Photo by Valorie Darling
At The Little Market, all of the items we offer are handmade and fair trade. We are a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation. There are lots of components to fair trade. The first principle is creating opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.
We help artisans living in rural and disadvantaged communities by providing them with a wider reach of customers beyond tourists and their local communities. The individual artisans we work with have experienced extreme poverty and hardships. For instance, they have survived homelessness, experienced domestic violence, or have physical disabilities in communities that discriminate. We focus on working with groups that are women-led and that primarily work with women. When selecting the groups we’d like to partner with, we ensure that they provide a safe and supportive environment.
Many of our female artisan partners working with us in Guatemala have experienced domestic violence and other hardships. Rose Ann Hall Designs, our artisan partner based in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, employs artisans with physical disabilities.
Rose Ann Hall Designs makes beautiful glassware from recycled glass.
We currently work with four artisan partners in the United States. In Chicago, Illinois, Bright Endeavors employs young mothers who have experienced hardships such as homelessness and abuse. Also in the United States, refugees are working with GAIA to create beautiful accessories and with Prosperity Candle to make soy blend candles. The Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles employs homeless women who are learning how to make products like our soaps at Made by DWC.
One of the reasons we focus on female empowerment is because women are marginalized around the world. For example, in 2015 in the U.S. alone, women were paid 80 percent of what men were paid while working full time, according to the American Association of University Women. And if this slow rate continues, equal pay will not be reached until 2152.
The stories of our artisan partners are truly inspiring. We encourage inclusiveness and are proud to work with such inspiring individuals. To learn more about fair trade principles, visit our website and stay tuned on our blog for the next part of our series on fair trade principles.