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The opinions of the employees of s You are personal.
Her job as a civil servant and her concern for the needs of others, He prompted Judith Rodríguez to organize and create a platform that would enable her to teach entrepreneurs and encourage them to do business for themselves.
Judith is the founder of the Asociación Brazos y Manos de Puebla, a founder, trainer and sponsor of entrepreneurs with new ideas who are looking for support to start their own business in the best possible way.
The influence of her grandfather was crucial for her to be interested in helping people in precarious situations. After a few years as an official, she decided it was time to start something new.
“I no longer introduced myself as an employee. I wanted to go to a point where I could do a little more to apply everything I had learned, “said Judith Rodríguez in an interview with s in Spanish.
Judith had found a market opportunity with a service that was aimed directly at people. With his savings and knocking on the doors, he started Brazos y Manos in 2014.
The “Amazon for artisans”
Gradually the entrepreneur Defining where his efforts should go to make a difference from what he had done, he developed the Mercaideas platform, a marketing and innovation tool for entrepreneurs focused on craft products, in parallel. The idea of this web tool is to help artisans to act differently and to achieve the same social impact that the association was aiming for from the beginning.
“The craft represents roots, part of our culture, and the people who make them use old techniques and make unique pieces, so we wanted to save that value and be proud to be able to consume a Mexican product and re-evaluate those products.” says Judith.
The platform is designed to help all artisans in Mexico showcase their products and embark on a new way of doing business that doesn’t require them to depend on others to cover the cost of their products.
Anyone can enter the website and explore all of the handmade products offered. As with Amazon, you can order what you want and get it in a few days.
Goods vary from clothing to grooming pets, including drinks and groceries that you can send home if you’re looking for something more original when buying groceries.
The website was launched days before the delivery given the COVID-19 health crisis. However, the performance of the platform has been better than expected as people who are economically affected by the pandemic have the opportunity to become self-employed through the platform. Fan shop retains 8.7% commission and gives artisans the opportunity to collect the fair price their products deserve.
The idea of this web tool is to help artisans do something else / Image: Courtesy of Mercaideas
Judith mentions that one of the most important challenges for her is to gain people’s trust in her work. She always tells her employees that they have to do our job well “because it is our introductory letter”. Honesty, transparency, ethics, not raising false expectations and managing things in the best possible way were essential to make agreements and alliances with the communities.
Gradually, the artisans came to Mercaideas through groups or on recommendation. The alliances with companies such as the Coca-Cola Foundation, including FINSA, have helped them to strengthen their presence as an institution and to support them in training courses.
Women were an important sector for this training because, according to Judith, “we found many shortcomings, they really wanted to do something, but they didn’t know how to use a computer or sales techniques or a simple detail, but they really have no knowledge.” .
By 2021, Brazos y Manos plans to continue its mission to promote the consumption of handcrafted products and the cultural and economic sustainability of rural communities through Mercaideas to “support purchasing from our national producers”.
On the other hand, promoting self-employment is just as important: “If you don’t have the opportunity to pay for a company or a permanent location, you can set up a channel for marketing your products via web platforms without having to invest.” Mercaideas is already operational, so only artisans are required to advertise their products.
Ultimately, his goal is to position himself as a location where artisans across Latin America can sell their products at a fair price.
Traditional business models are weakening, we are entering another phase in which we must see change as an opportunity for innovation, “said Judith regarding the health crisis and the emerging changes.
Mercaideas is already in operation, so only the participation of artisans is required to advertise their products / Image: Courtesy of Brazos y Manos
The social responsibility they have as an association is to contribute to Mexico so that businesses in need of help are preserved and continue to generate income. “Everyone’s circumstances are different, but now is the time to get rid of the fear and move on,” Judith concludes.