Empower women. Eliminate poverty.


A Trademark for Handmade by Friendship Bridge®

Handmade by Friendship Bridge® Receives Registered Trademark Status

“Having an official trademark is something we’ve been wanting for quite some time now. This is definitely a brand milestone for Handmade by Friendship Bridge® and we’re extremely thankful to everyone who made this possible.”
– Maya Colop-Morales, Manager, Handmade by Friendship Bridge®

You may have noticed the “®” next to our name and logo at Handmade by Friendship Bridge®. Although it may seem like a small change, the “R” inside the circle stands for “registered,” and is, in fact, a very BIG deal for Friendship Bridge and the operations of our social enterprise. The federal trademark registration symbol shows that we now officially own our trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, and has major benefits as we continue to develop the brand of our artisan program and online store.

Handmade by Friendship Bridge® provides the artisan clients of Friendship Bridge with acquiring the skills, education, learning experiences, support, and technical assistance they need to reach their potential and independently sell their handmade products in local, national, and international markets. In 2021 alone, the program facilitated the sales of 4,700 products via its online store, resulting in $100,000 in sales. In this post, you’ll learn about the significance of this newly-granted trademark and learn about the origin story of Handmade by Friendship Bridge, a growing and wildly successful program empowering women in Guatemala to build a better life.

The Evolution of Handmade by Friendship Bridge®

Friendship Bridge has evolved substantially since our work started in Guatemala in 1998. We are continuously diversifying our loan products and programs to meet the ever-evolving needs of the women we serve, many of whom are living in poverty with limited economic opportunities.

In our quest to continuously improve, we discovered through surveys and research that our clients who primarily earned income through the sales of their traditional handmade products were looking for access to new markets in order to bolster their income. Many of the women who fell into this category simultaneously faced geographical and language barriers and/or did not have the business skills necessary to thrive in today’s marketplace. In response to this need, the Artisan Market Access Program was launched in 2015. The program was renamed in 2019, then rebranded and trademarked as Handmade by Friendship Bridge®.

“Along with the trademark, in 2021 Handmade by Friendship Bridge®  implemented operational technologies such as an inventory and SKU system. These enhancements support our strategic plan of growth, allowing the program to grow and bolster market opportunities for clients in the program.”
– Nicole Eubanks, Chief Development Officer, Friendship Bridge

Handmade by Friendship Bridge® is a Microcredit Plus service of Friendship Bridge. Microcredit Plus collectively refers to the innovative and high-impact approach to poverty alleviation we use which combines the tools of microfinance, education, and preventive health services. Learn more about what Handmade by Friendship Bridge® does here.

Acquisition of the Trademark

By definition, a trademark is a legal protection given to any word, name, symbol, or design that is used in commerce to identify the product of one manufacturer from another. Trademarks are sometimes confused with copyrights; however, copyrights protect artistic endeavors like novels, works of visual art, short stories, characters’ names and fictional worlds, songs, code, and other types of creations that do not explicitly exist for commercial purposes. Trademarks protect intellectual property that does exist for explicitly commercial purposes, like brand names, logos, taglines, and slogans.

Furthermore, the name and logo must be registered separately—we have both a word (brand name Handmade by Friendship Bridge®) as well as a logo trademark. Trademarks can potentially last forever, but they do need to be renewed every 10 years.

It typically takes about six to nine months for the trademark to be issued after filing the application. In December 2021, we received the official Certificate of Registration for the Handmade by Friendship Bridge® trademark.

Benefits of the Trademark

Trademarks offer various benefits, many of which are interrelated. They enable businesses to:

  • build trust with consumers;
  • establish a consistent brand identity;
  • increase their brand recognition;
  • drive more traffic to their sites and amplify their social media presence.

They also enable businesses to further differentiate their brand from similar brands in the marketplace. We know that there are similar organizations in the marketplace; however, this trademark is a highly valuable asset that continues to set us apart. As the Handmade by Friendship Bridge® team continues pursuing partnerships, be they with corporations, non-governmental organizations, boutiques and stores, influencers, and other platforms; they hope to harness the trademark’s potential to strengthen the brand’s credibility and overall presence.

“At the end of the day, we hope that this will increase the visibility of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® and result in increased sales of these incredibly talented women’s handmade products. Every purchase directly impacts their lives, and seeing the excitement on their faces when we tell them about orders that just came in…it’s always priceless.”
– Maya Colop-Morales, Manager, Handmade by Friendship Bridge®

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