The Story Behind The Little Market

Our Story {The Little Market}

Thank you for following along with our blog! We’re happy to have you join us and The Little Market community, and we’re so grateful for your continued support.

Our Story

The Little Market is a nonprofit, fair trade shop that was founded by Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla in October 2013 to empower women. The Little Market offers fair trade products that are beautifully handmade by thousands of individual artisans located around the world. Our team curates a collection of handmade goods to help provide a wider platform for our artisan partners. Every purchase from The Little Market empowers and supports our talented artisan partners and their families. We are ethically sourcing products from more than 65 artisans in over 25 countries, and we are in product development with many more.

Lauren and Hannah in Guatemala {The Little Market}

Our Inspiration

Lauren and Hannah met while attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. They began traveling together and were inspired by the skilled artisans they met at local markets. They were inspired to find a meaningful way to give back. In 2012, they traveled to Africa to meet with nonprofits focusing on women and children to learn about the greatest needs. It was important to them to find a way to do good without limiting the number of people or places helped. After many meetings with experts in international development, they decided that an online store would allow them to help people all over the world while preserving culture. The Little Market gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase unique handmade items while knowing they are supporting the artisans and their communities.

Lauren and Hannah in Mexico {The Little Market}

Our Mission

The core mission of The Little Market is to provide sustainable and long-lasting opportunities to artisan partners. Every sale of the fair trade products leads to a meaningful impact in their lives. For instance, we are told stories about families being able to send their children to school, and the children are often the first generation in their families to graduate from high school. Families can also afford healthier food and safer drinking water. Female artisans are frequently able to work from home while caring for their families as well; therefore, they are able to earn sustainable incomes and support their families financially. Women around the world often do not have equal rights; when they earn their own incomes, they often gain rights and respect, allowing them to also have more of a voice.

Lauren and Hannah at Bright Endeavors in Illinois {The Little Market}}

Our Fair Trade Practices

We are proud members of the Fair Trade Federation and ensure that our artisan partners receive fair, living wages for the products they make. We aim to help our artisan partners earn an income in supportive, empowering working conditions. At The Little Market, we follow fair trade principles and are proud to preserve cultural traditions and techniques with our selection of handmade products.

Lauren in Mexico {The Little Market}

Thank You

We greatly appreciate the support of our families, friends, artisan partners, volunteers, and thoughtful customers. By purchasing fair trade products and joining us on our mission, you are helping to create a meaningful impact on their lives of our artisan partners and their families.

Follow along with us on our blog for updates on our fair trade shop and latest products, our artisan partners, the number of countries we’re working in, Lauren and Hannah’s trips to meet with and find additional artisan partners, and more! We are happy to have you on this journey with us and look forward to growing our nonprofit together.

Photos by Jacob Taylor, Valorie Darling, and Yoni Goldberg

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  • Hello Lauren & Hannah, what parts of Latin America is inspiring this line of art and design ? Very exciting,
    Thank you.

    • Hello, and thank you for asking! We work with artisan groups in several different parts of Latin America including El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.

  • Hi! I’m from Chile, South America and I looove The Little Market. I wonder if you design some of the products you sell on the site or they are all just the way the artisan made them?
    I would love to know!
    Thank you!

    • Hi Rocio!

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for asking! There are a few different ways we work with artisan groups. With some artisan groups, we will order from their existing product assortment. With others, we will give feedback on design, color, and sizing. And with other artisan groups, we create completely custom and exclusive products. We value traditional patterns and techniques, and our design development is sensitive to the geographic specificity and meaning. We love to partner with artisans to create products that celebrate their traditional techniques and infuse contemporary designs!

      Thank you again for reaching out!