November 17, 2018

Erin Robinson

Entrepreneur empowers women through Redemption Market

By selling products created by women in foreign countries, Phoenix-based business owner Rhonda LaBatt works to provides opportunities for women in need.  With her business, Redemption Market, she has created a unique career based on assisting people in need.

It all began when she saw an advertisement for a business that worked with women who were rescued from human trafficking in Cambodia. Recovering women in this organization made purses and jewelry and needed someone to bring the items to market. Labatt began by selling the products to family and friends. She found success and eventually grew her business into what Redemption Market is today

She began selling these boxes five years ago at the Open Air Market, located at 721 N. Central Ave. Today, Redemption Market partners with multiple charitable organizations to sell a variety of products to consumers online and offline.

“When a customer makes a purchase, it’s directly impacting people,” LaBatt said. “So there’s no middleman. I’m partnering directly with the artisans. This is allowing them fair wages, healthcare, education and community development.”

Although they may seem overwhelming, LaBatt encourages people to look for ways that they can help in these national issues.

“It’s easier to get involved and to help people than we think.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the huge problem—we get overwhelmed by poverty or by trafficking or these different issues and so we feel like there’s nothing we can do, but if everybody does their part and does something small, it really adds up.”

With the store theme “shop for freedom” each piece you buy directly helps the woman who made it.  Any sized purchase, such as a $10 bracelet, could make a huge difference to someone else.

With a trade, these women in a safe house are able to provide for themselves. It gives them something that they can be proud of.

“The women or some men too have received their fair wages when I make the purchase and then it’s just up to me to then in turn sell those items,” LaBatt said. “We partner directly with the artisans so we can offer products that are really good price for the customer. Then, the customer feels like they’re doing something good in making the purchase and it ends up working for everybody.”

“She’s very intentional about researching, who her vendors are and how she represents them in her marketplace. So, I love the integrity of her shop,” said Joanna Stewart, a friend Rhonda met at the public market. 

Stewart wants to support local businesses that work to avoid the exploitation of citizens in underprivileged communities. She enjoys supporting a female business owner along with the charitable organizations that Redemption Market is partnered with.

“Where I spend my money is where I’m choosing to create new industry,” Stewart said.

Keira Jones, owner of the ethical and sustainable fashion blog Style Me Fair, also supports LaBatt’s work as an ethical and sustainable boutique owner.

“Because the ethical and sustainable fashion community is so small she was one of the first boutiques that I found,” Jones said. “I reached out to her and met her at the Phoenix Public Market and we decided to do a giveaway together she was my first collaboration with a brand.”

Stewart said she thinks it’s good for people to generally have that mindfulness at back of their mind. Before making a purchase, she encourages people to ask themselves where a product is made, who made it and if it benefits anyone or the community. 

For more information about Redemption Market, visit redemptionmarket.com or email info@redemptionmarket.com.