Hello Everyone, it's me Katie Borland, the founder of Agapé Market! I just wanted to let y'all know how Agapé Market got started!
With the encouragement of friends and family, I let the Holy Spirit lead me on a mission trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was on this mission trip that our group was able to provide a platform for change in the lives of several young Ethiopian girls by investing in them through teaching them business, marketing, simple math, design and color coordination skills. Our small group of women created and shared lessons where we demonstrated these skills through craft projects so these women would be able to replicate the products and potentially raise money for food and schooling.
At the time, I did not realize what God was doing, but I knew I had the desire to somehow replicate this experience to empower others.
A few years later, I ended up traveling through New Zealand and Southeast Asia, where I more fully began to realize the potential plan for The Agapé Market. While in Thailand, visiting the local markets, I found lovely items and wanted to know more about the people who were making these amazing products. I started to ask the locals where these beautiful pieces were created. Thus, beginning my adventures through Thailand and Cambodia in search of their local artisans. During the search for these artisans, I saw how these people lived an worked and also found orphanages and other NGO's who were there to provide support for the needy in these communities.
At the time, I believed that it was the purpose of The Agapé Market to purchase these items, re-sell them in the US, and send back a percentage to several of these NGO's. However, upon return and working with a mentor, we realized at the time there was no room to make this idea a sustainable business. So, I put down the Agapé dream and changed career direction, became an Executive Recruiter, and learned SO much about business, careers and how large companies work.
In the winter of 2015, I was laid off of from my recruiting position. While being laid off generally sounds like an awful thing to have happen, I knew in my heart that this change in direction came from the Lord. Since the lay off, I have received undeniable confirmation that the Lord has a plan for His Agapé Market. A plan to change people and communities and expand His Kingdom through His Agapé Love.
The Agapé Market is not only a retail outlet, where you can purchase beautiful handmade items and know that you are supporting actual people, but it is a community environment where locals can gather, learn and contribute to their local surroundings in a positive way.
It is our goal to donate a substantial percentage of profits to supporting successful local, national and potentially international non-profits and NGO's. Currently, we are committed to our local Bridge Program.
It is in our hopes that through these efforts we can build a stronger community.