We have over 288,000 rewards members and have given away hundreds of thousands of rewards (so many great items, we have lost count!). Not only do we love being able to reward and thank our loyal Stonyfield eaters, but we also love getting to work with some amazing companies. Over the next few months, we’d like to introduce some of our great myStonyfield Rewards partners so you can get to know the people behind the rewards offered.
We’re starting with Evan Goldsmith, President of Hope for Women. We chatted with Evan to learn about how he started his organization and why he’s excited to be part of the program.
Meet Evan Goldsmith, President of Hope for Women
How did your company get started?
The idea for Hope For Women began in a small village in the Garhwal region of Uttaranchal, in the Himalaya mountains of India, where I was working with a local group devoted to women’s development and environmental issues. It was there that I noticed a missing opportunity.
I worked with a group of trained artisan women crafting beautiful handmade note cards using flowers and other plants that grew locally in the valleys and mountains of the Himalayas. However, after one large order, the buyer decided not to purchase again, and the women had no access to sustainable markets to sell their cards. They had no opportunity to receive financial rewards for their efforts and neither they nor their families could take advantage of the valuable skills they acquired.
The result was a group of highly skilled artisan women with no means to market their products. Their skills lay dormant and they returned to subsistence agriculture.
After returning from India, I maintained strong ties to the area through multiple return visits and close relationships, and I realized that the opportunity to utilize the women’s skills and their desire for stable employment was still fresh.
So I founded Hope For Women to provide the women with a Fair Trade brand for their cards to reach people in the US market. We have sold the India cards into over 700 stores around the country and we have expanded our efforts to work with women artisans in Colombia and El Salvador to create more lines of Fair Trade, eco-friendly products.
What is your company’s mission/philosophy?
Our mission is to provide sustainable employment to economically disadvantaged women so they can take control of their lives and their futures. We do this by bringing quality Fair Trade, eco-friendly products created by women artisans to the mainstream marketplace.
Why are you excited about being a partner in the rewards program?
I have enjoyed Stonyfield products for years and have always been impressed by their ability to support local farms and by their leadership role in corporate environmental responsibility. Stonyfield’s values fit so well with Hope For Women’s and the myStonyfield Rewards program is a great way for us to partner together. We are thrilled to be able to reach over 288,000 people in the program knowing many are already supporters of Fair Trade, while others will be very likely to embrace it once they learn more. Hopefully we can help demonstrate the positive impacts of Fair Trade through participating in the awards program.
Tell us about something your company is working on right now that you are really excited about.
We are doing a lot of work in Colombia with tagua, a sustainably harvested seed native to the Colombian rainforest. The whole process is very exciting. I love visiting the remote forests and communities where the tagua is collected after it falls from the trees, and then going to Bogota to work with local artisans to create our tagua jewelry and accessories. I get to visit artisans and have meals with them at their homes – so I really get to see firsthand the benefits of Fair Trade and how it can change lives. Fortunately the tagua jewelry and accessories have been very well received and we are expanding our efforts in Colombia.
What is your favorite flavor of Stonyfield yogurt (or product)?
Stonyfield Fat Free French Vanilla – I eat this 4-5x a week for breakfast with bananas or fresh berries. I look forward to it every time – such a great way to start my day!
Save up for a free 4-Pack of Hope For Women handmade, Fair Trade, “tree-free” Himalayan flower cards! And stay tuned to meet more partners and if you are interested in signing up for our myRewards program – click here!