eBay Seller Story: Novica, a Global Bazaar on eBay
by Jen Smith
eBay’s The Inside Source: Home & Garden
Who over the age of 30 doesn't have memories of sitting in the school library poring over issues of National Geographic magazine, mesmerized by photos of exotic animals (western green mamba snakes! the deadly Cane Toad!) and faraway cultures so different from our own? Back when images weren't so easily accessible, this now-123 year-old magazine was instrumental in making the world feel smaller by bringing distant lands to our doorstep. And it continues to do so with not only a print edition, but also a robust website, TV channel, videos and yes, an associated eBay store.
With a minority stake from National Geographic, NOVICA (which has a standalone site in addition to its eBay shop) supports artisans from around the world by making their wares available for sale online. Dedicated to bringing isolated artists from some of the world’s poorest places to your doorstep, the L.A.-based company features over 1,700 artists from eight regions: India, Bali and Java, Mexico, West Africa, Thailand, the Andes, Brazil and Central America. Their handcrafted rugs, furniture, masks, mirrors, instruments, clothing, jewelry, accessories, wall hangings and more are handcrafted tokens of age-old cultures, not to mention elegant additions to the modern home.
So how does it work? “NOVICA does not charge artists any fees for listing their items on the website,” says Jess Munro, Senior Operations Associate at NOVICA and general oversee of the company's eBay efforts. “Furthermore, artists remain fully independent—they are free to raise their prices, lower their prices, or remove their items from our website. By cutting out the long strings of middlemen, NOVICA allows both consumers and artisans to get the most out of each and every transaction. This also allows for a personal connection between artist and customer.
“We have offices in each of the regions, which are staffed primarily with local residents who maintain relationships with the artisans and make it possible to get their products from workshop to customer," She continues. "Almost all NOVICA orders ship directly from their country of origin.”
Munro selected 10 artists and items whose work she finds particularly compelling. She also points out that should you want to further support a favorite artist, you can offer a micro-loan that will go directly to the craftsman of your choosing.
Read more about NOVICA artisan loans here.