About Manos Preciosas
Manos Preciosas, S.A./Precious Hands LLC is a company based in Antigua, Guatemala and Louisville, Kentucky, USA and is owned and run by Irma Yolanda Zuleta (Antigua, Guatemala) Alfredo Hernandez Lopez (Antigua, Guatemala) and John Barker (Frankfurt, Germany).
Precious Hands/Manos Preciosas is a producer and export company of Mayan and Guatemalan Hand Made products working closely with artisans. Precious Hands is proud to train, design, produce, market and sell handmade high quality products from Guatemala to all over the world. Precious Hands commits part of its profits to their micro loan program, which provides long-lasting and sustainable assistance to individuals in the communities where their artisans live and work. Through the program, individuals can earn fair wages, grow their businesses, and prosper, thus improving their lives and the lives of their children.
Irma Yolanda Zuleta:
Co-founder, owner, and director oversees operations in Guatemala. Irma is Guatemalan and she attended and graduated from high school in the United States (1979-1988). She has worked in the handicraft production and export business for more than 25 years. Prior to establishing Precious Hands/Manos Preciosas with John Barker, Irma worked for 3 years in a clothing boutique, (Guatemalan textiles) in sales which was part of the international jade factory, known as the first jade company based in Antigua, Guatemala and she spent 14 years building and managing a Guatemalan operations for an European based handicraft export company. All of this hands-on experience, working with her people, the artisans, in Guatemala and clients from around the world has given Irma a unique perspective on all aspects of the handicraft export business.
Irma lives in Antigua, Guatemala where she has a shop to sell high quality handmade products and a workshop to design and produce. She also travels to the nearby villages in Antigua and many others in the highlands of Guatemala to work with and visit the artisans and their families in their homes where they create and produce their handmade crafts. Irma recognizes that the success she has enjoyed in the handicraft export business is primarily due to the trust and respect she has developed over the years listening to and sharing her knowledge with her people, the artisans.
Participating in international trade shows in Frankfurt and New York has made it possible for Irma to meet with and discuss Guatemalan handicrafts with clients from around the world. An example of this is when she explains why products made from original huipils cannot be made in other colors or designs or in large quantities in a short time. Huipils are one-of-a-kind hand-weaved clothes made and worn as blouses by the Mayan women. Since the women make these huipils for themselves they use the best possible raw materials and workmanship.
Over the years Irma has been honest and open with her artisans and clients and in turn they have come to respect her and remain loyal to her. Irma's greatest joy, in her own words is "to introduce my clients from around the world to my people, the artisans, and their beautiful handmade crafts".
Edgar Alfredo Hernandez Lopez:
Director and General Manager of Operations in Antigua, Guatemala. Born and raised in Antigua, Guatemala, Alfredo has been involved in all aspects of the handicraft industry from an early age. He has worked as an artisan in several different mediums such as ceramics, wood, leather and jade.
Even though in the past several years Alfredo has focused most of his efforts on management, overseeing production and international sales he still finds time to get his hands dirty designing and producing several new products and working closely with artisans on their new creations.
Alfredo's first-hand experience as a Guatemalan artisan and in sales and export gives him a unique perspective, enabling him to work closely with both the artisans and clients alike.
Oscar Enrique Haz Zuleta:
Sales Manager oversees Store Sales in Antigua Guatemala.
Jose David Henandez Lopez:
Product and Design Manager.
USA Operation Team
John Barker, MD:
Co-founder and Director, oversees operations based in Frankfurt Germany.
John is Argentine-American, born in the US and has lived many years in the US, Europe and Latin America. Though he was trained as a Surgeon and Scientist he says his true vocation is as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
As an entrepreneur John has started, built and run several successful companies in such diverse areas as medical technology, real estate, import-export, food service and retail. As a philanthropist he has organized and participated in many medical missions and shipped donated medical and educational supplies throughout Central and South America. In addition he established and runs scholarship exchange programs between the US, Latin America and Europe.
In 2007 John joined forces with Irma Yolanda Zuleta to start Precious Hands/Manos Preciosas to apply his entrepreneurial know-how with his philanthropic desire to help artisans make honest livings from their craft. With Irma, based in Guatemala, other partners in the US, and Dr Barker based in Europe, together they are creating important synergies to provide artisans the tools and resources they needto design, create, produce, market and sell their handicrafts directly to customers around the world.
John did his undergraduate studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara, earned his Medical Degree at the National University in Cordoba, Argentina and received his PhD at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany. He holds the position of Friedrichsheim Foundation Endowed Professor for Experimental Trauma and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Frankfurt, Germany.
Finance Manager based in Louisville Kentucky....