I have a lot of memories of visiting the market (el Mercado) in San Pedro Sula (Honduras) while growing up and always felt a sense of amazement. Even though, it felt crowded and busy, there was always the sense that it was “the” place where most trade happened among locals. Yes, you could visit a supermarket instead, but why would you when the local market had the freshest, cheapest, more organic options while getting to buy directly from the producer. The most enjoyable part for me visiting as a child was the getting a view at all of the colorful products, at times being made before your eyes, such as piñatas, paintings and other handmade products. It gave me the impression that they were delicately making that product and taking all of the necessary time for it to look perfect.
So, when I faced having to decide how to go about raising funds for Pour Favor, I simply thought, I will sell handmade products. It was no longer a new concept (like TOMS shoes I thought!) as some have been successfully raising funds that way.
I had confidence in the handmade products and understood firsthand how resourceful, culturally rich and organically talented (difficult to explain) handcrafters there are.
It would help me demonstrate the talent, capability, and resourcefulness of the handcrafters (mostly women) whom I was going to help.
This would also give me an opportunity to showcase a unique handmade product(s) for people around the world to appreciate and use. I needed a product that would be useful, fashionable that would tell a story of the culture and would represent the artist well, yet cool enough for it not to be considered a simple souvenir. I also wanted something I believed in and felt necessary.
So, I decided on the huipil handbags (pronounced ˈwipil’) and that became my flagship “product”.
This was the perfect product to showcase the cultural, indigenous and artistic skillfulness of Central American history and one that I couldn’t live without.
The bags were also easy for transporting and shipping purposes too.
Once the product and handcrafters were tracked down and onboard, I made my investment and made my program official. I was helping the artist/craft-makers while also raising funds for women’s education with the sales of the products. Soon after in the spring on 2015 (yes, last year) I opened up the virtual shop and made my first sale. That was the most exhilarating moment, full of joy, cheers and happy tears (thank you Sophia, I love you!). My first sale became the confirmation that I was on the right track. It has filled my heart with joy and hope to this day! (reflected on Is 58:8)