We are writing to share with you some sad news about the Hoop Fund.
After two years of working to crowdfund producer microloans and promote fair trade products, we have decided to close our doors.
There are a number of reasons for shutting down the company, the biggest being that despite some very passionate supporters, we were never able to reach the volume of projects and user traffic necessary to sustain the Hoop. Recently many of our brand partners confirmed that microloan projects + product deals are very difficult to market and there’s a high-level of education required for purchase. We’ve also found it very time consuming to set-up enough projects with enough product margin to cover our costs.
This is a really difficult decision to make, we’ve worked hard to keep the Hoop going and are proud of what we have all been able to do together. Over 800 people came together to support producers in 8 countries, as well as an amazing group of companies doing great work all over the world. We had so many passionate supporters, we just wish we could have done so much more.
For everyone that made a microloan through the Hoop, we will be contacting you via email to get your preference on how you would like to be repaid. We’re also working with our brand partners to figure out a plan for the loans that are still currently doing work in the field.
Finally, I’ve also been asked to share a number of our lessons learned, so that other social enterprises might benefit from our experiences. We’ll be posting those lessons here on our blog, so stay tuned if you want to learn more.
Thank you again for all your work to support the Hoop. We will be forever grateful for your work, leadership, and commitment to supporting ethical producers.
The Hoop Fund
For most people, it is not easy to find a gift with meaning. We value our relationships, but a heartfelt expression…seems so difficult!
In order to meet time restraints, we resort to best bets – brand name gift cards, trendy stocking stuffers, and Hallmark. In order to fit within our budget, we want to find a good deal.
But it’s actually easier than ever to find gifts with meaning.
Conscious consumers across the globe shop based on their values. They look for ownership type (family-owned, non-profit), production location (Made in the USA, locally-made), environmental standards (organic, Non-GMO), and labor practices (Fair Trade Certified) – to name a few.
Holiday shoppers are also opting for companies that give “One for One.” This is a newly popular option that combines consumption and philanthropy. Popular brand leaders include Toms Shoes, FEED, and Better World Books.
With each purchase of shoes, Toms sends a pair of shoes to a child in need. With each purchase of FEED branded bags, the company funds nutritious school meals for malnourished children. For every book purchased on BetterWorldBooks, they send a book to someone in need. The Hoop offers another example of this as consumers fund a microloan with every purchase of ethical products.
More and more gift-givers are also opting to send donations instead of stuff and charities of all kinds make it easier to send a donation as a gift. Universal Giving is a great resource for donation opportunities around the world and 100% of each donation goes directly to the cause. The organization screens donation and volunteer opportunities, so you don’t have to.
Global Exchange is another non-profit organization that’s practicing what they preach. Their Fair Trade stores provide shoppers with great ethical products and all sales revenue is re-invested in the non-profit.
What’s meaningful to you and your loved ones?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 12, 2011
San Francisco, CA – This week, The Hoop Fund launches a unique gifting feature for the holidays, where every gift purchase funds a microloan (and every microloan can be gifted).
The latest twist on “One for One” buying meets philanthropy, the Hoop sends a microloan to the maker with every product purchase. Shoppers earn a deal on products in exchange for their investment in ethical supply chains and get their loan repaid.
Product offers come from fair trade and ethical brands such as Indigenous Designs, One Mango Tree, Global Goods Partners, Lotus Foods, Runa Tea, Prosperity Candle, and IndoSole.
Loans are all 0% interest and philanthropic in nature. Upon borrower repayment by the producer, the principal of the loan is returned to each lender.
Together, shoppers are building a seed bank for threatened species in Thailand and a day care center for hardworking Ugandan mothers. They’re sending Peruvian women weavers to vocational training and re-planting trees for Amazonian tea farmers.
For further information or interviews, contact:
Hoop Press Page: http://hoopfund.com/press.webui
About the Hoop
The Hoop is a one-year old start-up social enterprise that combines the power of group buying and crowdfunding to engage conscious consumers and send much needed financing to ethical farmers and artisans. Domestic lending will be coming soon. The company has been featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company and won the 2011 Hub Ventures Competition. Please visit HoopFund.com for more info. See campaign ads here:
Every day sustainable and ethical brands work to better align their values with their value chain. Every day they think about what’s best for the artisans, weavers, and farmers that produce the food we eat and the clothing we wear.
Every day these producers strive to grow, sew and make great products for us to enjoy.
Ethical brands including Indigenous Designs, Alter Eco, Lotus Foods, Runa Tea, Global Goods Partners, XS Project, Prosperity Candle, and One Mango Tree have all stepped up to bring Hoop customers great products, supporting great causes.
We thank you.
Learn about the microlending needs of these producers.
By Elizabeth M. Rojo and Kevin F. Adler
Kevin Adler is a passionate Hoop Funder and works as the Founder of BetterGrads, an organization built to empower public high school students to tap into the power of their school’s latent alumni network.
For most of 2011, Kevin lived, worked, studied, and served in Mexico as an Ambassador of Goodwill through a Rotary scholarship, which was awarded in recognition of his work as a social entrepreneur and for his commitment to global peace and understanding.
After being inspired by the Hoop’s mission to support producer communities around the world, Kevin and his friend Elizabeth Rojo of Fundación En Via composed this blog post for us to share with you.
The Valley of Oaxaca is known for its many beautiful local crafts: colorful alebrijes in San Antonio Arrazola; barro negro (black mud) pottery in San Bartolo Coyotepec; beautiful tapetes (rugs) in Teotitlán del Valle. What is less known, and often overlooked, are the challenges that the talented artisans behind the crafts face in obtaining capital to expand their businesses and gain access to international and domestic markets.
The small Zapotec town of TeotitlánTeotitlán del Valle is renowned for its tapetes with intricate patterns and beautiful natural dyes. Falling in love with one of these traditional rugs is an easy task; understanding the process it took to produce one is a different story.