WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sometimes a piece of clothing can be much more than cloth or fabric--sometimes it can carry a message. That’s what one West Des Moines couple wants to do with their brand.
Maria Mendoza and Aaron Sarmiento came to America from the Philippines when they were children. Eventually they would meet and get married, but a vacation back to their birthplace was what changed their lives after meeting a man their uncle took in after Typhoon Haiyan.
“We talked to him about how we could help because we felt like, jeez, we have so much to give here in America, we waste a lot of things, and over there they cherished a half bottle of water,” said Mendoza.
After giving him some clothes and other supplies, he left the couple with words they wouldn't forget.
“He said he wished that everybody knew that all we have was each other, that the only way for us to survive in this world was to help each other out and was to bring each other up,” said Mendoza.
The two wanted to make a difference back in the U.S. and created their brand, Made4Mankind Clothing. The logo itself is geometric, but contains more meaning than meets the eye.
“If you look a little bit closer you also see a community of people holding each other’s hand, referencing to help each other out. A lot of people think it’s a crown, but it’s deeper than that,” said Sarmiento.
After starting online in 2015, the couple just opened a brick-and-mortar store in Valley Junction. They say having a presence in the community has allowed them a platform to donate to shelters.
“The necessity things like toothpaste, soap, toothbrush. We all know we can get that things anywhere, but that is one of the most basic things that people need. So for this coming year, I want to collect those things, and if you come in with an item like that we would give you a discount,” said Mendoza.
They also want to work with kids. Next year, students can bring in their report cards and get discounts for good performance in class.
“We feel like the future depends on our children, it’s in their hands, so what better way to start them with a positive message?” said Mendoza.
But their brick-and-mortar store isn’t the endgame; these two have bigger plans.
“We want to see ourselves in five years, we want to have a building called M4MC Headquarters,” said Sarmiento.
The building would act as a type of youth community center.
“I think it’s important for them to go there so they don’t have to do something bad in their life. They can go over there and just chill with people, hang out with people, hang out with good people. Learn their cultures, be diverse. That’s what we wanted to do,” said Sarmiento.