OCEAN CITY – Tucked away in South Bethany is a place called Made by Hand, where one can shop from the streets of the world’s marketplaces to fulfill a mission, which is simply to make the world a better place.
Husband and wife, Marco Hernandez and Kimberly Grimes, have dedicated their heart and soul to their Fair Trade retail store, Made by Hand, for the last 15 years.
Grimes explained that the couple wears different hats when it comes to their career but it all intertwines with Made by Hand. She is an anthropologist, author and has taught at the University of Arizona and now the University of Delaware. Hernandez started out in accounting but found what truly made him happy is being a Latin American folk musician playing all traditional instruments. They have traveled the world together to explore the many villages and cultures of others.
Grimes explained that during her time at the University of Arizona her main interest became poverty alleviation.
“I firmly believe that if we can eradicate poverty in the world, 90 percent of all of our other problems will just disappear,” she said.
She said that it all began when they walked into a Fair Trade members store in Houston, Texas., where they first began to learn about the network. After attending several conferences, visiting a few of southern Mexico’s participating villages, and witnessing the difference Fair Trade made in the communities she and Hernandez knew they had to become part of the federation.
“To tell you the truth we didn’t have much business knowledge…we just knew it was good and we knew we wanted to help people,” Grimes said
The Fair Trade Federation is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty. The Federation envisions a just and sustainable global economic system in which purchasing and production choices are made with concern for the well-being of people and the environment, creating a world where all people have viable economic options to meet their own needs.
“It’s actually a pretty simple concept,” Grimes said. “There is just a lot of people in business that believe business should have ethics and that you shouldn’t exploit people, especially enslaved children, or young girls in sweat shops…we just feel that is wrong.”
Made by Hand is 100 percent Fair Trade retail with products from 38 countries in all product categories.
Grimes said that every year they have been in business their sales have grown.
“It is really the consumer that has all the power,” she said. “If people choose to buy Fair Trade products, or if they choose to buy things that they know have been made in a sustainable manner, they are not only being socially responsible to people ethically but also environmentally sustainable.”
Made by Hand offers but is not limited to clothing, accessories, jewelry, stationary, coffee, candy, rugs, and ceramics. All the merchandise is exquisitely perfected by the artists own hands and are all labeled with each pieces story and cause.
“In this world there is enough for everyone’s needs but not enough for everyone’s greed,” Grimes said. “I really think if you give people an opportunity and you give them hope, they really can change the world.”