The Little Market is an online marketplace, co-founded by Lauren Conrad
and Hannah Skvarla, where customers can purchase goods handmade
by artisans around the world. The Little Market seeks to empower women artisans to support their families and rise above poverty, which is why their beautiful, one-of-a-kind items are a perfect choice for Mother’s Day.
I spoke with Hannah Skvarla and Lauren Conrad about what makes The Little Market so special:
So you guys met in design school. Did you ever imagine that nine years later you would be working together?
Yes, we can’t believe it has been that long! We didn’t expect it, but it’s great.
Image Credit: Share Cookbook, The Little Market, $40
Have you always been interested in raising awareness about impoverished women?
Lauren: I have always been interested, but struggled to find the best way. I think wanting to do something for others and figuring out what that something is are very different. A few years ago when Hannah and I visited Africa, we were on a mission to figure out what it was we wanted to do. I wanted to make sure I was using the tools I had to make the biggest difference possible.
Hannah: Raising awareness for women’s rights has always been important to me.
Image Credit: Lemon Platter, The Little Market, $42
I’m sure picking items for The Little Market can be tricky because you probably want to help as many women as possible. What are the top three things you look for when selecting something?
Lauren: When we are selecting products, we definitely take into consideration their design and quality. First, we decide if we would buy the item for ourselves or our loved ones. We want to be sure that we are choosing salable items so that they are successful for the artisan group we are working with. Secondly, we look for unique products that represent the beautiful places they come from. Many of the women we work with are using techniques that were handed down through generations. Lastly, we look for potential. Sometimes we will come across an item that has wonderful qualities but needs some tweaks to be more marketable. For example, we might be working with a group that makes beautiful woven fabric bags, but the styles are a little outdated. We will work with them to update the shapes so that they are more current.
Hannah: In addition to evaluating the quality of the product, we also review the fair trade practices of the artisan groups. We want to ensure that they have safe working conditions and pay fair wages. It’s also very important to us that our partners support women’s rights and give back to their communities.
Image Credit: The Little Market, Rio Overnight Bag, $240
What is the most rewarding aspect of this process for you?
We love going on the trips and meeting the artisans. You don’t realize what a difference a steady income can make until you see it first-hand. The benefits aren’t just financial either. These women have told us about improvements in their marriages and confidence. It makes us so happy and proud of all the women.
Image Credit: The Little Market, Blue floral tablecloth, $64