Shop By Cause: preserving cultural traditions

Many of the artisan groups we work with are preserving traditional techniques that have been passed down over generations.

These techniques are rich in history and carry great cultural significance. The Little Market is committed to sharing the beauty and intricacy of these traditions and celebrating the extraordinary skills of the artisans.

artisan: Ajiri

Ajiri is a Kenyan social enterprise that strives to create employment opportunities for women and to support the education of the country’s orphan children. Ajiri sources its delicious, hand-picked tea from the Nyansiongo Tea Factory in Kisii, Kenya. The factory is owned by nearly 20,000 small-scale farmworkers, each of whom owns a quarter to two acres of land. They grow their tea organically, as there are no natural pests to tea in Kenya. The Rooibos, a caffeine-free alternative to the black teas and coffee, is sourced from a large plantation in South Africa.


Country: KenyaTechnique: Farming

artisan: All across africa

All Across Africa works with rural producer groups and business partners to supply fair trade products. Many of the basket weavers have been passing the skill and talent of basket weaving from generation to generation for centuries. All Across Africa is a benefit corporation and provides artisans with a “market bundle” including education, materials, finance, and training programs.


Country: RwandaTechnique: Weaving

artisan: Anchal Project

Anchal Project is an India-based social enterprise that supports employment opportunities for women previously exploited by the commercial sex trade. The social enterprise offers holistic solutions to societal inequalities by providing skills training, full-time employment opportunities, educational workshops, health services, a safe work environment, and access to a larger marketplace. The artisans practice an intricate, hand-stitching kantha technique to create these rich quilts. This technique was first found in primitive art and has since developed into an important cultural signifier in India, now incorporated into momentous events ranging from births to weddings.



artisan: Artesania Sorata

Founded in 1978, Artesania Sorata provides work for families with low income in Bolivia. Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years and comprise a large component of traditional South American culture. The Inca civilization was primarily based in textiles made from alpaca wool, making the fabric an integral part of the rich history of the Andes. The artisan women dye the wool by hand using natural dyes made from local ingredients, such as walnut leaves, thola, and cochineal. These dyes are sustainable and soft on the wool. With this soft yarn, the artisans knit every piece by hand. Each artisan has a unique style and often adds embroidered patterns inspired by traditional weavings, geometric symbols, and animals.

baby knits

Country: BoliviaTechnique: ALPACA KNITTING

artisan: Awamaki

Awamaki (which means “handmade” in Quechua) is a community-based nonprofit and social enterprise working with artisans in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Artisan women practice a back-strap loom weaving technique and infuse traditions with modern techniques. This technique originally dates back thousands of years and can be found in the Andes region. For Awamaki pieces in particular, there is a unique design based on generations of local traditions. Textile motifs, such as animals and geographic lakes, are passed down from grandmothers and mothers to preserve the culture. The weaving has served as an act of storytelling and is representative of cultural identity.


Country: peruTechnique: WEAVING

artisan: Basha

Basha’s high quality, unique kantha products are handmade by strong women in Bangladesh, many of whom are survivors of human sex trafficking. The women complete a training and rehabilitation program prior to beginning work. Basha also provides weekly educational opportunities including literacy and life skills programs. The artisans receive medical support, counseling, and daycare assistance.


Country: BangladeshTechnique: EMBROIDERY + KANTHA STITCHING

artisan: Bolga Basket Weavers

Artisans in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana weave beautiful and durable baskets from thick, tough elephant grass. Basket weaving around Bolgatanga in Upper East Region serves as an example of the craft skills of women in the north. Purchases of these baskets have supported underserved farmworkers in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana. A classic icon of African craftsmanship, most Bolga baskets hold up to daily use for years on end. 


Country: GhanaTechnique: Weaving

artisan: Bordadoras Unidas Arcoiris

The women of Bordados Unidas Arcoiris come from six communities in Tenango in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico. The artisans embroider what their grandmothers taught them and are proud to keep Tenango embroidery alive. With colorful string, they draw the traditions of the Hidalgo people and illustrate everyday life including their native plants and animals as well as crop cultivation.


Country: MexicoTechnique: EMBROIDERY + STITCHING

artisan: Camaxtl

Camaxtl is comprised of 13 artisans in San Bernardino Contla in Tlaxcala, Mexico. They masterfully weave beautiful serapes using traditional techniques and designs that originate from the community of Saltillo. Camaxtl helps these artisans find an outlet for their product and reach a broader audience. By making serapes, artisans are able to earn an income and preserve a cultural heritage that connects them to their roots.


Country: MexicoTechnique: SERAPE WEAVING

artisan: Chabi Chic

Located in Morocco, Chabi Chic works with talented artisans with a mission of protecting Moroccan culture, preserving beautiful traditions and techniques, and improving the quality of the artisans’ lives. Chabi Chic works with approximately 18 artisans and suppliers between the ages of 20 to 60. They work hard to preserve a tradition that has been passed down through generations and that is facing competition in today’s environment.



artisan: Collective Humanity

Collective Humanity is a community-based, Cambodian social enterprise empowering women who are socially and economically underserved. Cambodia has a long and rich history of weaving. On the walls of Angkor Wat, an ancient temple built over 900 years ago, you will find carvings engraved of women wearing traditional woven garments, which are still worn today. The techniques and traditional Khmer patterns have been in their community for generations. The artisans at Collective Humanity practice traditional Cambodian techniques including weaving and reusing bamboo plants to create sustainable pieces. Collective Humanity provides educational resources, including skills and household finance training, community development workshops, and healthcare programs.

Bamboo Straws + woven throws

Country: CambodiaTechnique: Handmade with sustainable materials

artisan: CORR - The Jute Works

CORR - The Jute Works empowers rural women in Bangladesh through handicraft production. The women have previously had limited access to formal education and now make beautiful products with local materials during time between household activities. CORR - The Jute Works not only creates market access, but it also provides job training and develops leadership skills. To create our reusable bags and macrame wall hangings, they preserve traditional sewing techniques passed down across generations of women.


Country: BangladeshTechnique: Sewing

artisan: Creative Women

Creative Women is a member of the Fair Trade Federation working with approximately 300 artisans. While creating opportunities, the organization is helping to preserve traditional techniques. Weavers remain an underserved group, and weaving remains part of the informal sector. The traditional art of weaving is disappearing as the newer generations are opting to leave the trade in search of other employment opportunities. Creative Women approaches ethical design as a counterpoint to mass production. It provides a reliable, long-term source of income for craftspeople who would otherwise likely need to leave their trade in search of other income opportunities.


Country: EthiopiaTechnique: Weaving

artisan: EllieFunday

EllieFunDay partners with an artisan group consisting of 40 women working as part of a sewing unit. The women create baby products using stab-stitching embroidery inspired by the Indian tradition of kantha, which means “rags” in Sanskrit. Artisans apply their experience with traditional kantha techniques and contextualize stab-stitching into contemporaneous styles. They have access to job training, fair wages, dignified work, healthcare, and educational opportunities. 


Country: indiaTechnique: STAB-STITCHING EMBROIDERY

artisan: Friends Handicrafts

Friends Handicrafts fights urban poverty in Nepal by training and employing women heads-of-household in the art of felting. The organization employs talented women who use ancient techniques to create beautiful felt products. Felt is a material that has been used in the Himalayas for generations to protect from the harsh elements, but until recently there was not a developed industry for felt products in Nepal. As urbanization throughout the country continues to outpace economic growth, the reality of employment opportunities in cities like Kathmandu is becoming increasingly bleak. The purchases of these felt products provide meaningful work, enabling the artisans to provide food and education for their children. In addition, Friends Handicrafts supports skills training and income generation programs for the artisans.


Country: NepalTechnique: felting

artisan: Inspired Peru

Inspired Peru, an artisan cooperative working with 35 artisans, recognizes that women are the primary beacons of cultural transmissions. The artisans practice a traditional technique while making stuffed animals by hand. Alpaca plush is a technique involving the hand-gluing, hand-dying, and brushing of alpaca hair. Alpaca plush has been living in the communities for generations, but it’s been revitalized over the past seven years.



artisan: Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative

Based in Jordan, Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative has empowered a community of skilled craftswomen since 1993. From mixing and pouring to bisque-firing and glazing, the artisans follow traditional techniques of throwing on the potter’s wheel and hand-building. The income earned is essential to supporting their livelihoods, especially considering the current decrease in farmland that has left many community members in poverty.


Country: JordanTechnique: HAND-GLAZING + SLIP-CASTING

artisan: JusTea

Artisans and farmworkers working with JusTea grow 100 percent natural, fair trade teas and hand-carve olive wood spoons. Founded in 2012, JusTea established Kenya’s first small-scale and farmer-owned Artisanal Tea Factory. These techniques have been passed down across generations in Nandi Hills for approximately 100 years. To produce most tea flavors, the process includes hand-plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. JusTea is a pioneer tea producer because the team works directly with tea farmworkers to work toward a brighter future.


Country: KenyaTechnique: Farming

artisan: Kara Weaves

Kara Weaves is a social enterprise that is based out of Kerala, India and supports artisan weavers who are members of cooperatives and designers of contemporary home textiles. All of the hand-woven products are made from ancient and local fabrics, and these fair trade products are handmade at traditional wooden looms. Through this first-of-its-kind attempt in Kerala, Kara Weaves hopes to bridge the gap between this traditional weaving art form and a contemporary lifestyle.


Country: indiaTechnique: weaving

artisan: Kasigau Basket Weavers

Women at Kasigau Basket Weavers, a social enterprise in Kenya, handcraft beautiful, natural baskets. The artisans, who are between the ages of 25 and 90, are able to come together and collaborate in units, which leads to increased integration into the community and opportunities for them to creatively exchange ideas and advice to support one another. To make each basket, the artisans follow an intricate cultural technique that is passed down across generations of women.


Country: kenyaTechnique: basket weaving

artisan: Luchometik

Luchometik is a Tzotzil word meaning women brocading on a waist loom. It comes from a language spoken by the indigenous Tzotzil Maya people in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Chiapas is known for its beautiful weaving, created using traditional methods that have been passed down for centuries. Weaving in Chiapas is more than just a means to earn an income. Traditional Maya culture believes that all beings on earth are intertwined, and these beliefs are often encoded within the woven patterns. The patterns can have great significance in Mexican culture, representing the weaver’s heritage, marital status, religion, personality, and the village she is from.


Country: MexicoTechnique: Weaving

artisan: Macvilho

Macvilho was founded by a group of Tzotzil Maya women artisans from the Mexican state of Chiapas. Through the creation of decorative accents and textiles, they have preserved traditional Maya techniques. Modern machinery is not used at any stage of the production cycle. Selling their goods to a global audience supports fair wages and more employment opportunities for the artisans.


Country: MexicoTechnique: POM POM + TASSEL MAKING

artisan: Manava

MANAVA (“humankind” in Sanskrit) is a social enterprise empowering women in Cambodia as they rise above poverty and economic hardship. Women weavers create a variety of homeware and handbags through a time-intensive rattan weaving process, an ancient Cambodian tradition dating back more than 1,000 years. They draw inspiration from Cambodian Kbach symbols, which are traditionally used in temple carvings and pottery. Artisans work together in a safe and supportive workshop or may opt to work from home so that they can also take care of their children. With MANAVA’s support, family incomes have increased by 95 percent. MANAVA also partners with a Women’s Resource Center in Cambodia to provide a life skills program, which covers training in domestic violence support, English, family planning, financial management, positive parenting, and women’s rights.


Country: CambodiaTechnique: Weaving

artisan: Manuela Ramos

The Artisan Women’s House, a part of Manuela Ramos, began in 1993 with the goal of improving indigenous Peruvian artisans’ quality of life and to promote the consumption and value of these artisans’ work. All of the products are hand-knit by women in Puno, an Andean region in the south of Peru known for the quality of its textiles. Indigenous to Peru, luxurious alpaca wool is highly prized for its warmth, strength, and lightweight texture. Alpacas have been bred in the Andean highlands for thousands of years, and they form a crucial component of the Peruvian economy and culture.

knits + stuffed animals

Country: peruTechnique: knitting

artisan: Matr Boomie

Matr Boomie is a sourcing partner for socially and environmentally responsible products. The organization works with underserved individuals and strives to improve their economic and social standing by creating self-sustainable employment and following fair trade practices. Artisans working with Matr Boomie in India carve ethically sourced bone and mango wood to create beautiful home décor pieces. Approximately 10 to 15 artisans work together to create each batch of products while preserving traditional techniques that are local to the community. The baskets are hand-woven in Bangladesh using a traditional technique that has been practiced at Matr Boomie for approximately 30 years.



artisan: Maya Traditions

Located in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala, Maya Traditions has been dedicated to connecting indigenous Maya backstrap weaver artisans and their families to national and international markets since 1996. Backstrap weaving is part of the culture of the Guatemalan highlands. Young girls begin to learn weaving techniques from their elders at a young age, and many women are able to support themselves and their families with their skills. These intricate products tell a rich cultural story while supporting the talented Maya women who weave them. Maya Traditions provide various social programs in youth education, community health, and artisan development.


Country: GuatemalaTechnique: BACKSTRAP WEAVING

artisan: Mayan Hands

Mayan Hands, founded in 1989, partners with approximately 200 women weavers across different communities around the western and northern highlands of Guatemala. The products are made while following traditional backstrap weaving techniques, an ancient art form that has been used around the world for generations and is still present in many regions. These intricate products tell a rich cultural story while supporting the talented women who weave them. Your purchase allows these talented weavers to earn an income to feed their families, send their children to school, and preserve their cultural traditions.


Country: GuatemalaTechnique: BackstrapWeaving

artisan: Naguska

Naguska was founded in 1997 as an export company of Peruvian handicrafts, which has been characterized by its richness, variety, and unique beauty since pre-Columbian times. Today, the materials and techniques that the artisans have inherited from generation to generation can be appreciated in every piece. Naguska seeks to create job opportunities for artisans in Peru, increasingly for groups of women knitters from the rural area in the highlands of Puno. Naguska provides training and technical support in the implementation of workshops so they can make their work as well as increase the quality of products and, therefore, of their lives.

knit stuffed animals

Country: PeruTechnique: knitting

artisan: Nappa Dori

Nappa Dori is an intimate fashion house in Delhi, India where the emphasis on quality is matched by the commitment to social justice. The fabrics are dyed using traditional ikat techniques that have been used around the world for centuries to create beautiful fabrics. The technique was developed independently on different continents; throughout the world, ikat has been a symbol of status because of the skill and precision required to produce it.

travel accessories

Country: indiaTechnique: IKAT + SEWING

artisan: ProTeje

ProTeje works as a support program for more than 80 women weavers in communities throughout Guatemala. They are committed to the preservation of backstrap loom weaving. This incredible technique, traditionally practiced by women, has been passed down through generations but is becoming less common over time. Most of the women working with ProTeje are between 40 to 50 years old. Some work with their mothers and daughters, representing three generations of women committed to preserving this traditional technique. ProTeje, in turn, provides these women with a source of income, which allows them to take care of their families and provide their children with access to a higher quality of education.


Country: GuatemalaTechnique: BACKSTRAP WEAVING

artisan: Razafindrabe Collections

Razafindrabe Collections is a social enterprise in Madagascar. The products reflect Malagasy artisans' skills and techniques passed on from one generation to another. The majority of the women have multiple children and previously did not have access to a formal education. Through Razafindrabe Collections, they have access to a sustainable source of income and skill development opportunities. Razafindrabe Collections also supports the local primary school with basic supplies and donates 10 percent of its profits to the lunch program.


Country: MADAGASCARTechnique: weaving

artisan: SAFFY

SAFFY provides employment opportunities to skilled artisans in the Philippines regardless of age; the artisans range in age from 18 to 60 years of age. SAFFY works with licensed tree farmers to source wood that has been sustainably harvested. After shaping the wood using traditional hand-carving techniques, the pieces must dry over a period of several weeks. Then the lacquer and the top coat are added. SAFFY empowers artisans through the provision of support services including skill development, product development insights, and financial management training.


Country: PhilippinesTechnique: Wood Carving

artisan: Sustainable Threads

Sustainable Threads is a fair trade enterprise that works with more than 10 artisan groups located in India. The artisans use traditional frame looms to create cotton threads, which become the actual fabric. Using 100 percent cotton, artisans weave cotton linens and pillows by hand. Sustainable Threads is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and is committed to promoting rural development, entrepreneurship, and social justice in the communities in which the artisans live and work.


Country: indiaTechnique: weaving

artisan: TENSIRA

Based in the Republic of Guinea, TENSIRA is committed to creating sustainable income opportunities for craft communities within West Africa. The organization is named after a small village that specializes in indigo dyeing. Artisan collaborators preserve the time-honored dyeing technique to create this collection. The textiles are hand-spun and hand-woven on traditional looms using 100 percent cotton. Nearly 3,600 ties are needed to create one meter of fabric. The vibrant blue dye is derived from the leaves of the indigotier plant, which grows in the mountainous region of Guinea.



artisan: Wolof Weavers of Senegal

The women of Wolof Weavers of Senegal are proud to preserve the coil style of basket weaving by passing the technique from generation to generation. Using thick local grasses and strips of recycled plastic in the traditional technique, the artisans craft baskets and hampers that support income critical to sustaining their families. Wolof Weavers is a cooperative effort of over 100 highly skilled women weaving in nine villages.


Country: SEnegalTechnique: basket weaving

artisan: WomenCraft

WomenCraft is a social enterprise and member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Artisans working with WomenCraft practice a weaving technique that is traditional to Hangaza culture weaving in the tri-border region between Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi. This specialized coiling technique combines natural grasses interwoven with vibrant materials of the region. Through the time-intensive technique, artisans weave each grass coil in a series of carefully planned rows, fusing traditional weaving with a modern aesthetic. This technique is passed down from one generation to the next, specifically from mothers to daughters or women to women. It is also unique to the artisans’ communities.


Country: tanzaniaTechnique: weaving

artisan: Wood Carvers of Kenya

Kenyan wood carvers are recognized worldwide for expertly sculpting art from native woods using sustainable practices. The olive wood tree is sacred to Kenyans and appreciated worldwide for its beautiful grain patterns and durability. Artisans practice craft forms handed down through the generations or learned in response to an environmental surplus.


Country: kenyaTechnique: wood carving

artisan: Woven Promises

For centuries, Ethiopian artisans have been spinning cotton and weaving it into beautiful fabrics. Every step of creating these cotton products is done by hand. After the cotton is harvested, it is spun into yarn using a technique that is traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. The thread is dyed with organic plant dyes made from berries, roots, flowers, and bark. Next, it is hand-woven on a loom, typically by men who pass down the technique to their sons. Hand-weaving is an intricate process that results in beautifully patterned designs and high-quality fabrics. These products support sustainable employment, access to healthcare, and a savings fund for the artisans. Woven Promises exists on a foundation of deep appreciation of the cultural heritage of the artisans and provides assistance to improve their overall quality of life.


Country: EthiopiaTechnique: ETHIOPIAN COTTON WEAVING