Everyone’s favorite Laguna Beach good girl has grown up to be a great woman.
If we’re being honest, I was always Team Kristin Cavallari back in the day, but over the years Lauren Conrad has swayed my early ‘2000s allegiance with her admirable business savvy and dedication towards the empowerment of women worldwide.
As if her resume wasn’t already bursting at the seams, in addition to designing two fashion lines, writing a young adult trilogy, and penning multiple New York Times bestseller table books, Conrad created The Little Market.
In partnership with her Fashion Institute of Technology classmate, Hannah Skvarla, Lauren founded an online global marketplace for and with female artisans around the world.
The beautifully designed platform features female artisans from Nepal to Morocco who are, “often the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups.”
It is clear from the extensive amount of information provided on each artisan group, their respective technique and in-depth looks into each country that this was not a charitable celebrity afterthought.
Each country listed on the “Where We Work” page is accompanied by a gorgeous photograph perfectly curated to create an Instagram-worthy selection.
You won’t find clickbait pictures of teary-eyed women outside dilapidated homes.
The Little Market aims to attract customers by showcasing the incredible talent and resilience of these women in spite of their hard-dealt hand, not because of it.
Click on Ghana, and you will learn the poverty rate, statistics about exports, an overview of the country, and spotlights on the artisan groups featured from that country with links to their products.
The page also shares the human rights situation and status of gender equality.
For all sixteen countries each of the website’s 26 talented artisans call home, there is an equally informed and detailed account to teach shoppers more about where their goods are coming from and who their purchase is helping.
Part of the Fair Trade Federation and Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, The Little Market works with global cooperatives and social enterprises to select artisan groups who specifically have, “limited access to markets due to their remote locations, their small-scale production, or their lack of technical support.”
For these groups Conrad and her team offer insight to help better market each product to a broader audience so that each purchase and generate a “meaningful income.”
Each and every sale on The Little Market goes towards the independent, non-profit organization, and any surplus is used to buy more products or expand to include more artisan groups.
As Lauren says in the company’s mission statement, her team measures the project’s success not simply by sales, but rather the “positive social and economic impact on our artisans and their communities.”
Purchases on The Little Market help to create literacy programs, pay for child education and health programs, and also pay for crucial business classes.
As the plight of women worldwide is still in need of much work, this project helps women provide for their families while also gaining a sense of independence. The little market helps their craft to be truly appreciated and sold for the true value on a worldwide scale.
The customs and technique used for the majority of items sold on The Little Market, from hand-woven elephant grass baskets to hand-painted ceramic bowls, have long been sold as souvenirs to tourists who do not fully grasp the craftsmanship of their work.
The Little Market uses its fair wage policy to ensure each artisan is paid in accordance to the materials, time, and work put into each piece.
This truly inspiring company is working to build sustainable partnerships with some of the most undervalued yet incredibly talented women on earth.
Lauren and Hannah bonded over their love of fashion and desire to empower women, which they have seamlessly married to give us a sensible, sustainable and feel-good new place to take our online shopping addictions.
What more could a modern day shopaholic ask for?!