for this type of company.
If you do plan to be involved in Trades of Hope, having the website makes sense. This would be the most convenient way to make sales. Some people may prefer buying this way rather than coming to parties. Still, be aware that the site is fairly limited and you’ll have to do considerable marketing.
To stay active in the company, you just need one ‘commissionable order’ every six months. This just that you need to make one sale to someone else. This is an incredibly easy requirement to meet, especially as the order can be for any value.
If you don’t make any sales at all in a six-month period, then your account gets deactivated. But honestly, if your sales are that low, direct selling isn’t a good choice for you.
Another part of the site suggests that you need to make $150 sales every year. It’s not clear which of the two is true, although both are relatively simple goals to meet.
This is just to make commissions from sales. If you want to earn from your team as well, there is a monthly $300 personal volume requirement. This figure includes your own purchases and sales.
The jump in requirements is considerable. The company argues that this helps ensure distributors remain focused on training and sales, not just on recruitment.
Monthly requirements like this are challenging. They don’t make any allowances for how complex life is or how sales can change from month to month. In practice, you’ll find that you make more sales some months than others.
Even if you are very good at sales and have a decent customer base, you’ll probably find that you don’t hit the $300 in sales some months. Life may just get in the way.
You do still remain a distributor and you earn money from your sales. But, you lose income from your team for any month you go below the $300. How much you lose depends on your rank and how low your sales are that month.
This isn’t the end of the world – but it is something to seriously consider. After all, if you have a large and effective team, the income you lose could be substantial.
A Question Of Transparency
One odd thing about Trades of Hope is their transparency, or lack thereof. The company is focused on compassion and promoting the best outcomes for distributors and the artisans. Yet, Trades of Hope offers little direct information about their compensation plan.
This means potential distributors don’t know much when they get involved. Most of the information is there, including the points I discussed earlier. But, this is buried in the company’s Independent Contractor Agreement and many people would miss it.
This is a frustrating practice for any company. Making money with recruitment and teambuilding is a challenging process – but this is easier with some companies than with others. It’s reasonable to want to know exactly what’s involved before you sign up.
That aside, hiding critical information isn’t a good look. With such a strong focus on ethics, I would expect a company like Trades of Hope to be much more honest and open about their compensation plan.
I also noticed that the company contradicted itself in places. For example, the site talked about earning 25% to 35% on sales, yet the compensation plan starts at 20%. Likewise, the FAQ said you need just one sale every six months to stay active. But, the Independent Contractor Agreement states that you need to sell $150 in product per year.
These are both significant differences – and the pattern is very concerning.
The Underlying Concept
From a purely business perspective, Trades of Hope is debatable.
The products are interesting enough that you could make sales. Plus, jewelry is a popular industry and people are always looking for more items. This is also why industries like makeup and fashion continue to make sales, regardless of the economy.
But, there are countless jewelry companies out there and the items from Trades of Hope may be unusual, but they’re not revolutionary. This means you face stiff competition and the income model is average, at best.
Even so, Trades of Hope doesn’t promote itself just as a way to make money. The company focuses on people who are also wanting to help others and are passionate about fair trade.
For people in this position, the company makes much more sense. It’s easy to see how you could get passionate about the idea and this would help to make you a better salesperson. So, if you are truly interested in fair trade, the company could be worth considering. But, if that’s not the case, you’d be better to focus on something with more competitive products or greater income potential.
Trades of Hope has an interesting premise but that doesn’t make it a powerful way to make money. Instead, the concept is similar to countless other companies and you don’t have many advantages.
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.
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