Sarah Hackman Principal


Thousands of Rwandan women are trapped in survival sex work because of generational poverty. The nonprofit organization DuHope provides counseling, spiritual development, and vocational training so Rwandan women can break the cycle of poverty, heal from trauma, and live empowered lives.

The women who participate in the DuHope program become artisans, crafting beautiful jewelry inspired by Rwandan culture. Their work is available for purchase online and in US boutique stores.

As DuHope sought to expand its retail presence, the organization engaged Hackman Creative to design and produce a display to show off the jewelry. More importantly, they desired a way to connect customers with the women behind the earrings, bracelets, and necklaces–women who broke the cycle of poverty to live empowered lives.

CONCEPT: Project Requirements
The final display needed to be:
- Engineered to support and display the jewelry
- Designed to engage customers with words and images
- Affordable to print
- Easy for operations staff to ship to wholesale buyers
- Easy for boutique store owners to set up and display
- Space-efficient for flexible set up and placement in varying retail settings

Hackman Creative designed a solution to meet all of these requirements.

EXECUTION: The Messaging and Design Process
To start, Hackman Creative guided DuHope through a brand messaging process following the StoryBrand framework, a marketing approach rooted in storytelling. We used the 7-part framework to clarify DuHope's messaging and craft a compelling brand narrative.

Then we turned our attention to applying the new messaging to the jewelry display. Recognizing the need to keep our solution affordable, we began our design research with print production options. We found a print vendor willing to talk through project goals and collaborate on the best printing solution. Custom corrugated cardboard printing was cost-prohibitive, so we determined a preset display would address the production price concern. However, most preset display formats had little room for customization and weren't the right size for varying jewelry types and their packaging.

We landed on a 12" x9" x3" box design (often used for custom-printed gift boxes or by companies that offer monthly subscriptions) that would transform into a display. When shipped with materials to assemble–adhesive squares, jewelry hooks, wooden strips for additional support, and illustrated instructions–store owners could set up the display within minutes.

After the print production research and structural planning, we began the design phase. We choose to pair words from the newly developed brand narrative with images of DuHope's artisans to tell the story visually.

The box's lid features the words "this is what empowerment looks like" with a close-up image of a Rwandan woman's hands assembling beads on a necklace. The front lid flap carries the mission statement. Three side panels have language from the value proposition and images of three artisans with QR codes customers can scan to hear their stories. The back panel displays information about the organization itself.

Since the box is designed to turn into a display, the inside lid is an image of these women's workspace in Rwanda. Small Xs mark locations for necklace and earring jewelry hooks.

The left and right flaps have images of the women–the left side speaks to the problem that DuHope solves ("Thousands of Rwandan women are trapped in survival sex work because of generational poverty" with an image of a woman on the street of Rwanda at night ) and the right side speak to the outcome or success the women experience ("Your jewelry purchase helps Rwandan women end generational poverty and provide for their families with dignity" with portraits of aristans in traditional Rwandan dress.)

The bottom of the box interior is lined with a geometric pattern inspired by African kitenge from the region. Smaller jewelry items such as bracelets are displayed here.

OUTCOME: Engaging Retail Packaging and Display
Store owners get an unboxing experience with the product and are more connected with the DuHope product and its story. The box's 12" x9" footprint provides a space-efficient display that doesn't require a store to reconfigure their merchandising to fit a new product line.

As wholesalers order products, the DuHope operations team fills each display box with jewelry and ships in a larger box so the printed display box is shipped without mailing labels directly on it. Instructions for assembly are included with the display along with a letter to the wholesaler, which adds to the boutique store owner's unboxing experience.

When Hackman Creative developed this display design solution, we determined a second use for the box. DuHope board members received sample products with the newly designed box so they can share DuHope within their communities. Rather than setting up the box for a retail display, board members use the box as functional packaging as they show off sample jewelry, sell necklaces, or ask for donations toward the organization at community events, book clubs, and so on.

The packaging design met the initial goal of retail display and provided a solution to a second problem the organization had yet to address. The final design also sparked future marketing strategy ideas, including jewelry house party kits or subscription boxes to DuHope products.

While many nonprofit organizations struggle to communicate their story, DuHope has a clear message for their mission-driven brand. Their product stands out on boutique store shelves with creative packaging and display design. Not only is the design solution financially and environmentally sustainable, but it has also sparked future marketing strategies to grow the organization's reach.


Brand Messaging & Packaging Design to expand retail presence of DuHope’s mission-based jewelry