Meet the husband and wife team of Chris and Amy Teague, founders of Hope in Planks(HIP). They sell beautiful solid wooden home ware designed by themselves in the city of Plymouth and sustainably made in Devon, England (FSC certified wood) HIP also give 10% of every sale to an orphanage they work closely with in Guatemala.
“As a business we just want to sustainably make a difference to the orphans in particular as we grow we want to support the orphans who are due to leave or already left by providing them with the skills they need to succeed in life and hopefully investing in small businesses which they run.” – Chris Teague
Below is a Q&A with Chris, Co-founder of Hope in Planks
Talk about the journey of how you and your wife decided to start HIP.
Its two fold. Amy lived and worked in an orphanage in Guatemala as a teacher for a year and absolutely loved it. When she came back to the UK she didn’t want the connection to end there, but wasn’t sure how to keep supporting the orphanage.
On my side I studied economics and got fascinated by how to best support developing countries. I discovered one of the best ways was to help them support themselves.
Together we just wanted to run a business that made a difference. We love wooden home-wares and started looking into whether it was feasible to make, sell them, and give back. We quickly saw there was a possibility and that very few other wooden home-ware companies had such a mission, so we decided to chase after this opportunity. Now here we are six months later with our products and its going great.
When customers purchase a product from HIP, what do you hope that donation on the backend of the sale will do?
As to the donations, our long term aim is that the donations will invest in the orphans due to leave the orphanage. We hope we can support them and help set up small businesses and provide training to enter the world, which can be very hard after leaving an orphanage.
All of your products are made from top quality FSC certified wood. For those who may not know what that means can you explain what that is and why its important?
We really wanted our products to be responsible, so we wanted to make sure the wood used was sustainably sourced. The wood we use is FSC certified, which means the wood is from a well managed forest and this covers the protection of indigenous people’s.
Do you make the products ourselves? In your home or do you have an office that you make them out of?
We design the products, varnish and brand them in our office/ spare room. The wood is sourced and cut by a wood working business an hour up the road.
What is the name of the orphanage that the company is supporting?
The name of the orphanage is Fundacion Salvacion and it part of a non profit called Story international and a huge part of their work is the orphanage with around 100 children. As part of the non profit they run a programme called El Puente which helps provide those due to leave the orphanage because they are too old with the skills to succeed in life. They also run Daughters of Purpose which is a temporary, emergency shelter for teens moms and women needing relief and protection from severe or life threatening situations. The shelter houses anywhere from 20-45 girls at any given time.
So it is amazing to help support the work they do!
Can you give us an idea of how many of the orphans are due to leave the orphanage each year?
Its around 5 or 6 but can vary. We hope to invest in the projects supporting the guys leaving the orphanage they have some great initiatives. They are teaching the guys on the El Puente programme to roast coffee and have set up a great coffee house providing a couple of the orphans with jobs a training too check it out http://www.storyintl.org/learn/our-businesses
What other products do you plan to make in the future?
So we have just released our floating oak key hook and our single oak candle holder which are due to arrive in a couple of weeks! In the future we hope to keep expanding our home wares; we have some more designs up our sleeves but nothing concrete yet.