One Cedarville University student’s passion for Haiti, and recent love for jewelry, is the inspiration behind a self-run, charitable business.
Mercy Bracelets, founded by junior management student Hannah Lamarco, of Victor, has raised $4,800 for the construction of Mercy Hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti.
In May 2018, Lamarco served on a two-week mission trip to Haiti with a Cedarville global outreach team to help build Mercy Hospital. After returning to the U.S. with bracelets she purchased in Haiti for her friends, Lamarco continued to express a passion for the people of Les Cayes.
“I felt this personal call that God was not done with me there yet,” she said.
Lamarco wanted to serve in Haiti, but also complete her business degree at Cedarville in Ohio. She remembered the bracelets, and formulated an idea to sell bracelets to friends, family and students on campus. She researched the process of making the jewelry and starting a limited liability company. This was the beginning of Mercy Bracelets.
The bracelets range from $10 to $15. Lamarco’s motto is “Turning Bracelets into Bricks,” because $5 of every bracelet helps fund the construction of Mercy Hospital. Each bracelet comes with the name of a child in Haiti who is waiting to receive medical care in the hospital.
“The first three to four weeks of operating was just testing, seeing what sizes would fit best, what beads would be the best, what string would be the best and what is the best way to tie them,” Lamarco said.
Lamarco has made more than 600 bracelets by hand in four months with the help of a few friends. She creates them, buys supplies, researches patterns and styles, markets her products through a website, and ships them across the U.S. Her background in retail, paired with knowledge from her business classes, contributed to the success of Mercy Bracelets.
“I feel like I’ve always had a sense of how to pick styles and what customers like,” she said. “I start off with a color palette, and then I go to the wholesalers where I get most of my supplies from and see what they have.”
Lamarco’s business classes helped her develop and manage her LLC.
“The classes I’m taking now are teaching me conceptually how to delegate and how to operate things,” she said. “Even more than that are the business professors, David Ormsbee and Diedrich Prigge, who have been so helpful in their experience and expertise.”
Lamarco ships bracelets all over the U.S. and delivers them to Cedarville students, faculty and staff through campus mail.
“Ever since the beginning of this, I did not know how many I was going to sell,” she said. “I remember the night I thought of it, I counted nine people who I thought would buy a bracelet.”
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