This husband and wife duo, Chris and Amy, are the founders of Hope in Planks. A socially and environmentally conscious startup company based in Plymouth, Uk. As a young entrepreneur couple, they are not only focus on helping the planet but 10% of every sale they make, goes to an orphanage in Guatemala.
" WE STRIVE TO OFFER TOP QUALITY WOODEN HOME-WARE THAT IS DURABLE, UNIQUE AND SUPPORTS THOSE LESS FORTUNATE AT THE SAME TIME." - CHRIS & AMY
Can you both tell us about your personal backgrounds?
Yes of course so I (Amy) studied International business with Spanish at Plymouth University, then traveled the world and after this worked at Story International in Guatemala the orphanage we support for a year as a teacher. Chris studied Economics and was fascinated by how to help developing countries the most. He also did some traveling as well. We met and then got married. My passion for the orphanage coupled with Chris’s desire to make helping others in a sustainable way part of our lives is what birthed Hope in Planks.
What is Hope in Planks?
Hope in Planks is a small business we run that sells beautiful home-wares designed by us and made locally and 10% of every sale gives back to the orphanage I used to work at.
What gave you the inspiration to start Hope in Planks?
It was a mixture of a few things, we really wanted to do something that sustainably supported the orphanage, we really like wooden wares (our house is full of them) and we just ran with a crazy idea we had and after looking into it more and more we spotted a gap in the market for wooden homes wares which give back.
All your products are made with sustainable sourced wood. Why was that important to you?
It was really important to us that the products we make are sustainable and that we are adding to the world, not taking away. So we ensured that the wood was from a sustainable source in this case FSC certified.
Photo Credit: www.hopeinplanks.com (Solid Oak Candle Holder)
Was sustainable living a big part of your lives prior to starting your business?
Yes, we try wherever we can to be sustainable, just in making those small choices, i.e. composting, burning wood instead of coal in our log burner, choosing an energy provider that only uses renewable sources etc.
10% of your products sales goes toward a non-profit organization in Guatemala name, Story International? Can you share more about what they do?
Yes absolutely, these guys are amazing. Story International is an American Not-for-Profit, they are responsible for the running of an orphanage in Guatemala with around about 100 children. They also provide the children in the orphanage with a Bilingual education through their school “The school of Hope” They also run a transitional program, called “El Puente” this supports the children as they are due to leave the orphanage when they turn 18 it provides them with the skills to succeed in the outside world. It helps them to learn to cook, drive a car, construct a resume etc. All of these things are key to enabling the children to grow up and flourish outside the orphanage walls. They are always expanding their work in Guatemala, a new project they have recently begun is teaching some of the children who have left the orphanage to roast coffee which they then sell and all proceeds (excluding their wage obviously)goes straight back in to the orphanage. It’s these kind of initiatives we want to help them progress.
Amy, you volunteered in 2013 as a school teacher at Story International. How that experienced affected you personally and business wise?
Volunteering with Story international was a truly eye opening, humbling and incredible experience. I definitely gained a new perspective on life and it changed my view on things I valued in my life. The experience definitely affected me business wise, as I knew that I didn’t only want to give back to the children, I wanted the business as a whole to be ethical and sustainable ensuring that no-one or anything was exploited, having seen exploitation first hand it really makes you aware that turning a blind eye or being ignorant is not acceptable nor an option. I fell in love with the amazing children, they are so beautiful and I/ we hope this business will provide a sustainable flow they can rely on to make a difference.
As a woman entrepreneur, what are the most significant obstacles to women's leadership today?
I believe the greatest obstacle to women’s leadership is not believing in yourself and because of that not giving something a try. Pursue your passions and dreams, despite whatever obstacles may come your way. It can only make you stronger, more resilient and a better leader. Great triumphs come through great trials.
How do you both maintain a work/life balance?
We have date nights! But seriously, we do and we have a no work discussion rule. We are also very much in the mind that each other are more important and that is number 1! We ensure that we see each other as number 1 in our lives, and the Business comes after that.
Photo Credit: Chris & Amy
What has been the dynamic working together as husband and wife?
It works great, we both have very different strengths that complement each other well, we are both passionate about what we do, I don’t think it would work otherwise. We make a good team as husband and wife so we work well together in the business too. If we have a disagreement we make sure we discuss it so it doesn’t get brought home. We resolve any issues there and then!
Do you have any advice to share with like-minded entrepreneurs, who are just starting out in the industry?
Just do it! And keep going! The start up process wouldn’t be normal if it was plane sailing!
Where would you like to see Hope in Planks in 5 years?
An expanded product range, and with our products being stocked in a number of stores around the UK. We would love to be in a position where we are providing a large regular stream of money to Story International.
Will there be new products available for your customers? If yes, can you give us a preview?
Yes, we have two new products which are available for pre-order (pictures below) which we are super excited about.
Photo Credit: www.hopeinplanks.com (Floating Oak key Hook)
Photo Credit: www.hopeinplanks.com (Single Oak Candle Holder)
Where is Hope in Planks located and where can we purchase your products?
Hope in Planks is located in Plymouth UK and you can purchase our products from www.hopeinplanks.com and we ship worldwide.