The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

April 27th, 2001


One web store that I’ve really started to dig is National Geographic’s Novica. Essentially, it allows artisans of the world to sell their wares for more than they would be able to in their own villages. At the same time, it lets buyers worldwide purchase these items for less than they would buy these items if they had them imported or bought them from one of those import mall stores. Once a purchase is made, the artisan ships the item from his/her home country to Novica, who, in turn, ships it to the buyer (shipping costs are surprisingly reasonable).

So far, I’ve purchased a handmade teapot from Bali for myself and a vase with a floral design from Thailand for my grandmother. I managed to get both using a coupon from Amazing Bargains and a rebate from Ebates, resulting in two really outstanding deals. Novica provides a good deal for the buyer while benefitting the seller financially. Not a bad combination.

I like the whole idea behind the site and the execution seems flawless. The site itself is sophisticated and highlights not only the artwork, but the artists (1,700 of them!) as well. It’s nice to see the face behind the piece sitting in your living room.

So, if you’re looking for a unique decoration (be it a painting, a mask, a vase, whatever) for your house, why not check Novica and support the artist more directly than by buying from a mall store? You’ll feel good about what you buy and wind up with a quality product in the end. -ram

Posted in Technology

FROM: Laura
DATE: Friday April 27, 2001 -- 1:52:49PM
I'd never heard of Novica before, but on my first look, I saw plenty of possible birthday presents... Thanks, Ryan!

One other place for Third World crafts that I feel good about patronizing is the Ten Thousand Villages chain of stores. They sell crafts with the intention of "providing livelihood with dignity for workers."

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday April 27, 2001 -- 2:39:26PM
Laura -- I think I may have been in a Ten Thousand Villages store (the one in Alexandria VA)... stores like that are great -- I like the fact they think globally and more directly benefit the artist.

Now we just need something similar for musicians. :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday April 27, 2001 -- 2:52:45PM
Don't musicians have the corner of any major city? :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday April 27, 2001 -- 2:53:14PM
D'oh! I meant "street corners".

DATE: Friday April 27, 2001 -- 4:09:00PM
Except for the ones the hookers take first.

FROM: Jeani
DATE: Friday May 4, 2001 -- 9:23:44AM
Laura -- I'm glad you mentioned Ten Thousand Villages. It's slightly different from Novica in that they do import the goods to the U.S. and Canada, warehouse them, and sell them in stores. Interesting to note, though, that TTV is a nonprofit that ensures the artisans are treated fairly in the process from start to finish.

Ryan -- TTV has really fun musical instruments. And, I'm not sure if all of them do this, but the one in Evanston, IL runs monthly jam sessions where anyone can come and rock out on 'em, just for fun.

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