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Her Story: Anna Berardi of Trades of Hope

I could not be more excited to kick off From HerStory to Yours with a fellow Skimm’bassador (more info on that here) and Kappa Delta alum’s story about her work with an incredible organization called Trades of Hope. It’s a beautiful thing when passions and careers collide, and that is definitely the case for Anna Berardi. Oftentimes we find ourselves wondering if we can do bigger things through our work, and sometimes we settle on the fact that work is going to be what pays the bills and we’ll just have to figure out a way to weave our passions into our daily lives. Anna has found a way to make a career out of her passions, and I am thrilled to share it with you all today. But enough from me…

Let's start with a little bit about Anna Berardi.

Q. Where are you originally from, and where do you live now?

A. I’m a military brat, so I’m from all over, but I call Orlando, Florida home now. Moving around a lot gave me so many different experiences and perspectives that have very much influenced who I am today.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your family?

A. I’m a proud wife to my husband, John, of 12 years, and proud mother to my two daughters Lilly (7) and Emma (4). My husband and I love to travel and celebrate our honeymoon instead of our anniversaries! So, we are about to celebrate our 13th honeymoon!

Q. Who is your biggest inspiration?

A. Shelly Clay heads up one of Trades of Hope’s artisan groups. She is a true hero for humanity and someone I’d love to become a household name. A few years back, her family sought to adopt a child from Haiti and went to the adoption center as part of the process. As she learned about the child she would adopt, she found out that the child had parents who loved and wanted them. They simply could not afford to feed and clothe their child, so they had given them up in desperation. Shelly asked some more questions and then found out almost all the “orphans” in Haiti are not orphans at all. She decided that saving just one child from the cycle of poverty was not enough for her; she had to do something more. So, she moved her family to Haiti and started an artisan group there with the mission to provide jobs for Haitian women so they would be able to make a living wage. She is now employing hundreds of Haitians with the mission to keep families together and so one day no mother will have to make the heartbreaking decision to give up her child. Opportunity, not charity, is what impoverished countries like Haiti need to break the cycles of poverty. I’m so proud of Shelly for acting and setting off a ripple effect of change. Trades of Hope was this group’s first wholesale partner and their beautiful rolled paper beads are a bestseller.

Q. What is your favorite “me time” activity?

A. Reading! Just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I highly recommend them both.

Now let's hear about Trades of Hope.

Q. What is Trades of Hope?

A. Trades of Hope empowers women out of poverty through sustainable jobs by selling Fair Trades jewelry, scarves, bags and home decor. By creating jobs and sustainable, income-generating businesses, our artisans are able break the cycle of poverty, feed and take care of their families, and send their children to school. This is not a charity—this is an opportunity to help someone earn a living and also earn dignity and respect in their community.

Q. What inspired you to get involved with the organization?

A. When one woman rises out of poverty, she brings at least four people with her. That is a fact. I heard this and I heard about Shelly Clay creating jobs for women in Haiti. It was kind of a lightbulb moment and I realized this was a very smart approach to solving poverty. Use LOVE (mother, sister, auntie, daughter LOVE) to solve a beast of a problem like poverty. Women are powerful change agents and I thank Trades of Hope for opening my eyes to this strength. I also love how many of the products use repurposed materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Trades of Hope works to develop products with our artisans that are readily available materials so that it’s sustainable for their environment, as well.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your trip to Guatemala.

A.Trades of Hope offers Vision Trips to their Compassionate Entrepreneurs (CE). It’s a chance to see how our work directly impacts our artisans. My trip to Guatemala truly lit a fire in my soul. We have two artisan groups there. One is a girls’ home where the girls have been removed from their families because of abuse. The older girls have the option to be a part of the jewelry and sewing programs. These programs teach them a trade, while they also learn business skills as they learn to go to market, negotiate, communicate with customers and even become international designers. These skills are so necessary for them to have when they age out of the girls’ home so that they can break the cycle of poverty and change the course of their futures. I got to see this group in action. You’d think this place would be somewhat depressing, but it was actually full of light and celebration. They have opportunities! We call our artisans our business partners, and that is just what we are. They are the artists and we work to sell their creative, handmade works in America. When I was there I couldn’t help but look around and think, ”wow, this is such a dynamic sanctuary for these girls. I am so proud that Trades of Hope leverages what they are doing there to give them more exposure.” Then I realized we are doing this in 16 different countries! Each group has its own story of breaking the cycle. It was a very powerful moment for me.

Q. How can we get involved with Trades of Hope?

A. There are three ways you can be a part of Trades of Hope: Shop. Host. Join. Joining means becoming a Compassionate Entrepreneur like me. I had no idea that I would get to travel to Guatemala, lead a team of women, and that I would grow so much as a person—learning new skills, honing old ones, marketing a cause still, but in a new capacity. Everything I loved about working in a nonprofit still exists with my work with Trades of Hope, but everything I didn’t love is gone. I had been working in marketing at a well-known nonprofit for 10 years and thought that was the only way I could make a difference. I never considered the idea of quitting and never thought I would become involved in “selling something." But I realized that Trades of Hope is different. The purpose behind it, the mission of empowering women and having an impact on women all over the world, immediately touched my heart. I knew I wanted to provide opportunities for others and that Trades of Hope was going to finally give ME that opportunity. I have total freedom, I am inspired every day, I am contributing significantly to my household income, I am challenged and I am so happy and fulfilled.

Hosting a party is wonderful way to take it to the next level and really impact a greater number of lives! Hosting can be traditional home parties, a catalog party at work, an online event, a happy hour/coffee shop gathering or even a playdate. The hostess rewards are great—lots of free and half price products for hostesses as a thank you. I would love to partner with you to bring Trades of Hope to your friends. With the holidays right around the corner, now is a great time to host a party!

The easiest and most immediate thing you can do is SHOP by using this link. Trades of Hope products are not only lovely, unique and affordable, but the soul and spirit behind them is what makes them truly beautiful.

all photos via

You can find Anna on Facebook, Instagram or email her at

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