Spreading Happiness: Our Mission for 2014 and beyond

When we set out to expand and transform NOVICA this year, one of the concepts that kept jumping out at us was happiness.  Empower, Connect, Preserve – those were all powerful, important mantras that drive us. But at the very core of what we do – at our very essence, we’ve succeeded only if we make both artisans and customers happy.

Our Happiness Manifesto, by Roberto Milk

Global Happiness…

An elusive and simple emotion.  And yet an impossibly large call to action. How could a small company like ours have any measurable impact on global happiness? Happiness is fleeting.  It is trite. And the world is an angry mess anyways, right?

Maybe… but our time on earth is also fleeting. And if we can contribute to making others happier, we’ve done something worth doing. More than fair trade, more than microcredit, more than anything else I can think of – if that artisan family is happy, we’ve succeeded.


But can we actually play a role in spreading global happiness? And can we build a company around it?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But if we can try, shouldn’t we give it a shot?

Achieving Happiness

One of the secrets to achieving happiness is by giving, not by getting.

Often the most impactful and lasting happiness is obtained when you help someone else achieve it.  This is the type of happiness that you can feel good about in a life well lived – it is the real deal.

Copy of JulietRGmilkVietnamMoto67 copy
My missionary grandparents, Juliet and Richard Milk, in Vietnam, 1967

We all have our happiness heroes. My American grandmother dedicated her life to mission work all over the world, yet despite all the big impact things she did, it might have actually been the small gestures of kindness that had the most impact.  She cared so much for those that didn’t have anyone to care for them.  She would often handwrite cards to those that least expected them and cut out phrases from her inspirational quote collection to inspire them.  Happiness.  It’s often the small things, not the big ones.

My Peruvian grandmother also inspires me because even when she was dying with weak kidneys, she’d go spread cheer in the dialysis room, laughing and joking while she knit her wool booties to sell on NOVICA, as one of our first ever artisans.

My Peruvian grandmother “Abuelita Angelica.” An inspiration to my brother Andy and I… and one of NOVICA’s first artisans!

Encouraging Happiness.

Happiness should not be underestimated.  Happiness is a contagious and exponential force.  Our positivity can affect others, and theirs can affect others, and so on and so on. For the world to be a better place, there must be more happiness – happy people don’t hurt others.What can you do to bring more happiness to the people around you? And how can you find more inner happiness?

Two things we know that work are Travel and Giving. These are areas we will be exploring throughout 2014 and beyond.

Creating Happiness

We are always asking ourselves, “How can we take NOVICA one step further?

Can we take our happy platform for customers and artists and make it even more impactful? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could find a way to more proactively create moments of happiness around the world?  YES!

Happiness Projects

The answer to how we spread more happiness turns out to be earth-shatteringly simple…

We do what we’ve always done.

FIRST with your help, we continue empowering artisans by purchasing their beautiful products.

THEN we continue to offer 0% interest microcredit loans to artisans, teaming up with Kiva.org along the way.

NOW, we can use our experience and international man-power to spread happiness, right into the communities that we are familiar with, and know that need it most.

Rob announces H. Projects

What form should happiness take?

Whether it’s a long lasting project for change, or a fleeting moment where the children in a poor neighborhood get to be kids again, our happiness projects will take on many forms, and affect many different lives around the world.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our first 2 projects of 2014!

PROJECT 1: Recycle to Educate

PROJECT 2: Happiness in the slums of J.J Camp, India


Global Happiness is a state of mind.  Let’s go there!

Roberto Milk


Rob & Milena's happy travel picture, Greece, 2009
Let’s see your Happy Travel pictures, post them on our Facebook page!  Here’s mine – my wife Milena and I were having pure fun in the winds at sunset on Naxos island in Greece, 2009.

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Bryony Schwan
Bryony Schwan
4 years ago

Hi, I found your company through an ad of Facebook (which I almost NEVER click on but when I saw a mention of your happiness mission I was intrigued and realized why your ad showed up in my feed. I started a company in 2014 called Kindkudos to spread kindness and happiness through my website and mobile app. We’re just beginning our journey and also don’t know yet whether we can make it work but we’re trying. I’ll keep in the loop with your company and I hope you will do the same with us. I love what you are… Read more »

Judd Watts
Judd Watts
Reply to  Bryony Schwan
4 years ago

Thank you Bryony! We love the idea behind Kindkudos – consider us followers!