Have you ever dreamt of starting a business that requires you to travel across the globe with one of your best friends, all while creating positive change in the lives of others?
Hannah Skvarla, Co-Founder of The Little Market, wife, and mama to her one-year-old daughter Liora, is living our dreams and her very own.
While attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), where she met her friend and then soon-to-be business partner, Lauren Conrad, Hannah’s ultimate career goal was to find a way to merge fashion and giving back. Lauren, previous star of MTV’s The Hills, and now NYT Best Selling author and designer of her own Kohl’s fashion line, shared the same interest. Together they joined forces to create The Little Market, connecting artisans from around the world to a broader clientele.
“Starting The Little Market has allowed me to have my dream job!” Skvarla said in our interview last year. “I always loved design but didn’t know how to turn it into a career path. After traveling with Lauren, we decided to start to The Little Market to empower women around the world.”
Hannah, also a member of Human Rights Watch, divulges below on the rewards and challenges of working with friends, her future goals (because, yes, she wants to do more!), and her best advice and tips to staying organized while changing the world.
What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
The biggest challenge is prioritizing my to-do list. Everything I put on my list is important. From writing customer thank you notes to planning our next trip to designing new products, I really care about everything I do.
Prioritizing is definitely a universal struggle! Do you have any tips or favorite tools that you use to help you?
You have the opportunity to work every day with one of your closest friends. What is the biggest reward of working with a good friend?
The best part of working with good friends is that it doesn’t feel like work. Our small team at The Little Market is very close and I really enjoy working with everyone.
What do you think is key to working together successfully?
For me, the key to working successfully with a friend is realistic expectations. It’s important to work together to determine each other’s role and responsibilities.
While traveling and shopping, what kinds of items or styles are you drawn to for TLM?
I am drawn to items that would make good gifts. I love buying gifts for my family and friends and I like to find items that other people can give as gifts.
My favorite part of my job is meeting with the talented artisans we work with. I love hearing their stories of how our purchases have improved their lives.
You’ve traveled all over the world and seen some of the hardest working women. What does it feel like when you come back to LA, where we have so much, after seeing such struggle and poverty?
Every trip reminds me that I am lucky to live in LA. We often take for granted the privileges that come with living in the US. Most women and girls around the world don’t have the opportunities we do. Each trip motivates me to work harder to help other women earn an income so they can create a better life for themselves and their families.
What’s your next goal or even a dream that you might have for the business?
I would love to open a brick and mortar store. All of our handmade products are truly works of art and I would love for customers to be able to see each piece in person.
What’s the best advice you can share with anyone dreaming of starting their own business?
I highly recommend working or interning at a company that does work you are passionate about. You won’t even realize how much you learn until you apply the knowledge to starting your business. Change is possible, it is ok to be idealistic!
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Interest and passion can spark a dream, but Hannah proves that dedication, desire, and gratitude will fuel it. Writing thank you cards to customers, appreciating her co-workers, and caring about the artisans she works with, only makes us admire her more!
If you aren’t familiar with The Little Market, read up on the amazing company here before you get your shop on! The work they are doing reaches beyond the artisans and into their communities. Then, go nuts! You’ll know that you’re getting quality, handmade, one-of-a-kind items, and more importantly, you’re supporting other hard-working ladies around the world.
all photos from: