Many of the artisan and producer groups we work with are preserving traditional techniques that have been passed down over generations. The Little Market is committed to sharing the beauty and intricacy of these traditions and celebrating the extraordinary skills of the artisans.
These techniques are rich in history and carry great cultural significance.
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. The social enterprise works with farmworkers to source flavorful, hand-picked tea and coffee and supports the artisan women who design its recyclable packaging. Ajiri provides farmworkers with fair, living wages and access to beneficial workshops on topics ranging from literacy to nutrition.
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.
EMBROIDERY + KANTHA STITCHING
Anchal Project is an India-based social enterprise that supports employment opportunities for women, many of whom were 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.
Artesania Sorata provides work for indignenous families with low income in Bolivia. The artisan women dye the wool by hand using natural dyes made from local ingredients, such as walnut leaves, thola, and cochineal. The natural dyes are sustainable and soft on the wool. With this yarn, the artisans knit each piece by hand. Each artisan has a unique style and often adds embroidered patterns inspired by traditional weavings, geometric symbols, animals, or birds.
stone-carving + inlay
Based in India, Asha Handicrafts empowers artisans who are socially and economically underserved. Asha Handicrafts is dedicated to the development of artisan groups and to trade, train artisans, and transform the lives of artisans. Artisans practice unique craft traditions, stone carving and inlay, to create marble boards and coasters. Stone carving can be traced back to the Mughal empire in the 17th Century and is found throughout northern India. Approximately 14 to 15 pieces are made daily with four artisans collaborating at a time.
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.
EMBROIDERY + KANTHA STITCHING
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 educational opportunities including literacy and life skills programs. The artisans receive medical support, counseling, and day care.
bolga basket weavers
Artisans in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana, West Africa weave beautiful and durable baskets from thick, tough, and sustainable elephant grass. Purchases of these baskets have supported underserved indigenous weavers in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana, West Africa. A classic icon of African craftsmanship, Bolga baskets from Ghana are known for their durability, unique patterns, and vibrant colors.
BORDADORAS UNIDAS ARCOIRIS
EMBROIDERY + STITCHING
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.
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.
POTTERY MAKING, GLASS BLOWING + RAFFIA BRAIDING
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.
handmade with sustainable materials
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.
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.
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.
EllieFunDay partners with an artisan group consisting of 40 women working as part of a sewing unit. Many of these artisans are single mothers; some of them have experienced a form of domestic violence or abuse. The artisans have access to job training, fair wages, dignified employment, healthcare, and educational resources.
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.
HANDCRAFTING WITH ALPACA PLUSH
Inspired Peru is an artisan cooperative consisting of 35 artisans; the majority are widows and heads of household from indigenous communities in the Peruvian highlands. Ethically sourced, local alpaca wool is used to craft products, such as stuffed animals and accessories, that celebrate the artisans’ ancestral and cultural heritage. At Inspired Peru, artisans are empowered to transmit their traditional skills to future generations while expanding their business and leadership skills.
IRAQ AL-AMIR WOMEN'S COOPERATIVE
HAND-GLAZING + SLIP-CASTING
Based in Jordan, Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative has empowered a community of skilled craftswomen since 1993. The artisans are mostly single women from rural indigenous communities, and many of them have worked with the cooperative since its beginnings. The income earned through Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative is essential to supporting their livelihoods, especially considering the current decrease in farmland that has left many community members in poverty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
POM POM + TASSEL MAKING
Macvilho was founded by a group of Tzotzil Maya artisan women 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 creates more employment opportunities for the artisans at Macvilho, allowing them to lead better lives supplemented by the additional income.
Makra supports talented artisans who are socially and economically underserved by providing them with dignified work, a sustainable income, an outlet to preserve handicraft arts, and essential training and resources. The group of artisans implement eco-conscious principles to create this glassware — the organization collects glass locally in the Greater Cairo area of Egypt and recycles and repurposes the raw materials into beautiful hand-blown glassware.
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.
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.
Matr Boomie is a sourcing partner for socially and environmentally responsible products. The organization works with underserved individuals in India and strives to improve their economic and social standing by creating self-sustainable employment following fair trade practices. Matr Boomie partners with grass-root level NGOs and artisan cooperatives that train artisans to create high quality handmade goods. Matr Boomie empowers the artisans with market and fashion information, allowing them to create functional products. The artisans are encouraged to use natural fibers and recycled material as often as possible.
Located in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala, Maya Traditions has been dedicated to connecting indigenous Maya backstrap weavers and their families to national and international markets since 1996. Maya Traditions ensures that the culture of these artisans is preserved and seen across all of their products. 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 women who weave them. Maya Traditions provide various social programs in youth education, community health, and artisan development.
Mayan Hands works with women weavers across different communities in the western highlands of Guatemala. Many of them previously had limited access to educational opportunities. Now, they are able to build sustainable futures as they continue to preserve their cultural traditions. The women work hard to preserve their culture while earning fair wages and supporting their families. To make these textiles, they honor traditional weaving techniques and hand-dye fabric. 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.
Naguska was founded in 1997 as an export company of Peruvian handicrafts, which is a craft that has been characterized by its richness, variety, and unique beauty since pre-Columbian times. Naguska seeks to create job opportunities for indigenous artisans and knitters from rural areas in the highlands of Puno. Naguska provides training and technical support so the artisans can learn their craft and increase the quality of their products and, therefore, of their lives.
ikat + sewing
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.
Based in Bangladesh, the community-based nonprofit organization Prokritee provides dignified work to more than 2,000 women in rural communities who are rising above poverty and supporting themselves and their families. To create these baskets, they practice a basket weaving technique that is local to the area and use locally sourced recycled iron and sustainable hogla leaves. Prokritee prioritizes environmentally conscious practices that are good for people and our planet.
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.
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.
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.
Sustainable Threads is a fair trade enterprise that works with more than 10 artisan groups located in India including several tribal spinners groups. Based in one of the most economically underprivileged states in India, these groups provide employment to families in rural India and support farmworkers, yarn spinners, weavers, and sewers. Otherwise, the rural communities would have to engage in distress migration in search of employment. Sustainable Threads is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and is committed to promoting rural development, entrepreneurship, and social justice in the communities where the artisans live and work.
Based in the Republic of Guinea, TENSIRA is committed to creating sustainable income opportunities for craft communities within West Africa. TENSIRA blends Nordic design with traditional West African craftsmanship to create beautifully unique linen collections. The organization currently supports more than 60 full-time artisan collaborators at its workshop and provides job training and sustainable income.
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 generate income critical to supporting their families. Wolof Weavers is a cooperative effort of over 100 highly skilled women weaving in nine villages.
WomenCraft is a social enterprise and member of the World Fair Trade Organization working with more than 300 artisans. Artisans 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. 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.
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.
ethopian cotton weaving
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.