What is ButterPear? 

ButterPear started in 2017 as a grassroots effort to raise funds in Liberia, West Africa for student education fees K-12. Becky Trout launched ButterPear as a way for her friends and family to support small businesses of Liberian artists to help send their children to school and to develop a customer base that connected her community straight to the artists who make their goods. Throughout the years it has grown to not only a fair-trade social enterprise but also a way for the Refugee and Immigrant community in Cleveland to connect with their culture back in their home countries. 

How does ButterPear impact refugees living in Cleveland? 

ButterPear slowly morphed into a maker-space e-commerce store for not only artists in Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Mali, but also here with refugees in Cleveland. We’ve been able to fundraise for specific needs that our refugee community in Cleveland raises awareness for. Being able to have artists create items that ultimately support their small business all while the profits support their own communities has been ButterPears number one goal. 

In 2020, ButterPear was able to hire 8 refugee women in Cleveland to sew masks. We were able to produce over 5,000 masks hand sewn to be purchased all while donating 3,000 more masks, $1500 in food relief in Liberia and Congo, and rent relief for a few families facing difficulties. Here are a few of our sewing sisters who helped lead the way! 


“We all know we are helping, it’s not that we are just trying to make money,” said Victoire Pilipilian artist that worked to create masks.  

What have you (Becky Trout, founder of ButterPear) learned from the creation of this business, and the amazing women that contribute? 

What I’ve learned from all of the amazing women we work with is that they will get the job done not only to completion but with excellence. I am always amazed at the creativity and drive behind each of the women we come in contact with. All are mothers, caregivers, business owners and they find ways to come together to create the most amazing items. There is a different sense of pride when it comes to showcasing their work. I love that I can not only know directly who these items come from but also know that the woman who made my baskets is paving the way for her daughter to become her own businesswoman as well. It makes that basket so much more valuable. There’s always a knock-off item, but there’s only one that comes straight from the source that’s going to lead the way. There’s an old African proverb I heard a lot in Liberia,  

If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate village 

Hearing that old proverb and seeing it be put into action with the women we work with across the world and here in Cleveland has been why ButterPear exists.