Photo by Valorie Darling
The Little Market was founded by women to empower women. March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world. Each of us can honor the day by acknowledging and recognizing the achievements women have made. It is also an opportunity for us to raise awareness for the progress that has yet to come. It’s our responsibility to stand up for women’s rights and women’s equality — socially, economically, culturally, and politically.
Lauren and Hannah founded the The Little Market to empower female artisans in rural and disadvantaged communities and to provide with them with a platform to sell their goods and earn a sustainable income. We work with thousands of artisans in more than 20 countries, and many of the groups primarily work with women.
Our founders recently had the opportunity to visit Bright Endeavors in Chicago, Illinois. Bright Endeavors is a social enterprise that works with young mothers who have experienced hardships including abuse and/or homelessness. The Bright Endeavors team works closely with young moms to build confidence and create skills during their job training program. This is often the first step these women take to provide for their families while positively transforming their lives through the opportunities Bright Endeavors provides. We were touched by the stories of the inspiring moms, and we support them through our exclusive collection of soaking salts and sugar scrubs. Last September, our founders went to Dallas, Texas to visit another one of our four U.S.-based artisan partners, GAIA. GAIA employs and supports marginalized female refugees and is dedicated to the women’s long-term success. As refugees, these women have left their home countries, including Syria, Jordan, and Thailand, and escaped conflict to work toward a brighter future for themselves and their families.
Prosperity Candle, based in Massachusetts, employs Burmese female refugees. The all-women team hand-pours artisanal candles. The social enterprise recently hired two more female artisans to the year-round team due to The Little Market’s purchases of candles. Prosperity Candle’s team members all have a common goal — to work in a world where every woman is given the chance to succeed. We love filling a home with seasonal candle fragrances knowing each one supports these talented women.
The baskets, hampers, and planters we carry at The Little Market are made by different groups throughout Africa. The artisans practice basket weaving and pass down their techniques over generations. In much of Africa, women often work twice as long as men — from 15 to 18 hours per day — but they typically earn one-tenth as much, according to the United Nations University.