The Little Market: Empowering Women From Around The World

In honor of national women’s history month, I have chosen to write about a business that empowers women from around the world. In 2013, Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla opened an online store selling goods made from women around the world who are in need. Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla, the brains behind The Little Market, met in 2006 at The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Upon meeting, both a friendship and a business partnership blossomed.

The Little Market started as an online store but has progressed to a storefront in Pacific Palisades, California. Products made by refugee women, sex trafficking victims and women who are having a hard time financially supporting their families can be found online as well as the store’s physical location. Though The Little Market began as an online store only, Lauren and Hannah’s decision to expand to a physical location was formed from their belief that handmade goods are experienced to their fullest in person. Lauren and Hannah wanted to make customers feel like they are in a friend’s home, which they accomplished by providing benches, open shelve, and large farm tables. Their vision of selling goods in a place that made customers feel as though they were at home came true upon creating such an atmosphere.

The duo’s genius idea sprung from their desire to help struggling artisan women find a way to support their families. Upon returning from a trip to Uganda and Tanzania, Lauren and Hannah found that their true calling was helping women who are suppressed by discrimination and unfair wages. The Little Market is a non-profit, meaning all proceeds go directly to the women. Serving as a platform for women who utilize their talents to create beautiful items ranging from candles to jewelry to kitchenware to children’s toys, The Little Market proves to be versatile in its products. All items are comparably priced to goods sold in American department stores, making it possible for women to make a profit off of their hard work. Most of the women who sell their goods have children who are the first generation of their families to complete high school, so being able to make extra money in this business has truly helped their dreams come true. The Little Market is part of both the Fair Trade Federation and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. These two organizations are dedicated to reducing poverty and giving women who are not able to access the materials needed to start their own businesses.

Lauren and Hannah’s vision to create jobs for women has benefited both the buyers and the sellers. The Little Market is an example of how society can work together to help each other and provide for others. While we read articles and stories about striving to be successful and make loads of money, at the end of the day, our existence is about helping each other. That’s why I think community work is so important and a selfless way to make a living. We should all support each other, especially those in need. I stand fiercely in my belief that if you are fortunate, you should share your wealth with those who are less fortunate. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing you have made a positive impact on another person's life.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3