Hope in Planks was born out of the desire to be able to support charitable purposes sustainably. Founded by Chris and Amy Teague in 2014, the brand creates FSC certified handmade wooden homeware from their home in Devon.
In 2012, Amy made the brave decision to leave home and volunteer as a teacher in Guatemala for a year at an orphanage. To fund the venture she founded “The Pound Campaign” and managed to raise over £6,000 to help build the school she would be working at. Upon returning to the UK where she met her husband Chris, the couple wanted to continue supporting the orphans Amy had spent her time with.
“I had the most incredible time of my life volunteering with the children in Guatemala. It was a true eye opener to the reality of day to day life for these children. There are almost a hundred children there and many have escaped abusive families. It was a life-changing experience and I want to continue to support them.”
10% from each item sold will support a transitional programme at the orphanage and school in Huehuetenango run by Story International. The 12 month programme helps children leaving the orphanage at 18 to learn life skills such as managing a budget and cooking for themselves, to prepare them to live independently.
Amy says: “We want to support the orphanage in a sustainable way. I know first-hand how charities can struggle to find funding, so we came up with the idea of a business that provides useful and quality products, but also gives back and supports great charitable work at the same time.”
We chatted to Amy and Chris to find out more about Hope in Planks …
Having volunteered ourselves we know that it can be a long process to find the perfect NGO to work with. How did you come about Story International?
To be honest it was mostly chance, I had just returned from travelling the world and begun a marketing job. I found I was just itching to travel again but wanted to make a difference too. I spoke fluent Spanish and really enjoyed travelling in Central and Southern America so began searching opportunities out there. For some reason Guatemala sprung to mind and I found Story International and before I knew it I was teaching out there.
What was it like living and teaching in Guatemala for a whole year?
I had the best time of my life, it’s such an amazing country and culture. The food is amazing!It was also real eye opener to see day to day life for these kids, it doesn’t become real until you are there; we don’t realise how much we take for granted.
From teaching to coming home to Devon and deciding to start Hope in Planks to support the orphanage, was it hard to initially set up the support system that allows 10% of the profits to go back to the orphanage?
Yes it was hard took a lot of time to find the right suppliers and get the product finalised, especially when you want to make the products sustainably, but it was so worth the time.
Where did the inspiration come from to use wood as a material?
Have you any plans for the future?
We would like to continue developing the range. We have a few ideas up our sleeve but we are still developing these. Keep your eyes peeled!
To see more of Hope in Planks, venture over to their website here.