NOVICA and Nest partner to improve working conditions, gender equality, and fair pay for artisans in emerging markets

Los Angeles, CA, February 9, 2023 — NOVICA and Nest, both leaders in the fair trade handcrafts space, have joined forces to help improve working conditions for artisans around the world – raising the bar on safety, gender equality, and fair wages.

Founded in 1999 to empower the world’s artisans and preserve endangered cultural art forms, NOVICA is the leading online marketplace providing artisans in emerging markets a platform to sell their handmade fair trade goods to the world. Since its inception, all artisans selling through NOVICA have signed and committed themselves to NOVICA’s fair trade and child labor agreements, including agreeing to undergo unscheduled workshop visits. Today, as a result of the NOVICA/Nest partnership, NOVICA’s existing protocols just got even better.

Founded in 2006, Nest is the leading nonprofit specializing in ethically handcrafted certification and works to support the responsible growth and creative engagement of the artisan and maker economy to build a world of greater gender equity and economic inclusion. Nest certifies and lends its “Ethically Handcrafted” seal of approval to artisan groups, specific products, and supply chains worldwide – for clients ranging from West Elm to Patagonia.

Unlike most companies, NOVICA doesn’t have a centralized production location or a specific product for Nest to certify, or a feasible number of artisan groups for Nest to accredit. NOVICA supports many thousands of individual artisans and small artisan groups around the world, who sell more than 70,000 individual handcrafts on the platform.

In light of NOVICA’s ongoing global expansion, NOVICA engaged Nest to help strengthen NOVICA’s existing fair trade requirements and its monitoring protocols. As a result, Nest has created a series of training modules to help NOVICA’s in-country region teams educate and assess artisans, leveraging Nest’s Standards for Homes and Small Workshops (the Nest Standards). The new “NOVICA Ethically Made” badge is the result of these efforts – a NOVICA verification protocol based on the Nest Standards, in addition to NOVICA’s long-standing additional requirements for handmade quality and authenticity.

“Nest’s new training modules are helping us work proactively with artisans during this new phase of our continued growth, to ensure that all existing and future NOVICA artisans meet the very highest standards of ethics and safety in their workshops,” commented NOVICA Cofounder Roberto Milk, adding, “The Nest protocols are superb, and the new training modules our teams have created with Nest’s guidance are helping our artisan partners become the very best they can be – the best workshop owners, and the best small business employers, for the benefit of all.”

About Nest: Founded in 2006, Nest is a leading advocate for the handcraft sector. Nest believes in the power of craft to advance gender equity and economic equality through handcrafts. Nest believes that crafts, the second largest employer of women around the world, holds the power to educate children, feed families, build communities, and unite cultures. This is why Nest is committed to supporting artisans, makers, and creative entrepreneurs by bringing radical transparency and economic opportunity to the global handcraft sector. Nest has found that when employers – including artisans with small businesses – prioritize fair pay and safe conditions for their workers, the impacts ripple out beyond workers into their families and communities, advancing social and economic equality for future generations.

About NOVICA: Founded in 1999 to empower global artisans and preserve endangered cultural art forms, Los Angeles-based has become the leading online fair trade marketplace in the world. NOVICA’s key partners include UNICEF, Kiva, Upworthy, Smithsonian Folklife, USAID, Nest, and the International Trade Centre. National Geographic was a major early investor. NOVICA’s unique international platform cuts out middlemen and removes unnecessary markups from the supply chain, resulting in higher revenues for artisans and lower prices for customers. NOVICA’s eight global artisan empowerment hubs onboard individual artisans, handle all aspects of showcasing, selling, packaging and express shipping their wares, and provide artisans with business counseling as well as interest-free microcredit loans when needed. NOVICA has sent more than US$125 million in funds to artisans to date and shipped fair trade gifts to customers in more than 80 countries directly from its global network of artisan empowerment hubs.

The handcrafts sector is enormous. Globally, it reached $680 billion in 2021.* [*Source: Handicrafts Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast, 2022-2027, by International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group]. Historically, only the tiniest percentage of that global sales figure trickles back to artisans, and working conditions for many of those artisans are abysmal and inequitable. That dynamic is what NOVICA and Nest both strive to change.


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