The besties-turned-cofounders of fair trade marketplace and nonprofit The Little Market shared how their friendship makes their business even stronger and how they support one another as moms.
Best friends and business partners Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla have quite a bit in common. Lauren, of course, is a new mom to son Liam, who she welcomed with husband William Tell last summer. Hannah is mom to a 2-year-old daughter and expecting a baby boy due on Mother's Day. The pair met while studying at Los Angeles' Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) and have been in sync on their professional goals ever since. They're both also devoted to making the world a better place, especially for women. Through their online fair trade shop The Little Market, which sells gorgeous, unique home goods and clothing, they strive to empower their artisan partners by reinvesting profits into providing safe and sustainable employment opportunities, ultimately lifting women across the world up and out of poverty.
The next step: opening their first brick and mortar store in Pacific Palisades, California. But before that big launch, The Little Market co-founders wanted to celebrate International Women's Day. After all, the occasion holds a special place in their hearts not only as entrepreneurs who support women on a global scale but as moms. Parents.com sat down with Lauren and Hannah at their International Women's Day event to discuss what has surprised them the most about motherhood so far, how they support one another as friends and business partners, and their shared vision to empower moms all over the world.
Parents.com: How has motherhood reframed your perspective The Little Market's mission?
Hannah: It has made us more sympathetic to mothers around the world who don't have access to clean water, healthy food, and job opportunities to support themselves and their families.
Parents.com: How has your friendship served as a positive foundation for your work together on The Little Market?
Lauren: I think because we were friends before we started The Little Market, it has helped us be more flexible with each other. You know, we can take meetings while we're working out with each other, we can work nights or weekends, and it's always a fun environment.
Parents.com: How have you supported one another through motherhood?
Hannah: When I first became pregnant, Lauren put together an amazing gift box for me of all the not-so-glamorous things I didn't know I was going to need.
Lauren: It was like nipple cream and pads and diapers. Oh, the really unfortunate underwear you have to wear! The postpartum underwear.
Hannah: It was the items that [you need,] but no one would buy for you. And it's no fun, especially right after you've had a child, to go out and get these items. It was great!
Parents.com: How did you return the favor?
Hannah: I got her a piece of jewelry!
Lauren: She knew I already bought [the other] stuff. Hannah's always been very open and honest, which I really appreciate in people. She would wait until you were pregnant to give you all the details, afraid that you wouldn't want to do it, but I like to know what I'm in for. She was always very open along the way, and I could always call her with more intimate questions.
This week we are celebrating @thelittlemarket’s 4th anniversary! @laurenconrad and I founded the nonprofit to empower women around the world. Each purchase from our fair trade shop allows artisans to create a brighter future for themselves and their families. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and the artisans we work with.
Parents.com: What has surprised you the most about motherhood so far?
Lauren: I was pretty well-prepared. It was definitely an adjustment to get used to sleeping a lot less and sleeping on someone else's schedule. The hardest part for me was breastfeeding. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn't realize how difficult, so that was the most surprising thing for me. Honestly, [Liam] is such a good baby that I feel so lucky, so most of the things that were surprising were with my body.
Hannah: As cheesy as it is, I think I didn't realize—you know, we already both love our husbands very much, but my baby is a whole new kind of love, and I don't think I was prepared for that.
Parents.com: How has becoming moms shifted your perspective on International Women's Day and female empowerment, and how do you plan to share that concept with your children?
Lauren: When you have a child, you just want to make sure that the world they grow up in is a wonderful one, and I think women having equal rights is a very important part of that. You just want to fight for that.
Visit The Little Market website to purchase goods or make a donation to the nonprofit founded by women to empower artisans.Your donation will support Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla's efforts to empower artisans around the world.