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Daniela Bao
Lima, Peru

I had the amazing opportunity to intern at The Little Market, which is an online fair trade shop founded by Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla. Customers can buy gorgeous handmade products by artisans in developing countries all over the world, which really generates meaningful income for these artisans and their families. Even though Lauren Conrad is my boss - which is pretty awesome - the business model is what is so appealing to me. I feel like this organization is almost catered to me in fulfilling all the niches that I am most passionate about.

How it works is The Little Market designs products that they send out to the artisans, who then make it as unique and as cultural as possible. Their products are so trendy - I secretly want to buy everything from there! It's so amazing for me, being from Peru and having lived there most of my life, to be able to experience the interaction between artisans’ works and the impact that they make on the customers. It’s also crazy to see the impact that The Little Market is making on them and their families. They’re providing the artisans with stable jobs that allow them to create products that are culturally meaningful to them. It is a way to pass on culture from society to society. It’s just such a magical concept to me.

While in Cusco this summer, I had the chance to interview and meet some of the artisans that are located in Peru that work for The Little Market. Amongst all of those touching and spectacular moments with them, I got to see firsthand how they make their products. But more importantly, I got to see their gratified emotions while talking about The Little Market and the good that it has done for them and their families. It really has changed their lives - just the look on their faces when they talked about how their life has gotten so much better since their contribution to The Little Market. This was a huge turning point in my life.

There was one artisan I came across who literally mesmerized me. She made the coolest little gadgets and I was able to really to see how she makes her products without any technology. I put her in contact with The Little Market before my internship started and she is now applying to be one of our artisans. It's just so empowering and rewarding to see the impact that a business model like this one can bring to an individual, her family, and her community. After that day, there was no doubt in my mind about what I wanted to do in my life.

Lauren and Hannah literally have my dream life. They fund a non-profit, work with artisans from developing countries, give them a better life, and sell spectacular products with such great backstories that are full of culture.

Because of all of this, I’m incredibly busy, but I would never stop. I love what I am doing. My dream is to work somewhere related to social impact and be able to show the importance of development and bettering people's lives. I want to be able to create my own little thing in the future, preferably a nonprofit organization, that could have such a great impact to a whole different social group in such a way that allows them to slowly develop and not live in such strenuous situations.