Elisabeth Huijskens is founder and the CCO for Trades of Hope, an ethical fashion line that empowers women out of poverty with job creation in 19 countries. 

We originally connected over TikTok in July of 2020 when I found a video of her talking about traveling over to London. I was already an American in London and reached out to her to share my experience traveling during a pandemic. 

We instantly hit it off once I quickly realized she was a girl boss with an enthusiasm and passion for living a life on purpose. 

I asked her 10 questions including more about her role within Trades of Hope, social strategy, confidence and dealing with online haters. 


Let's dive in.


1. So Trade of Hope, sounds pretty incredible as an organization. What is your role within the company?

As a founder of the company, I wear many hats outside of my Chief Creative Officer role. This includes a lot of public speaking. Before 2020 this was a lot of speaking from stages in rooms of hundreds (which I love!), and now it’s a lot of front-facing video creation to represent the brand or podcast interviews, which I’m always honored to do. As CCO, I oversee our brand’s strategic communication, creative direction, PR, industry positioning, and work with our product development team to approve lines or design styles myself.


2. How exactly does your purchase from Trades of Hope change lives?

This is my favorite part. I grew up traveling to Haiti as a little girl. I had a front row seat to the problem our Trades of Hope customers help solve today. Charity is not a long term solution to poverty. You want to see a community rise? Give a woman a job. She’ll lead her whole community out of poverty. As a feminist and advocate for women, this lights me up. It’s nothing against men. Actually, 20% of the artisans we work with around the world are men. However, statistically, when a woman in poverty is given a sustainable job, she’ll take four more people out of poverty with her. 

When you shop our line of ethically-made fashion and home decor, you’re helping a woman lead her family out of poverty, increasing gender equality in oppressive communities, and lessening a family’s vulnerability to being trafficked. That’s what your purchase does!


3. How does Trades of Hope use social media to share their message? Do you have a particular platform that seems to connect with your audience the best?

Our largest platform is Instagram, but we love Pinterest and are playing around with TikTok. However, we also utilize social media through our generous affiliate program. Women here in the U.S. can become “Partners” with our Artisans and, like influencers, earn an income sharing our Artisans’ stories and designs on social media. This is our most effective usage of social media.


4. We connected while both traveling to London, has your position at Trade of Hope always been remote? Can you give any quick tips on managing work while being in a different timezone?

There are a lot of people who work remote at Trades of Hope, even before most of the world when remote in 2020. Our social media strategist is remote. (I’ve actually never met her in person but absolutely adore her.) Our graphic designer is remote. Our senior product designer is remote. Our IT specialist is remote. This is just the way the world is heading, and I have seen the personal freedom these people have returned tenfold in their work. I’ve been remote for a long time because I’m only 25, and I wanted to live in different places and develop personally while growing my career and my company.


5. On top of the Trades of Hope content, you also have a strong social media presence yourself! What are some of your favorite tools/apps to use to create engaging content for Instagram? 

I’m so thankful for my online community and how they support me and our Artisans through shopping Trades of Hope. We just “get” each other. It’s so fun. My favorite tools are Planoly to plan my feed (didn’t use it for a while and the lack of creative inspiration in my feed totally showed). As we watch videos actively make photos obsolete, I love the Tezza App to edit my 15-30 videos for TikTok or Instagram Stories. I already sell my own Lightroom Presets for photos, so I really only use the Tezza App for videos and can keep the same branded look.


6. We connected over TikTok, have you connected with other individuals in real life from Social Media?

I haven’t met a ton of people from social media in person. I planned to do a meet up with my followers this year, but that’s not happening until 2021 now. That being said, even if I haven’t met them in person, the social media friends I’ve made have a “real life” impact in my everyday life. As I mentioned earlier, I hired Trades of Hope’s social media strategist but have never met her. I hired her because she was an influencer looking for a more traditional job after 3 years of building her own successful brand. And like you and I, I’ve met other badass entrepreneurs who encourage me in my journey. I don’t think social media should replace real life, but it can certainly enhance real life.


7. You teach and talk about confidence throughout your social media content, where does this energy and inspiration come from? 

Honestly, it has come from founding Trades of Hope. I founded Trades of Hope with three other women when I was just 15. Throwing myself into the ring like that forced me to do things before I felt ready. Public speaking, growing a brand, marketing -- I was all self-taught. Doing things before I was ready fostered in me what’s called “earned confidence.” This is when you do something -- even when you feel scared or nervous -- to show yourself that you can and get a win under your belt. After a while, the scary things are less scary with practice. It’s literally training your brain to be confident. Anyone can do it. “Fake it until you feel it,” is the motto I live by and teach. It changed my life, and I want all women to practice it as well. When they do, I believe they can change their lives and change the world. 


8. You’ve spoken about handling “haters” on social media, can you share with me your perspective on handling negative comments?

Block. Block. Block. If you were to see my blocked list on Instagram and TikTok, you would be scrolling down it forever. It’s been said that quickly blocking people online means you can’t handle confrontation in real life, so you have to be nice and deal with it as if someone was talking to you in person. I wholeheartedly disagree with this for three reasons.

1.) What bored, insecure people say online (where they face no repercussions or consequences for saying whatever they want) is very different from what most people will say to your face or behind your back. It’s like comparing apples and oranges because these people are hiding behind a screen. Block them.

2.) When people “hate” you online, you’re often reading it in your safe space (like your home) and it can reach you at any time (like if you’re on vacation, building relationships, or practicing self-care). There is an intimacy and accessibility online haters have to you that in-person conflict doesn't have. They don’t deserve to have that. Block them.

3.) I don’t support or believe in “cancel culture.” That’s very different than blocking someone who is causing you emotional (or maybe to your business, financial) harm. You can still healthily tackle conflict in person -- at work, with family, with friends, etc -- and not allow strangers on the internet to have access to your mental health.


Block, block, block and then spend time with people who actually know you and can remind you who you are. 


9. You have mentioned manifesting in your social media content, do you think that practicing manifesting has changed the outcomes in your life?

Yes, 100%. What I think is even more beneficial than the opportunities that come from manifesting is the elevated mindset. In order to manifest something, you have to be grateful, positive, resolved, and excited about life and what you’re doing. That affects my everyday. That saves me when things are bleak. It’s not about what I “get” from manifesting, it’s about the mindset I live with every day of my life. I’m more grateful for that than anything else. And in turn, that energy helps me manifest more of my dream life. I talk about manifesting a lot in the Gumption Edition, which is the lifestyle magazine I send out via email every Wednesday to help you elevate your life and reach your dreams. 


10. Final question! Do you have any favorite books or podcasts that you could recommend for someone looking for girl boss energy like yours? 

Here are some of my favorites from the past 12 months!

Everything is Figureoutable - Marie Forleo

The Psychology of Winning - Denis Waitley (very old, but with tried and true tactics!)

Super Attractor - Gabrielle Bernstein 

Start with Why - Simon Sinek

The Marie Forleo Podcast - Marie Forleo

Your Welcome Podcast - Hilary Rushford

Bossbabe Podcast - Bossbabe Inc.


To learn more about what Elisabeth is up to, follow her on Instagram or to be inspired about her courageous writing, take a read from her blog

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