The Little Market is making a big difference. A fair trade project based in Los Angeles, the online company works with artisans around the world, making handcrafted goods available to all and supplying a living wage to the artisans that create them.

Co-founded by fashion designer Lauren Conrad and Human Rights Watch member Hannah Skvarla in 2013, the Little Market “seeks to empower women artisans to rise above poverty and support their families”. The company is committed to building self-sufficient, economically independent women in impoverished countries around the world.

The Little Market sells a variety of handmade goods, from home décor and kitchen necessities to backpacks and bracelets. Conrad and Skvarla visit local markets in countries such as Kenya, Bolivia, India and Peru to gain inspiration, insight and appreciation for the talent, time and treasures provided by the artisans.

In order to benefit the artisans and themselves, the company searches for items with the potential to succeed in the U.S. market.

This month, The Little Market began selling olive wood products from Le Souk Olivique, an olive wood studio in Tunisia. Founded in 2013, Le Souk provides finely crafted wooden kitchen tools, including basic utensils, salad bowls and cutting boards.

The Tunisian company treats its artisans very well, setting payment above minimum wage and providing healthcare and social security payments. Le Souk will soon receive Tunisia’s Fair Trade certification.

The beautifully handcrafted kitchen tools sell at The Little Market for $12 to $44, depending on the type and size of the object. They are all made with olive wood.

Making olive wood products, however, is an intricate and time-consuming process. The raw wood must initially dry outside for a year before cutting and sanding the pieces to create a wood product fit for a kitchen.

Conrad and Skvarla expressed excitement about carrying this new line of products, available now on the company website. The Little Market has served as a catalyst in the sale of handmade goods from around the world, including those of Le Souk. As website sales increase, the demand for more products also increases, resulting in a need for more employees and thus creating more jobs for more artisans around the world, lifting many out of poverty.

Sarah Sheppard

Sources: LA Times, The Little Market 1, The Little Market 2
Photo: Style News