This Stay-at-Home Mom Earned $1K on the Side While Supporting an Awesome Charity

starfish project
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Looking for a way to earn money at home — while also helping women halfway across the world?

Then you might be as excited as I was to learn about a cool organization called Starfish Project.

This jewelry vendor employs women who have been trafficked in Asia, with 100% of profits funding its education and empowerment programs.

Not only is Starfish Project jewelry beautiful and reasonably priced, but it also offers you an opportunity to make money from home.

By becoming an “Advocate of Hope” with the organization, you’ll earn a 25% commission on any jewelry you sell.

Stay-at-home mom Brittany Terui started selling Starfish Project jewelry as a way to supplement her family’s income — and in only eight months, she’s earned more than $1,000!

If you’re interested in learning how to earn money from home and support trafficked women, keep reading…

What is Starfish Project?

Starfish Project was founded in 2006 to support and empower women who have been victims of trafficking in Asia. It currently employs more than 35 women, many of whom have been physically, emotionally and sexually abused.

The women participate in all aspects of the business, from hand-making the pieces to assisting in marketing and distribution. In return, Starfish Project says, “Each woman earns a salary that keeps them off the street and in a dignified working environment.”

But Starfish Project provides more than just employment. It also offers “housing, counseling, educational opportunities, vocational training and health care.” You can read more about its mission here.

The organization can’t publicly reveal its location, which might seem strange — but its founder said that’s due to the risk of local government interference. She did share the project’s location with me over email, and then I did my best to further vet the organization.

During my research, I learned Starfish Project is a registered 501(c)(3) that has worked with the United Nations and World Vision. It has also received grants from Geneva Global and the Kering Foundation, and if those organizations trusted it, I’m confident you can, too.

Can You Really Earn Money With Starfish Project?

What sets Starfish Project apart from other nonprofit organizations is the fact you can earn money while supporting it.

If you’d like to get involved, you have two options:

1. Become an Advocate of Hope

As an Advocate of Hope, you’ll host in-person and virtual jewelry parties for your personal network.

To do this, you have to first purchase a starter party kit for $125 or $275. These kits include everything from jewelry samples to invitations, catalogs and order forms.  

For each piece of jewelry you sell, you’ll earn a 25% commission. You’ll also get a unique affiliate link so you can promote the products online.

In eight months as an Advocate, Terui has earned more than $1,000. After purchasing her first party pack for $125, she hosted three live parties, as well as a “handful of Facebook parties.”

During a Facebook party, one of your connections hosts a virtual event and invites their friends. In addition to your 25% commission on any jewelry sold, your friend also receives a 10% cut.

“I’ll have the party open for maybe three days to a week, whatever the hostess decides,” explains Terui.

“They’ll invite all their friends… and then throughout the week, I’ll keep posting things about Starfish Project, a little bit about what they do and the women and post pictures. Then I’ll put my link on there so they buy through my link during that time.”

By having other people host parties, you can reach a new network of people with whom you can share the Starfish Project story.

2. Become an Affiliate

If you don’t have $125 to invest in a starter kit, or would rather not host parties in person, you can sign up as a Starfish Project affiliate.

Becoming an affiliate has no upfront costs, and gets you a unique tracking link to share on social media. When people buy jewelry through your link, you’ll earn a 15% commission.

If you’re unsure whether selling jewelry is for you, this might be a good way to dip your toes in the water.

For Terui, a busy mother to a 5- and 2-year-old, working with Starfish Project has been an excellent way to earn a side income while raising money for a cause she cares about.

Though direct-sales positions can sometimes grate on your personal network, Terui hasn’t found that to be the case with Starfish Project.

“People have said nothing but good things,” she says. “I honestly feel like I don’t have to push hard at all, because the jewelry is pretty enough that it sells itself, but then you put the story behind it — and people that care about people, they can’t help but want to support it.”

She recommends becoming an Advocate to “stay-at-home moms or anybody that even has a few hours to spend at parties. Really anybody can do it… definitely anybody with a passion for people.”

Why? Because it allows you to earn money from home — money you feel good about.

“The money is a nice bonus, and that allows me to be able to put more time into it… but the women are the most important,” she says.

For her, the best thing about being is a Starfish Advocate is, “Knowing that what I’m doing is helping my own family, as well as these women… and seeing the change this can make in their lives.”

Your Turn: What do you think of Starfish Project? Would you sell its jewelry as an Advocate or affiliate?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.