The Little Market is an online fair trade shop founded by fashion designer and former reality TV star, Lauren Conrad, and her friend, Hannah Skvarla. Customers can purchase unique, one-of-a-kind pieces handmade by artisans around the world.
The concept of The Little Market began with a friendship. In 2006, Conrad and Skvarla met while studying at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) and quickly connected over their shared love of design, travel, and desire to empower women. The two decided to set out on the road where they explored the local markets of Bali and El Salvador and immediately became inspired. They met and were in awe of the hard-working women who were creating beautiful products–products they loved and knew their friends back home would also like if only they had the opportunity.
Later, during a trip to Tanzania and Uganda, the pair visited non-profit organizations that were working with female artisans and entrepreneurs who were struggling to make ends meet. It was on this trip when the two decided to create The Little Market to help showcase the products made by artisans to consumers around the world.
When the site was first launched in 2013, they were working with eight artisan partners in five countries. Today, they carry products from 56 artisan partners in 28 countries.
If you’re anything like me, you can spend hours on end online shopping. You can scroll through page after page browsing through items clicking “add to cart” every few seconds until you’ve racked up quite the impressive total. However, have you ever taken the time to think about where your money is going? Or better yet, who made the products you’re purchasing?
This company’s mission is simple: To empower women artisans to rise above poverty and support their families, ensuring that they are the ones who profit from the purchases of their handmade goods.
Working through cooperatives and social enterprises, artisan partners improve the quality of life in their communities in a number of ways, including training programs, access to education, and family healthcare. Women artisans are often able to work from home while caring for their families, and they can use the extra income to send their children to school.
Each artisan partner has an inspiring story. The groups include individuals who have faced gender inequalities, are survivors of domestic violence, are survivors of sex trafficking, have fled violence in their home countries, are young mothers, and have experienced extreme poverty.
Here are a few of our favorite items:
All images found at The Little Market.
Feeling inspired? Don’t miss this episode of This Grit and Grace Life podcast with another woman who will inspire and motivate you: 6 Qualities that Make a Female Strong with Leadership Expert Jenni Catron – 030!
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