by Karina Brady, Student Public Relations Writer
One Cedarville University student’s passion for Haiti, and recent love for jewelry, has inspired a self-run, charitable business.
Mercy Bracelets, founded this summer by junior business management student Hannah Lamarco, has raised $4,800 for the construction of Mercy Hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti.
In May 2018, Lamarco served on a two-week missions trip to Haiti with a Cedarville University Global Outreach team. During this trip, Lamarco and the student team helped build Mercy Hospital.
After returning to the U.S. with a handful of 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 she also wanted to complete her business degree at Cedarville. Her heart seemed to be pulling her in two different directions.
Lamarco prayed often, seeking God’s direction. She remembered the bracelets and formulated an idea to sell bracelets to friends, family and students on campus. She began researching the process of making the jewelry and starting a limited liability company (LLC). This was the beginning of Mercy Bracelets.
Mercy Bracelet prices range from $10-15. 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. Lamarco encourages customers to pray for those children each time they wear their bracelet.
“The first three to four weeks of operating was just testing,” Lamarco said, “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 has made more than 600 bracelets by hand in just four months with the help of a few friends. She not only creates them, but she buys supplies, researches patterns and styles, markets her products through a website, mercybracelets.com, and ships them across the U.S.
Lamarco’s background in retail, paired with knowledge from her business classes, has 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 Cedarville business classes have 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. I remember the night I thought of it, I counted nine people who I thought would buy a bracelet,” she said. Lamarco gives all credit for her success to God, saying, “It’s God’s business.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.