When Rebecca Gardner first opened The Hope Shop pop-up at Light House Coffee in 2018, she imagined a place where people could shop all ethically sourced goods without having to worry about who or how they were made. She envisioned one day growing the space into its own standalone shop, where every shelf, hanger and wall showcased only fair trade and sustainable items.
Last month, Gardner’s dreams came to fruition when The Hope Shop opened in the Mid City space formerly occupied by Sweet Leather Goods and The Haven at 1857.
The bright, dreamy and boho-chic shop is filled wall to wall with ethically made home goods, accessories, clothing, paper goods and art. Regulars can expect to see all their favorite items like jewelry, candles and handbags, plus more clothing options and locally made goods by companies like So Yaya Skincare, Love Life Soap Co. and Andi Lynn’s Pure & Custom Formulary.
Profits from The Hope Shop are donated to the shop’s parent nonprofit, Hands Producing Hope. The organization provides economic, educational and spiritual resources to empower its remote workers to rise above poverty. The nonprofit employs local refugees and poor communities in Costa Rica and Rwanda to produce handmade jewelry and accessories, which are sold at the shop. Every purchase made at the shop helps support the artisans and the nonprofit’s efforts.
Behind the retail shop is a community room designed for classes and workshops. In the future, Gardner plans to host classes where people can learn about thrifting, dying items with natural ingredients and living a sustainable lifestyle.
Though the space has changed, The Hope Shop’s mission remains the same.
“In other cities, sustainable and ethically made goods are easier to find,” Gardner says. “I want to make it as easy as possible for people to shop sustainable, ethically or local under one roof.” handsproducinghope.org
Locals can now shop all ethically and locally made items at two locations in Baton Rouge: The Hope Shop pop-up at Light House Coffee and at the new storefront in Mid City.
The Hope Shop is at 1857 Government St. Its hours are Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
This article was originally published in the July 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.