Today, June 20th, is World Refugee Day. This day is an opportunity to recognize all of the courageous people around the world who have fled from their homes to find safety and create a better life for their families. The number of displaced people has reached 60 million globally.

At my fair trade shop, The Little Market, two of our artisan partners, GAIA and Prosperity Candle, have made it their mission to improve the lives of women refugees in the U.S. by providing employment opportunities, job training, and important resources. At The Little Market, we are able to support these artisans through the purchase of their fair trade products.

Below you can read about two of the women artisans we work with at The Little Market who are refugees. Their courage and perseverance are beyond inspiring…

Read two inspiring stories from female artisans working with @thelilmarketHtoo (on left) at Prosperity Candle

Htoo | Prosperity Candle

Htoo is one of the women working with Prosperity Candle, the artisan group who makes our candle collection at The Little Market. Based in Western Massachusetts, Prosperity Candle is a social enterprise based in the U.S. that invests in women entrepreneurs to help end poverty. Every candle purchased helps provide a living wage for the women artisans who are working to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. Htoo last saw her native Burma (Myanmar) when she was fleeing on foot through the jungle. She was four years old. Htoo and her family were forced out of their home by soldiers—forever leaving behind the life they knew and loved. After 13 years in a refugee camp in Thailand, Htoo became eligible to relocate to the U.S. to start a new life. At age 20, Htoo joined Prosperity Candle as an apprentice candle maker and earned her first paycheck. Now with her own resources, Htoo has learned valuable job skills and is completing her high school education—the first step toward her dream of becoming a chef.

Read two awe-inspiring stories from female artisans working with The Little MarketBothina (on left) at GAIA

Bothina | GAIA

In 2013, Bothina, along with her husband and two children, escaped war-torn Syria. After two years of suffering with losing loved ones to violence, they decided to leave their home in a day. After traveling for days they reached neighboring Jordan. Bothina and her family eventually found asylum in Jordan, yet unfortunately could not find work. They were granted refugee status and finally resettled in the U.S in December of 2015. Now in Dallas, Bothina and her mother-in-law have begun to re-establish their lives with the help of GAIA Empowered Women, one of The Little Market’s newest artisan partners. GAIA’s beautiful products, including bags and pillows, are handmade by resettled refugee women in Dallas, Texas. They use vintage, sustainable, and artisan-made materials. The women are provided with the opportunity to work from home and receive a living wage while continuing training and development.

In addition to supporting refugees through our online shop, The Little Market has also had the opportunity to be a part of the Annenberg Space for Photography’s powerful exhibit REFUGEE. During the exhibit, we’re hosting a pop-up shop in their gift store, and earlier this month my good friend and co-founder of The Little Market, Hannah Skvarla, and I participated in a panel discussion. We were honored to be joined by Elizabeth Calvin of Human Rights Watch and Lindsay Guetschow of The Malala Fund. The exhibit and our pop-up shop run through the end of August, so if you’re in the LA-area this summer, I encourage you to visit and learn more about what it means to be a refugee.

To learn more about our artisan partners and shop all of their beautiful, handmade goods, be sure to visit The Little Market.

XO Lauren

Photos: The Little Market, GAIA
  • Jessica Holbrook

    Inspiring <3 Thank you for sharing.

  • manuela

    Hi Lauren I love the project of the little market, and it’s important to remember the refuged people today
    you have such a big heart Lauren!
    xoxo M.

  • I am such a huge fan of the Little Market and all the great work your team does through it. It’s an incredible concept and it warms my heart to not only get a great product, but know it’s helping those who have created it. Thank you for creating and keeping up this project!

    xoxo Mollie

  • This is such a great post–I always love learning about new companies that I can feel good about supporting! 🙂 Thank you for supporting them, Lauren!

    • LaurenConradOnline

      We love that you love the cause as much as we do! 🙂 xo

  • Helen Harm

    I am a big fan of the Little Marker and all of the amazing work they do. It is so inspiring and more companies should reflect the Little Market’s example. Love!

    xo Helen @

  • Jocelyn Xia

    Wow! This is so inspiring! Will definitely buy Little Market in the future! Thanks for bringing awareness to this!

    J. Xia

  • Meiqy Tong

    I have been a fan of Little Market for a quite a while now, and I’m so glad to see that they are getting more of the attention/publicity that they deserve!


    Meiqy Tong

  • Morgan Dauria

    love this whole concept! Thanks for bringing this to my attention… now sis and I know which company to go to for some things that we’ll need in the future!

    with <33,

    Morgan Dauria

    • Meredith Dauria

      yep, we will def use this company 🙂

      Meredith Dauria :))))

  • Jackie Huang

    super inspiring.

  • Jacqueline Zheng

    great story, thanks for sharing!

  • Kendra Wei

    wow, this is super touching and inspirational! Great find!


  • Angelica Li

    I agree with Jocelyn and Morgan 100%.

  • Yenna Lee-Jeong

    I always love hearing about companies with a “bigger purpose” …. I don’t know how else to phrase it, but it’s just great to see companies giving back and helping others! <3

    Yenna Lee-Jeong

    • Lily-Cate Smithson

      Yenna, you took the words right from my mouth 😀 couldn’t have said it better!

  • Such incredible and powerful stories. Thank you for sharing =o)

    • vera4576

      I basically profit around 6.000-8.000 bucks a month for freelance jobs i do at home. For those of you who are looking to do simple computer-based jobs for several hrs each day at your house and get decent paycheck for doing it… This is a gig for you…

  • Annie Arment

    Love this post! What a great artisan find for the Little Market! These two companies are changing lives!