Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am Megan Albrecht. I am a single mom of two, work at an elementary school as a one-on-one special education para, as well as working my business as a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades Of Hope. I love being able to help women lift themselves out of poverty and human trafficking. Born and raised in North Iowa, I am finding that raising my children here near my family has been wonderful. When I have extra time, I enjoy reading, taking walks, watching movies, and playing games with my kids.
What exactly is Ethical Fair-Trade Fashion Ability?
ethicalfairtradefashionabilty is my Instagram profile. Here you will find inspirational quotes, my current reads, mental health awareness and tips, along with photos of our artisan partners and Fair-Trade products from Trades of Hope.
What is Trades of Hope?
My short answer is this: We are a company that works to end poverty and human trafficking by partnering with struggling women in the USA and 16 other countries. We do this by marketing their handcrafted accessories at events, and parties (In-home, online, or catalog). Many of our items are made out of upcycled products-cereal boxes, magazines, glass, shells, blouses (huipil), and saris.
What inspired you to start Ethical Fair-Trade Fashion Ability and join Trades of Hope?
The Instagram profile was something that I began after being told last year that this was a good business move. So far, it has brought me a new addition to my team-and this interview. Joining Trades of Hope was something that was very uncharacteristic of my quiet and more reserved self. However, after hearing stories of mothers in Haiti debating whether to put their beloved babies in an orphanage or let them starve, I felt my heart sink. The stories I heard played on repeat in my head, so when I heard I could join Trades of Hope to make a positive impact, I was intrigued. What hooked me was the fact that there were no requirements other than making one sale (or purchase myself) at least once a year.
How did you come up with the name, Ethical Fair-Trade Fashion Ability?
Honestly, I think I just tried to make it have words that I thought people may search-ethical, fashion. While new to me, Fair-Trade was something that I consider important. “Ability” just kind of came out of thin air and I went with it!
You are working to end human trafficking and poverty; can you tell us about that?
We believe that women are not lacking in ability. They merely need an opportunity to rise out of desperate situations. We partner with women in small artisan groups who have disabilities and work with them to become self sufficient and financially stable. We work with women who desperately need money to feed their babies. While they are working in a supportive community rolling beads, their children are looked after in the on-site daycare. We are able to partner with women who escape brothels and give them training, a job, education, and HOPE! I am so passionate about this work and it has changed my view of the world and how I shop. We all have an effect on the world around us. I choose to make a positive impact by shopping at Fair Trade companies, small businesses, and secondhand.
Is there a favorite product?
While I have many favorites, I can narrow it down to the Sea Glass Necklace made in Jordan and the Mosaic Clutch from Guatemala, made from huipil-(recycled blouses, so each one is unique!
What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
My favorite part is seeing myself doing things that I wouldn’t have ever dreamt of doing five or ten years ago! Besides that, the company donated things like a bike for a girl in Cambodia to get to school safely and a month of meals for a child in my name.
What is your least favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
It’s still a challenge for me to go up and introduce myself to strangers. Doing that along with a short presentation or talk is pretty nerve wracking for an introvert. Before joining less than two years ago, I had never even taken a selfie, let alone a live video!
How do you spread the word about your company?
This is a direct sales business and so basically booking parties from parties is the best way to “spread the word”. I also try to have an online presence which is mainly Instagram. Most of my followers on Facebook or Pinterest know me or are already familiar with my business.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
One thing that has helped me immensely is thinking of my emotions differently. So before doing something intimidating I try to think, “I’m excited.” Instead of “I’m nervous”. Also, not putting a lot of thought into doing something bold-just get out there and get it done. For me, the longer I put something off, the more my fear will grow. Count 3, 2, 1, and make that phone call or go talk to that person.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
How could you pick just one? I have several on my Inspiration board.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
This is a business opportunity that anyone can do for as little as $24. I would be so happy to bring on more Compassionate Entrepreneurs to my team, or just chat about the possibility. If you’re not up for that yet, there’s always hosting and/or shopping!