Lauren Conrad has created an e-commerce site to support female artisans across the globe.

The 27-year-old star, who has rebranded herself as a fashion designer and style icon since leaving 'The Hills', says her world travels inspired her to set up The Little Market with her best friend Hannah Skvarla.

She told People magazine: ''While travelling abroad we met women artisans who were trying to support themselves and their families. Without access to a global marketplace they were not receiving living wages for their handmade goods despite their extraordinary skills.

''We created The Little Market to give these women a place to sell their exquisite products at prices that allow them to support their families with food, shelter, education and healthcare.''

Lauren and Hannah handpicked products as varied as clothing, baby goods and homeware to feature on their site, and the artisans are in turn paid a wage to be able to support their families with the help of nonprofit organisation Global Goods Partners.

The fashion-loving duo added: ''The Little Market helps artisans help themselves. A gift from The Little Market supports an artisan, provides services for a community, and shares the message of sustainability with your friends and family.''

The pals cited their favourite purchase as the cosy Alpaca scarf, which was handmade in Bolivia and comes in five different colours.

They explained: ''We love this scarf because it is really cozy. What's more, the alpaca fibre is a renewable resource ... and [your purchase] supports community centres in poor, isolated areas of Bolivia's highlands.

''A giant scarf is a staple in our wardrobes. We always travel with a big scarf in our carry-on bags to keep us warm on the plane. In cool weather the alpaca will keep you warm and in warm weather it breathes.''