Fair trade shopping in India and beyond
I’ve teamed up with Novica to offer you the opportunity to buy beautiful fair trade products from talented artisans in India, Bali, West Africa, Mexico and many other places.
When I travel in India, a significant portion of my time is spent shopping. I love visiting markets and buying local products from a country known for beautiful handicrafts; stunning house wares, textiles and furniture; and of course my favourites: colourful, feminine clothes and jewelry. So, I was really happy to find out about Novica, an online company that sources very high quality, fair trade products from India and around the world. The online store, in association with National Geographic, features pages of stunning products: about 8,500 products from 1,700 artisans.
All of the products are carefully sourced, made by talented artists who are profiled and celebrated throughout the site. As you browse, you always know who designed the pieces you are eyeing. And you can even help fund artists through their Artisans Loans. They’ve recently partnered with Kiva.org to provide a higher volume of microcredit loans to artisans around the world.
NOVICA unites you with more than 2,000 extraordinary master artists around the world, offering them a fair price for their work.
There’s a fun, interactive element to Novica, too, which can inspire shoppers to be creative. You can become a Curator and create collections that give Novica artisans exposure and you the opportunity to win prizes for your efforts. A recent contest awarded the prize-winner a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru. It’s just another example of a fun, creative and positive aspect to shopping online at the Novica site.
We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow.
There’s so many things I love about Novica, but of course the best part is browsing through the full-colour photos. After much searching, I used a $150 gift certificate the company gave me to “test drive” their products and services to buy a silk-cotton shawl in dreamy water colours and a brilliant ring called Dazzling Delhi from two different artists in India (see photo above).
Though they came from India, the products arrived in less than 10 days, carefully wrapped and accompanied by an impressive package of materials. I was delighted to see a hand-written postcard from each artist and small booklets with bios about the artists, too.
My ring was designed by Aarti Sharma, who is from Karnal in Haryana — a town I visited on my first visit to India. Aarti says in her bio: “Coming from a very traditional family, I have learned the values of family, culture and tradition yet I am very open to new ideas and new trends.
My shawl was designed by Imtiyaz, whose family has been in the business of Kashmiri shawls for generations. “I think my association with this art goes back to very long ago when I was a child. My grandmother use to weave shawls and even sold them. Since we were a large family, I remember spending most of my time with my grandmother. ”
And there’s even a travel writing connection: Novica’s Vice President of Communications, Catherine “Wander Woman” Ryan, is a very well-travelled writer, who has explored 43 nations to date.
On the site, she says, “Novica has broken down the traditional international barriers to direct trade between individuals. Our goal is to help usher in a second, positive era of globalization that moves away from both the consolidation of the marketplace and the homogenization of culture. Novica is all about promoting artisans as individuals and increasing appreciation of all cultures – on a tremendous scale. This is what inspires us each day!”
I truly loved the products I ordered. They were as beautiful as the photos suggested, and the quality of both the products and the presentation exceeded my expectations. I am really impressed with this company. Now, because of Novica, I don’t have to leave my home in Toronto when I feel the urge to shop in India.
[Please note, taxes and duties are not included in the costs of freight if your order is being shipped outside of the U.S. Taxes and duties will need to be paid to the shipping company at the time of delivery. Please check with your local customs bureau for more information regarding taxes, duties and importation fees.]
[NOTE: This page contains affiliate links.]
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