Little Market, Big World

Today's post topic strikes a special chord with me as it relates directly to something I feel is an extremely important cause and touches on something I was personally involved with... And it also has to do with shopping so, yay! :)

In February of this year, I moved to Uganda for 3 and a half months to volunteer with women and microfinance.  I was inspired by a story I heard six years ago about a group of women within a village in West Africa who had been given "microloans" to start their own small businesses and were meeting together every week to discuss their businesses and make them profitable in order to bring in additional revenue for their family and village.  I was so excited about this idea that six years later, I decided to head to Uganda, one of the founding countries of microfinance, live in a village and help in any way I could to support this movement of empowerment for women in impoverished communities where they often had little rights or respect within their communities until they were given a small loan and a chance.  I'll get into the dirty deets of my experience in another post but today I want to share with you a really exciting new company that creates a "market" for some of the handmade items some of these women make through their small businesses, called The Little Market.  

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To add further credibility to this inspiring and ingenious idea is that it was co-founded by The Lauren Conrad herself.  For those of you living under rock, Lauren Conrad is LC from Laguna Beach and The Hills (I doubt that explanation was necessary for anyone reading this blog but JUST IN CASE).  

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LC and her friend Hannah met at FIDM and, in their words from their website:

"quickly learned that we shared a love of design, an interest in world cultures, and a passion for improving the lives of women. Since then we have traveled together to El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda.

The Little Market was inspired by these trips, where we met disadvantaged yet highly talented artisan women struggling to support their families.

In our travels we have begun to learn about the culture of each place by exploring local markets. Each place that we visit offers unique treasures, all representative of skills developed over generations. Beautiful handmade products are sold in little markets around the world. We were certain people would enjoy and appreciate them as much as we do, if they just had access to these one-of-a-kind products.

We created The Little Market to give artisans the opportunity to reach a broader audience and to give you the opportunity to purchase special pieces while directly supporting the artisans who made them. Each product you find here was responsibly crafted with integrity and pride, while providing an income for local artisans to care for themselves and their families.

We hope that you love each hand-selected piece as much as we do."

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Pretty cool, huh.  Well I'm sure you're wondering (perhaps secretly) if the goods are something you would actually want (don't feel bad if you were, I had the same thought)... and to answer your question, they are!  Some of them are really freaking awesome to be exact.  Like these trunks:

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                                                             I can't handle this perfection.  

                                                            I can't handle this perfection.  

I NEED one of these... at least one.

This wrapping paper is too cute for words:

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And yes, I would take an alpaca scarf... particularly of this orange variety:

Orange-Alpaca-Scarf-The-Little-Market.jpg

Ok also, this tray:

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And this winter wreath, that I'm convinced could be used year round:

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So, let's hear it for women around the world!  GURL POWER!

Now, you have my permission to GO SHOPPING! :)

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