FIRST THOUGHT: Give Back
When you think about the richest place in the United States, what comes to mind? Orange County? New York City? Mar-a-Lago? It’s actually a small island in Florida you probably haven’t heard of. Fisher Island is off the coast of Miami and its residents have an average annual income of $2.2 million. There’s a private beach with butler service, an aviary with exotic birds, an elementary school that costs $20,000 a year, and you get the idea. Feeling poor AF? Don’t forget that having it all in the bank or on an island isn’t an instant recipe for happiness. Relationships and acts of kindness are the proven measures of a joyful life.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 84 Percent
But it’s cool if you’re pining over the idea of a super yacht. Recently, Forbes has started to give billionaires philanthropy ratings. Out of the 400 richest Americans, only 29 have given at least 20 percent of their net worth. I wonder what would happen if they all gave 20 percent—the end of world hunger, perhaps? On the other side, 84 percent of millennials give to charity, averaging donations of around $500.
It wasn’t long ago when I envied one of today’s Women To Watch. Her straight, blonde hair and headbands and internships and beachside living. Of course, I’m talking about Lauren Conrad. Y’all know her as the reality star in Laguna Beach and The Hills. More recently, you’ve seen her build a lifestyle empire. Now, she’s teamed up with Hannah Skvarla and launched a nonprofit called The Little Market.
After Hannah studied fashion and advertising, she interned at the Human Rights Watch. She said this informed her about ethical practices in fashion and consumer goods. Friends first, Lauren and Hannah developed the idea for The Little Market: artisans would make products to be sold for a profit. They offer ready-to-order products that are designed and created by artisans like those with disabilities who are employed through a co-op in San Miguel De Allende.
There’s an element of curation, in that the duo will decide on colors, material, etc. Products come from more than two dozen different countries and range from ceramic dishes to finger puppets to reusable shopping bags. Their last report shows that nearly 150,000 hours of dignified work was completed by artisans.
Lauren says that working with her dear friend makes for a more flexible biz partnership. They can workout together and discuss recent marketing strategies or take calls on the way to daycare. Hannah urges women to take any challenge or obligation or dream one hour at a time. The future can be overwhelming, so breaking it down into 60-minute slices helps.
The Little Market founders say that neither have taken a salary from the venture because it’s all about preserving artisans’ culture and giving them a respective income. That and super cute stuff, of course.
*Photo image source: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com
QUITE THE QUOTE
Anthropologist Margaret Mead said:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."