In 2006 while studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, two classmates found they shared the same passion for improving lives of women.
Lauren Conrad (formerly of The Hills) and Hannah Skvarla founded The Little Market, which specializes in selling handmade products made by local women of various countries.
“Traveling has allowed Lauren and I to meet inspiring women who have hope despite living with hardships from extreme poverty to unimaginable trauma,” Skvarla said.
“We wanted to create an online marketplace to give these women who meet our fair trade, fair wages and fair work place standards.”
Growing up, giving back had always been an important part of Skvarla’s life, as well as social justice and human rights. Upon completing her BA in Public Relations, Skvarla interned with the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch.
After watching many workers advocate for the rights of women, children, refugees and many more people, Skvarla had the idea to spread awareness around the world.
“We wanted to figure out a sustainable way to help women support themselves. We asked experts in International Development about the most sustainable way to set up an online store to support artisans from around the world,” Skvarla said.
After discussing the idea with non-profit Global Goods in New York, Conrad and Skvarla spent a year working on product development with artisans representing Bolivia, India, Mexico, Nepal and Peru.
The store was launched in October of 2013 and still continues to grow.
Conrad and Skvarla are humbled by many of the women they work with, something that gave them the drive to share their mission.