Lauren Conrad, former star of MTV’s The Hills, isn’t expected to join the just announced reboot, despite the efforts of her former co-star Whitney Port to try to persuade her. These days, Conrad is working on something much bigger.
She wasn’t taking any questions about her former reality show Friday, as she celebrated the opening of the first brick-and-mortar store, at Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades, Calif., for the online, fair-trade shop, the Little Market, that she co-founded with her friend Hannah Skvarla. The pretty, cozy space featured dishes, candles, jewelry, toys, and more, all arranged by color.
“There’s something really cool about being able to create an in-store experience and give customers the opportunity to come in and see and hold all of these handmade goods, to really appreciate them,” Conrad told Yahoo Lifestyle.
The store is a huge deal, even for Conrad, whose post-TV résumé also includes the title of designer (LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s), author of multiple books, and overseer of her lifestyle website. She and Skvarla created the Little Market in 2013, making it their goal to collect pretty and unique items, such as wooden bowls, bags, and dolls crafted by women around the world, that they could sell to generate income for the artisans.
Skvarla noted that the two had long wanted an actual store, but that since their business is a nonprofit, they’ve prioritized keeping costs down. Now that the first store is here, they hope to expand further, creating even more jobs for women.
“Our team has always been as small and nimble as possible,” Skvarla said. “We keep our expenses as low as possible, so that all of the money really goes into more product purchases. Any expense we take on — another team member, anything — that is always scary for us, because we need to make sure those expenses can be justified and create more job opportunities.”
As that happens, they’ll be taking more trips to Mexico, Madagascar, and India, the places where the women who make their goods call home. They’ve done much less of it since both became moms — Conrad’s son Liam is 1, while Skvarla has a son and a daughter, of only 4 months old and 3. However, both women would eventually like to start traveling again.
When they do travel more, Conrad said the top things they’ll take along are a duffel bag (for their finds), maxi dresses, and, most important, plenty of snacks.
“We both have very sensitive stomachs. We get sick on every trip,” Conrad said. “If there’s ever a meal we don’t feel superconfident in, then we try and eat a packaged snack instead.”
She added wryly: “We end up getting sick no matter what, but we always give in, we always want to experience the local cuisine. We try to get sick at the end of the trip.”
What the two are not planning is a reality show about their business.
Skvarla insisted that she’s “not great on TV,” to which Conrad replied that she wasn’t giving herself enough credit.
“One of the things I really love about the Little Market is the team we work with,” Conrad said. “It’s such a positive community we’ve built, and it’s such a happy place to work. It would be a snooze for television, because everyone gets along so well.”
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