Trades of Hope MLM Review: Is Trades of Hope Legit?

Today we’re taking a look at Trades of Hope.

You probably came to this page because you wonder if Trades of Hope is legit or a scam?

No need to worry you’re in the right place for the answers to these questions.

Over the last few years, I’ve been busy creating reviews about all kinds of online products.

Some turned out to be fake others were legit ways to make money online but in the process, I learned how to spot scams.

In this post, I’ll show you absolutely everything you need to know about Trades of Hope and after reading it you’ll know exactly if you should give it a chance.

Trades of Hope MLM Review Overview

Name: Trades of Hope
Founder: Gretchen Huijskens,
Product Type: Jewelry MLM
Earning Potential: low
Affiliate: $9,95
Partner: $79

Trades of Hope is an MLM company that distributes handmade products created by people from third-world countries as a means to earn money. Trades of Hope isn’t a pyramid scheme but I also don’t consider it a life-changing business opportunity. It’s somewhere in the middle in my opinion.
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What is Trades of Hope?

Trades of Hope is a multi-level marketing company that was created with the goal of providing families struck by poverty a way to earn money.

In 2010, Gretchen Huijskens founded Trades of Hope and is now running it with her daughter Elisabeth Huijkens. The Trades of Hope headquarters is located at 4601 East Moody Blvd, Suite K6, Bunnell, Florida 32110, United States.

Trades of Hope has been featured in major publications such as Forbes and is active all over the world. You can contact them by phone on the number (386) 263-8776 and email them at

Here's a video about Trades of Hope from their official YouTube page.

How does Trades of Hope work?

In short, Trades of Hope is a company that distributes handmade apparel, jewelry, and other accessories. Instead of directly selling it to consumers they have chosen to use the MLM model which gives you the choice to earn money by:

  • Selling the products for a commission
  • Recruiting people to earn bonuses.

What is MLM?

MLM (a.k.a network marketing or direct selling) stands for multi-level marketing.

According to Wikipedia, multi-level marketing is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue is derived from a non-salaried workforce.

As a part of this workforce, you sell the products from the company, and/or you recruit people to do the same thing. This group of people you recruit will work under you and is referred to as your downline.

The bigger your downline is the more money you can earn passively (technically speaking) because you’re getting paid a percentage based on the performance of your downline.

This also means the person that recruited you which is called your upline is making money based on your performance.

The act of recruiting turns an MLM company into a pyramid-shaped organization where the first people to join make the most and are on the top of the pyramid and those last to join are at the bottom.

Multi-level_marketing structure

Source: Wikipedia

MLMs have been around for a long time. There are Multi-level marketing companies active today that were founded in the 1950s. MLM has a lot in common with pyramid schemes which is why scammers often use MLM to disguise their pyramid scheme.

Is it absolutely necessary to recruit people? No.

You can also stick to just selling products which you can order at wholesale price (25% discount) and re-sell to make a profit. This is easier said than done for multiple reasons which are why most members try to recruit others so they can earn more money.

How to join Trades of Hope

You can join Trades of Hope as a brand affiliate or a partner. 

Most people get introduced to Trades of Hope by a partner which will become their sponsor but you can also sign up for both by visiting the trades of hope rewards page.

Those that sign-up to become a partner by signing up will have a sponsor appointed to them by “Trades of Hope”.

You’ll also be asked to purchase one of their starter kits. 

You’ll receive training after which you can resell products and recruit people to earn commissions and bonuses.

After that, partners will be paid monthly through your SkyWallet, which is located in the Partner Portal.

Where do the Trades of Hope products come from?

Trades of Hope makes it possible for women (trades of hope refers to this group as artisans) in mostly third world countries to earn money by making accessories, jewelry, and apparel ad selling it.

Trades of Hope provides them with channels to help them sell their products and also finances basic necessities for these women and their families.

There are active artisans in:

Dominican Republic
North Asia
The Philippines

Do you have to be a woman to become a Trades of Hope Partner?

No. you don’t have to be a woman. 

It’s understandable after looking at their mission that you might think that the Trades of Hope business opportunity is only for women but it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man. 

That being said, not everyone is able to join. 

So if you’re interested in joining Trades of Hope read the next paragraph.

Things to take into account if you want to Trades of Hope

  • The minimum age for joining Trades of Hope is 18 years old
  • You need to be a US citizen or permanent resident that resides in the 50 states, with a valid Social Security Number or Green Card (The only exception are the US, military spouses).
  • As a Partner, you must actively sell Trades of Hope products and have a minimum of one commissionable order

Can you sell Trades of Hope products online?

Multi-level marketing or Network marketing is often associated with parties where you recruit people by hosting parties and talking to them face-to-face. 

Corona makes it hard to host these types of parties. This is why Trades of Hope gives you the opportunity to sell products online. 

Trades of Hope doesn’t allow you to sell products on Etsy, eBay, Poshmark, or websites similar to those three but they can set you up with a personal website that connects to social media. 

The Trades of Hope The Technology Suite sets you up with: 

  • A Personal website
  • Unique links for your hostesses and parties.
  • Email marketing drip campaigns made for every product
  • An online back office for managing the numbers.
  • Social Media campaigns for your website.

Is Trades of Hope a pyramid scheme?

To answer this question we need to know what a pyramid scheme is.

What is a pyramid scheme?

A pyramid scheme is a type of scam where people are promised money for joining the scheme and recruiting other people. No selling of a product or service is involved whatsoever.

So you might be wondering where the money comes from?

The people that join are expected to pay a one-time fee and in exchange for that, they get a percentage of the fee of everyone they recruit after that.

The problem is from a mathematical standpoint it’s impossible for everyone to make money because you simply run out of people.

Take a look at this picture below showing how it’s impossible for everyone to earn money.

A Pyramid_scheme

Source: Wikipedia

As you can see, in this pyramid model it’s required to recruit 6 people. You’ll notice from the 12th level and further, it’s not possible anymore for everyone to earn money.

The 2.2 Billion people on the 12th level need 13.1 billion recruits in total for them all to make money which is more people than there are currently on Earth.

Looking at the description of what a pyramid scheme is, Trades of Hope cant be classified as a pyramid scheme from a legal perspective. Trades of Hope sells products and has given people a method to make money without recruiting people.

That being said, there definitely are definitely a few unanswered questions that make me worry. Read further to find out what I mean.

Who can benefit from Trades of Hope?

Who would benefit from joining Trades of Hope:

  • Expert salesmen
  • Expert recruiters
  • People that want to use Trades of Hope products for themselves.
  • People that believe in the cause.

Who shouldn’t join Trades of Hope MLM Program:

  • People that hate sales jobs.
  • People that hate recruiting
  • People that want to earn a full-time income
  • People that expect to earn passive income

Trades of Hope products

A good MLM should have quality products that you can sell so I thought it was appropriate to look at what they offer. Trades of Hope is a company that creates clothing, accessory, and jewelry geared towards women and kits.

Since most of the products are handmade there’s a large variety of products for sale.

The price range on some of these products is insanely high compared to other companies. $139,95 for a Kimono is a bit much in my opinion but understandable since it’s handmade.

Kimono from trades of hope

They also have a separate category for products under $50 but from what I’ve seen the majority of products are not in this category.

Trades of Hope products return policy

Trades of Hope has a good return policy which I think is a good thing because it shows they have faith in the quality of their products.

Trades of Hope has a 30-day policy that states that if you aren’t completely satisfied with the product you purchased and you have the receipt you may exchange it or get a refund (shipping costs not included).

They also have a 90-day policy for products that are damaged with exception of products damaged through normal wear, accident, or misuse.

You just need to notify the partner you have bought it from and they’ll take care of the rest.

Pros and Cons


  • You contribute to a great cause 
  • 30-day Refund Policy
  • Multiple methods to earn money 
  • Can be done online


  • Lack of transparency when it comes to earnings 
  • Limited scaling capabilities
  • You have to pay to play
  • It can be done online
  • Partner opportunity only available to US residents

Trades of Hope Compensation Plan

The Trades of Hope partner program can be considered a traditional MLM when you look at their compensation plan. You either re-sell their products for a commission or you can recruit people and receive residual income, climb up the ranks, and earn bonuses.

In total there are 9 ranks that all come with their benefits such as getting a higher commission percentage of all your sales starting at 25% (this used to be 20% but according to the FAQ page they changed this) to a max of 50%

  • Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • Qualified Compassionate Entrepreneur 
  • Lead Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • Advanced Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • Master Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • Manager Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • Director Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • Executive director Compassionate Entrepreneur
  • National Executive Director Compassionate Entrepreneur
Trades of hope compensation plan

How much does it cost to start a Trades of Hope “business”?

Trades of Hope provides people with 2 methods to earn money and 1 to save money on products you purchase. 

  • Affiliate 
  • Partner
  • Artisan 

As an affiliate, you have to pay $9,95 and get a link to share with people. You’ll also get 15% cashback on all the products you buy. 

For partners, it’s a bit more complicated. Just like with most MLM companies, the compensation plan is a lot more confusing than it actually needs to be. Here are the most important things you need to know about the costs of becoming and staying an active member.

The basic costs for joining at the moment are $99. After that, you need to sell at least 1 commissionable every 12 months. When this requirement isn’t met you will be deemed inactive and your membership will be deactivated.

You can’t become a member without buying at least 1 of the 3 Trades for Hope packages mentioned below.

Merit Package – it costs $ 99
Mosaic Package – it costs $ 99
All-in-one package – this one costs $ 198

Volume-based commissions
This is the standard commission partners get based on the Trades of Hope products they sell. It starts at a commission rate of 25% and based on how much you sell the percentage increases. 

2% increase at $500 worth of products
3% increase at $1000 worth of products
5% increase at $300 worth of products

The career track
You can also increase your earnings by joining the career track and start recruiting. This makes it possible to earn extra commission based on the performance of the people you recruit. The cost of remaining on the career track is selling $300 in personal retail value every month as seen below.

Trades of Hope career track

As you increase in rank the commission rate will increase as well. What’s is important to know is to increase in rank you need to have your downline perform as well.

Since it’s not obligated to join the career track the minimum costs to become a Trades of Hope partner is $99

Trades of Hope artisans

The third way of making money with Trades of Hope is as an artisan. They are the reason Gretchen founded Trades of Hope in the first place. Just like with affiliates and partners, artisans can join by filling out the artisan application on the Trades of Hope website.

The artisans aren’t considered a charity case, they’re in a legitimate business partnership with Trades of hope. They sell their products to Trades of Hope and keep 100% of the asking price. 

After that, it’s available for partners to resell and make money.

Trades of Hope does more than giving jobs. Here’s a video that gives insight into the relationship between Trades of Hope and artisans.

How much can you earn with Trades of Hope?

In theory, the sky is the limit when you look at their compensation plan but I suspect in reality the majority of people are making a lot less than is portrayed.

Trades of Hope doesn’t publicly share the numbers of their partners but since it’s a traditional MLM the chances are high it shares the pitfalls of all other companies that use the MLM strategy. I’ll share a few of these MLM pitfalls right now.

Why aren’t people earning decent money with MLM companies similar to Trades of Hope?

I have summed up the reasons why it’s hard to make money with Trades of Hope and MLM companies in general into 3 points.

1. MLM’s are often associated with pyramid schemes
MLM’s have a pyramid recruiting structure that you often have to join to be able to make decent money or at the very least not lose money. The problem is a lot of pyramid schemes disguise themselves as MLM programs making it difficult to differentiate the two.

This is the biggest problem why most distributors have a difficult time recruiting people. The moment people hear about how you can make money by recruiting people red flags appear in most people’s minds.

2. You have to consistently invest your money to earn commissions
You’re only eligible for bonuses and commissions if you buy their products. The bigger the bonuses the more product you have to buy. You do get discounts but if you can’t sell the products I can see you easily fall into a financial deficit (which happens to the majority of MLMs).

3. The price of the product often isn’t aligned with the market

It’s hard for a multi-level marketer to sell products because most MLM products tend to be a lot more expensive than similar products sold by non-MLM companies. This means even if you’re really good at recruiting your downline still needs to sell those same expensive products for you to make decent money.

You can see that translate in these statistics I found about Multi-level Marketing.

  • Nearly half (47%) of MLM participants reported that they lost money.
  • One in four (27%) MLM participants reported that they broke even (made no money).
  • MLM participants are 7% more likely to declare bankruptcy during their lifetime.
  • Direct sales have risen 79% in the last decade, but MLM participants continue to lose money.
  • 90 – 99% of distributors in multilevel marketing only receive a couple of hundred dollars commission per year.
  • Out of 33,000 interviewed, 90 people made enough money to cover costs in building their business.
  • 50% of the people who start a network marketing enterprise abandoned it in the first year.



Is this proof that the Trades of Hope MLM business opportunity has low earning potential? No, but the fact that most businesses that use this model have an independent workforce that doesn’t make money isn’t a good sign.

Trades of Hope Reviews, Opinions, and Ratings

To keep this as objective as possible I wanted to look at what others had to say about Trades of Hope. Here are the opinions of a few bloggers about Trades of Hope. 

Trades of hope review search results

The bloggers that have reviewed Trades of Hope and are ranked on Googled all pretty much came to the same conclusion. This can be summarized in these 3 points:

  • Great cause
  • It’s not a pyramid scheme 
  • They don’t like that Trades of Hope doesn’t share their income disclosure.
  • The earning potential is low

Among bloggers, Trades of Hope isn’t seen as a method to quit your job and make decent money but it's cool that you can help people.

My Personal Take

I think the goal of Trades for Hope is really cool. Unlike a lot of non-profits, they explain exactly how they help people in poverty from a financial standpoint. They are also transparent about wanting to make a profit next to helping these people.

If you’re looking for a way to make a full-time income, Trades of Hope is probably not the place for you. You have to invest too much money just to be able to earn money and there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed.

Generally, the only people that really make money with the MLM model are people with expert-level skills in sales and recruiting or people that already have an audience.

Most people without any of these things are almost guaranteed to lose money. I’d rather spend my time on an opportunity that gives me higher chance of succeeding.


Is Trades of Hope A Pyramid scheme? No, but isn’t legit either.

It isn’t legit because of these reasons:

  • The reputation of MLM businesses makes it hard to succeed with recruiting.
  • You have to pay to play
  • Selling hand made products makes it hard to scale quickly

Trades of Hope Alternative: Commissions without Recruiting or reselling products

Trades of Hope might not be the ideal opportunity for people that aren’t interested in recruiting and want to earn more but that doesn’t mean methods like that don’t exist.

If you want to make money online from anywhere including your own home I recommend looking into affiliate marketing.

Unlike a lot of other methods, affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to manage inventory, do customer service, recruit people, resell or create products.

You can start cheap, don’t need any prior experience, and if done right can become the closest thing to earning passive income. 

I learned how to create simple affiliate marketing websites that bring in +$100/day with the help of a step-by-step beginners course on an affiliate marketing training platform called Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate commission

Interested in doing the same? Learn more about the training platform and try out their FREE starters course.

Information about Wealthy Affiliate

>>Click here to read my wealthy affiliate review

That’s all for today. If you have any questions or you just want to show some love don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

See you at my next post!

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About Rogier

I’m an Affiliate Marketing and SEO veteran, Blogger, and Pinterest Marketer based in The Netherlands. On this website, I share my learnings about online entrepreneurship, and digital resources while enjoying life to the fullest.

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