We were inspired to start The Little Market after visiting different markets around the world and seeing the beautiful products that local artisans were making. Many people around the world still produce handmade goods using the same techniques that have been passed down in their culture for generations. However, most of these artisans were only selling to a limited local market, because they lack the resources to expand their scope. With The Little Market, we hope to change that. We specifically wanted to focus on female artisans, because women around the world are still less educated, less healthy, and experiencing more violence than their male counterparts. By helping these talented women earn a fair wage, we hope that they can break the cycle of poverty, support themselves and their families, and improve their lives.
We chose our initial eight artisans because of the fair trade practices that they were using. We felt strongly that those groups had a strong interest in creating a mutually beneficial relationship that would support their artisans. Each group does more than just help its artisans sell products; they provide business management training, skills workshops, educational resources and more.
We are drawn to each artisan group by the beautiful products that they are producing. We love learning more about the artisans and the techniques they have mastered. After establishing a partnership, we often work with the artisan group to choose the colors and designs that we believe fit best with The Little Market. On occasion, we help develop new products that we think our customers might be interested in.
Most of our artisans are organized into groups or cooperatives that help them coordinate products, design, inventory, and sales. If possible, we like to meet with the artisan group in person when we first develop a partnership. That way, we can get to know them, see the products in person, and develop a relationship with the artisans beyond just a virtual one. Once we begin working together, we usually communicate via email, skype and telephone.
Every artisan group is different, but typically the artisans use indigenous techniques that have been passed down for generations. In many cases, skills are passed from mother to daughter at a very young age. Many of the techniques have been perfected over centuries, making them nearly impossible to replicate using modern techniques.
One group in particular, Prosperity Candle, works with female refugees who have relocated here to the United States from Burma. The group helps women learn the skills of candle-making, and gives them opportunity for advancement and an ownership stake in the company. Many of the women are mothers, and their children may be the first in their families to finish school. Prosperity Candle is about much more than just providing employment - it is a social enterprise with the power to break the cycle of poverty for female refugees and their families.
We are always looking to grow and add more artisan partners, especially from countries and communities where we don’t yet have a presence. And we really love hearing about new artisans and products from our shoppers! There are a lot of talented groups out there who share our fair trade principles--it’s impossible to find them all on our own. The artisans we’re looking to connect with often live in rural areas, don’t have a website, and don’t have regular access to internet. So we’ve been lucky to have received many connections through our shoppers. It speaks to the power of social media, as many suggestions come from our followers all over the world who know of amazing artisans in their countries. Recommendations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re in development on some really exciting products right now that will be released later this year. With handmade products, the wait is sometimes long--but well worth it! You can always check our website for the newest additions
We have limited wholesale offerings on certain products. Visit our Wholesale page for more information.
We only sell our products online at this time, but we hope to open a brick and mortar store in the U.S. soon.
None of our chocolate products can be guaranteed totally nut-free as the location where they are made handles nuts.