About our founder
Determined to meet the world, Shelby jumps at the opportunity to experience a new culture face to face. During her time at Ole Miss, she spent a summer serving in a township called Sir Lowry’s Pass in South Africa that truly changed the trajectory of her story. After graduating in 2013, she wanted to move to a third world country to gain nursing experience and contribute to a community in need before going back to nursing school in the States. One of her “second mothers” convinced her to look into Guatemala. Her parents said “no” but the middle-child in Shelby said “yes”. She had no idea what she was saying “yes” to.
When she wasn’t giving colonoscopies in the hospital or holding her purposed-full handicapped patients, Shelby was trying to become as local as her height and southern accent would let her. Two things kept Shelby up at night (well, three including the noises of firecrackers, volcanic eruptions and earthquake rattles): opportunity and talent.
What’s a dream without a doer? Just an idea in the clouds.
In October of 2013, Shelby and her friend Ty formed a 501(c)(3) as a way to open doors of opportunity for the Guatemalans. Today, Project Apoyo exists to provide education and employment through hands-on love. Get involved with their work at www.projectapoyo.org.
A year later, Shelby moved back home to Atlanta (kicking and screaming) after being accepted to nursing school to follow her plans. Half-way to the finish line of becoming a Registered Nurse, the nursing school drop-out realized she left untapped talent back in Guatemala. Her own and the artisans of Guatemala. However, her self-taught designs and love for fashion seemed first-world and materialistic compared to the third-world needs that set her on fire. Looking beyond the almost encumbering poverty, the talent of her artisan friends among the hills and valleys of Guatemala was too big to overlook.
One sketch later, with the help of Gladys’ woven details and Orlando’s leather-worked hands, Hazlo Handmade was no longer an idea. It was a means to preserve a multigenerational handicraft by connecting third-world hands with first-world hands through design.