Lauren Conrad has come a long way since we first met her on Laguna Beach and The Hills. After she retired from television, Conrad decided to side-step the spotlight and focus on her true passion projects: her family, her fashion lines, and, most notably, The Little Market. This expansive nonprofit shop, co-founded with friend and business partner Hannah Skvarla, is dedicated to economically empowering women artisans, often from underserved communities and countries. A new collaboration with Saje Wellness brings that mission into even sharper focus with the release of The Little Market x Saje Aroma Mosaic Diffuser ($98).
An essential oil diffuser that's one-part home decor, one-part wellness must-have, the small, patterned object can power six hours of continuous cool mist and is compatible with all of Saje's best-selling, all-natural essential oils. But most importantly—especially to Conrad and Skvarla—is the brand's mission to help combat poverty with sales of the collaboration.
"We met the Saje team nearly five years ago, and we both fell in love with the brand," Skvarla tells Byrdie exclusively. "Saje is committed to wellness and empowering women, two things that Lauren and I care deeply about." Of course, the pair were already familiar with Saje's work, too — Conrad says they both keep Saje diffusers in their homes.
Though The Little Market has focused on female-focused philanthropy for quite some time (they're even gearing up to celebrate the nonprofit's 10th anniversary), Skvarla points out it's a particularly important time to support women artists in underserved communities—both around the world and at home.
"COVID has disproportionately impacted women in vulnerable communities, leaving many without jobs or ways to support themselves and their families," she explains. "By purchasing ethically sourced, handmade items, we are able to help preserve cultures and techniques while supporting much needed dignified income to help women break the cycle of poverty."
As for the diffuser itself, it doesn't just look pretty sitting on your shelf. The heat-free system dispenses cool air and plant-powered oils, just requiring some water and 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. "I’ve just started getting into the blends and I really love them," Conrads tells Byrdie. "I’ve always liked adding oils to a bath. I use the Lavender Oil at night and Eucalyptus Oil if I’m feeling under the weather." Skvarla co-signs the eucalyptus callout and also loves Saje’s Liquid Sunshine Cheerful Diffuser Blend for daytime.
As for how else the duo is spending this summer, both founders are self-described beach lovers. Skvarla says she's drawn to the ocean and the magic of a day spent in nature, and Conrad couldn't agree more. "I love spending the whole day outside," she says. "We spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer. We head down early, pack a lunch and let the boys run around for hours."
With this collaboration already poised to be an at-home game-changer, The Little Market founders are looking ahead to what's next and where they can best help. "I am so proud of how much The Little Market has grown and of the community it has created," Conrad says. "I hope to continue to watch this non-profit grow and reach more people all over the world."