How Lauren Conrad's Little Marketplace Connects Women Artisans to a Global Market

For Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla, a trip exploring markets in Bali and El Salvador became a new venture to think globally and shop for change.

During their travels, the two friends wandered into colorful markets with tiny shops stocked with handmade, one-of-a-kind goods. The pair noticed that many of the goods were crafted by women artisans who used the shop's profits to support their families.

But their goods were not reaching a broad, global market.

"We were moved by their determination to work toward their children's future, and we reflected on how we could help," Conrad wrote in a blog post commemorating the second anniversary of their new online marketplace, The Little Market.

Conrad explained that the idea behind The Little Market is to support these talented artisans who often lack the resources to reach a global market. Conrad says the online marketplace follows fair trade principles, and every purchase generates essential income for the artisans and their families, many of whom include women, people with disabilities, and individuals living in extreme poverty.

She also pointed out that the income generated from The Little Market helps many women artisans who must work from home while caring for their families. It also provides extra income to send their children to school.

Today, The Little Market carries products from 26 artisan partners in 16 different countries, and the pair is exploring designs with many more.

"As we witness women around the world fighting for their basic rights, we must remind ourselves of the importance of women supporting other women," Conrad said.

In her most recent trip to Mexico, she saw a group of women artisans weaving textiles on traditional looms using techniques passed down for generations.

Now, The Little Market helps these women artisans sell many of these woven textiles as Mexican pillows online.

Their little market is much more than a way to shop for change; it is truly a dynamic way to share culture. Click through the gallery above for a glimpse of Conrad's travels and to see the fantastic women artisans behind The Little Market.

To support The Little Market, visit their online marketplace.

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Photo Credit: Lauren Conrad/The Little Market