I recently did a review for NOVICA, an organization that helps bring fair trade work from international artisans to the web. If you haven't already read that review, check it out at http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/2010/06/novica-hammock-swing-review.html before reading any further.
You may wonder why I'm doing a follow-up sort of post since this isn't something that I normally do. Well, the answer is because NOVICA excites me. When I first visited them, I immediately fell in love and sent out an email to my coworkers with a link to http://novica.com/. Subsequently, I visited many times as I sifted through all of the unique, beautiful, and useful things in their selection. It is for these simple reasons that I'm bringing them up again: 1) I stand behind what they're doing to promote artists and art, and 2) they have a LOT of cool stuff that I wish all resided in my own home. :-)
So read the review, visit their website, and then check out this interesting additional information they sent to me after I had dug through their site and still had a few questions:
• How does NOVICA find its artists? We have offices around the world staffed with local culture and art experts that are always looking for new artists. We go to open air markets, hold contests, and go to hard to get to places to find new artists. Also, within the artisan community, many hear about us and come to our offices directly through word of mouth.
• How is NOVICA funded since I saw that you don't charge the artists anything? We're funded through National Geographic, the World Bank, the Grassroots Business Fund, and other venture investors. We don't charge the artists anything to list their products, but we do have a markup on top of their price. The artist sets their price and then based on logistics and regional factors there is a markup to get to the final retail price.
• Does the above mean that the artist receives 100% (minus credit card fees and shipping) of the item's cost? No, we have a markup on top of the artist's price, same as traditional retailers, except our process is a lot more efficient because we are going direct to the artisans. This allows the artists to charge more than local retail and us to value-price our items versus traditional retailers.
• I noticed that more industrialized countries aren't represented--why is that? we do have the intention to work with some industrialized countries in the future, although we offer less of a service in industrialized nations because artists in industrialized countries do have online outlets to sell their wares. in some of the countries we operate in, if it wasn't for us, the artisans would not be able to focus on their crafts and make a living.
Thanks again to NOVICA for initially contacting me, sending me the hammock swing to review, and just for being all around great organization! Also, thank you to Ricky for working with me and being so patient as I got things together and for finding answers to all of my questions. :-)