Paulo Ferreira, founder of this new platform, spends his time between the extreme opposites that is the Algarve and Serra da Estrela. He moved to the Algarve in 2018 because “there are lots of things to do here” especially as he believes it is a rich region with a lot of heritage. Before happy van, his first company, he was in the Banking business for 20 years and decided to have a complete career change because he is “so passionate about artisanal products.”
I asked Paulo Ferreira what inspired him to start Little Piece of Portugal and he told me that “This platform was born out of my first company called Happy van (happyvan.pt), which does tours and experiences where we show different heritage sites including artisans in the Algarve and the history behind their crafts and an insight into how they create their products. Through this people will discover another Algarve as they will see things from a different perspective in terms of the local community. From this we started talking with artisans to take this further to sell online and abroad.” He knew a friend with the same passion so they started this marketplace website in November where they had two artisans from the Algarve to start it off, and they then started trying to locate more artisans and to see what they were selling and where and if they needed help from them. They have decided to give any artisan the first 12 months free of charge when joining their marketplace. This kind gesture comes from the fact that they know that “craftsmen fight to survive and with Covid-19 it is even harder for them to sell their products.”
They have a copious amount of different handmade products available on their website, including: leather goods, artisan soaps, shampoos, candles, tote bags, mosaics, knitwear, toys, cosmetics and much more. Paulo Ferreira also told me that they plan to expand their marketplace and will have new products including Gin made in Serra de Estrela made from local fruits and other liquors. Additionally, there will be personalised biscuits that this artisan makes using her grandma’s recipe with local ingredients. Furthermore, she can make biscuits with any business logo on them and she also makes biscuits with Portuguese history on them including monuments, poems and stories. Another product they are hoping to also have soon is local trainers made with local fabrics such as burel wool.
Why buying local products is so important
Paulo Ferreira believes it is “important to encourage people to buy from local artisans as it maintains their identity, heritage, traditions and most importantly, buying Portuguese hand made products helps people to survive as they are one of the groups that have been hit the hardest”. On their website they have products that customers can’t find elsewhere, including on the high street. Most of these artisans only sell their products on their small social media accounts and they are not selling their products in a shop”. Most artisan shops have products made by factories and are not uniquely handcrafted products so shopping at Little Piece of Portugal really focuses on products made with care.”
Little Piece of Portugal is growing and has 15 different businesses on their website and if you are an artisan and wish to have your products on their marketplace, you can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to their marketplace, they also sell through their social media platforms which have a catalogue that is always evolving so people can check out the different products that are on sale and they are always publishing new products because that is always what they do for their artisans for free, they build their store and their following and promote their products. If you are interested in buying local products, please check out their marketplace https://littlepieceofportugal.pt, their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LittlepieceofPortugal.pt and their Instagram at littlepieceofportugal.