In 2009, Mark and Gina Schmidt left everything behind in the U.S. to move to Guatemala. Led by faith, they sold their house and prepared their four children for an international move, although nobody in the family even knew Spanish. When they got there, the Schmidts began working in the rural village of Buena Vista, a place that they would eventually call home.
Mark and GIna were eventually led to build an educational center in the village, which now welcomes over 225 students each day — many of whom include girls, who do not typically attend school in rural Guatemala.
When one of the students did not have the funds to attend school at the educational center a few years back, Mark and Gina decided to raise money. Mark teamed up with his son and a couple of students and began creating a few simple leather journals. Orders started flowing in, and they blew their fundraising goal of $1,000 out of the water. As demand increased, more products were designed, and that's how CrashLeather was born!
Today, CrashLeather is a growing business, which gives fifty percent of its profits back to the educational center and is creating employment for some of the villagers, who craft each product by hand. Its primary goal is to help lift Buena Vista out of poverty — and potentially see their educational initiatives grow into other villages.
It would be impossible to do what we do without our incredible team of local artisans. Their products are definitely a work of art, and we want to recognize the impact that they are having on this initiative. Together, they make every product by hand, from start to finish!
(Our team, from left to right: Andres, Alma, Mirna, Ledy, Mark, Angela, Jose, Lourdes and Brandon)
We often get the question: Why the rhino logo and name CrashLeather? What's the connection?
Well, the best way to explain it is to let you read for yourself. In the book "The Barbarian Way" —which has a theme on radical faith and walking by faith, rather than sight — author Erwin McManus is relating the names of different groups of animals when he says:
"But my favorite of all is the group designation for rhinos. You see, rhinos can run at thirty miles an hour, which is pretty fast when you consider how much weight they're pulling. They're actually faster than squirrels, which can run at up to twenty-six miles an hour. And even then, who's going to live in dread of a charging squirrel? ... Just one problem with this phenomenon. Rhinos can see only thirty feet in front of them. Can you imagine something that large moving in concert as a group, plowing ahead at thirty miles an hour with no idea what's at thirty-one feet? You would think that they would be far too timid to pick up full steam, that their inability to see far enough ahead would paralyze them to immobility. But with that horn pointing the way, rhinos run forward full steam ahead without apprehension, which leads us to their name.
Rhinos moving together at full speed are known as a crash.
Even when they're just hanging around enjoying the watershed, they're called a crash because of their potential. You've got to love that. I think that's what we're supposed to be. That's what happens when we become barbarians and shake free of domestication and civility. The church becomes a crash. We become an unstoppable force. We don't have to pretend we know the future. Who cares that we can see only thirty feet ahead? Whatever's at thirty-one feet needs to care that we're coming and better get out of the way. We need to move together as God's people, a barbarian tribe, and become the human version of the rhino crash. The future is uncertain, but we need to move toward it with confidence. There's a future to be created, a humanity to be liberated. We need to stop wasting our time and stop being afraid of what we cannot see and do not know. We need to move forward full force because of what we do know."
SO WELCOME TO THE CRASH!!!
For more info on the book, or to order a copy, click here: Erwin Raphael McManus. The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within