MoroCrafts Kickstarter Campaign: A Modern Day Online Souk

The internet connects the world together and I recently heard of a new entrepreneurial way to connect those of us who love Moroccan style directly with the artisans who make the wares. The idea is to structure things so that the majority of the product price goes directly to the artisans. With all the steps to bring handmade products from around the world to us consumers, we’re often unaware that often only a small fraction of the price we pay goes to the original craftspeople. The idea is to develop a more direct connection between us and the artisans, to help them build a better sustainable income for their families and communities which are often isolated from Morocco’s popular tourist centers and shopping souks. It’s doing business while doing good — I like that idea!

MoroCrafts Artisan

First let me tempt you with some Moroccan style, then I will tell you more about MoroCrafts, the company behind the idea. These products are all for sale as part of a Kickstarter campaign. As of today’s post, there are 12 days left in the campaign — the campaign ends February 15 — and they’re already about 70% to goal!

You can get colorful teapots:

Moroccan Teapot from MoroCrafts Kickstarter Campaign

Or cute mini tagines, perfect for jewelry storage and gift giving:

Mini Tagine from MoroCrafts

And true to the spirit of the venture, here are some of the artisans who make teapots and mini tagines. MoroCrafts wants to be able to connect you directly with these craftspeople:

MoroCrafts Artisans Creating Teapots

There are candles with shadowy glow similar to the popular pierced metal Moroccan lanterns:

Moroccan Candle from MoroCrafts

The artisans are good at creating products, but they don’t necessarily know how to run a business or a packing and shipping operation. This is why there are community managers like Yasmina to help take care of those things:

Community Manager to Assist Moroccan Artisans

The world has gone crazy for Moroccan rugs like Beni Ouarain and kilim:

TIfelt Kilim Rug from MoroCraft

Through MoroCrafts, it’s like you’re purchasing rugs directly from the artisans who make these rugs:

Rug Cooperative via MoroCrafts

Lanterns as blue as the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech:

Majorelle Blue Lanterns from MoroCrafts

Right now on Kickstarter until February 15, you can help support MoroCrafts’ idea — there are teapots, jewelry, handbag clutches, rugs, metal lanterns, candles, a whole variety of products for their launch. And they say the artisans are excited and can’t wait to make more! Here’s more about the venture in a video:

This isn’t just a starry dream — MoroCrafts has some serious thought and support behind the idea. I know a thing or two about entrepreneurship — my first job out of college for years was at an organization that helped entrepreneurs grow their businesses, I’ve been an entrepreneur in the past with a catalog and website during the very early days of the Internet (crazy times!) and my husband is an entrepreneur, revolutionizing how predictive analytics is done. So I know it’s important to have certain things in place beyond your dreams. MoroCrafts has knowledge about supply chain management — important when you want to develop a new way to get products from where they’re created to consumers around the world, and mentorship backing at MIT. The founder is from Morocco and served as an advisor to the Moroccan Ministry of Handicraft and Social Solidarity Economy so there’s “on the ground” knowledge.

I was drawn both to the business acumen as well as the idea of changing the situation for artisans who are isolated from the tourist shopping centers and don’t have access to sell their wares. For many of them, what they do is their only source of income. I think the fantastic thing the internet brings to the world is the ability to truly connect us all together, from our biggest cities to people in the remotest areas. You can think of this as a modern day souk — a digital souk.

Follow the MoroCrafts journey to connect you with Morocco’s craftspeople on Facebook, Kickstarter (if you want to support this, hurry, the campaign ends February 15!) and their website.





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Bungalow 8 in Mumbai, Now Closer to Home

I’ve salivated over Bungalow 8’s style for a long time. It’s a home decor, fashion and jewelry store in Mumbai. The store blends India design with a style sense from all over the world. You really can’t tell this is in Mumbai — it could be London or New York.

Bungalow 8

Bungalow 8 Mumbai

Bungalow 7 Style

I like Bungalow 8 because I like mysterious, different, global mixed with industrial. Unfinished concrete walls along with finely carved wood. Gold in a little bit of rubble.

Problem is, they are in Mumbai. And when I go to India, I never get anywhere near Mumbai.

But right now Bungalow 8 products are available at ExclusivelyIn – a shopping site that brings India style to you online. Here’s a sample of the selection, but they are selling out fast, so scamper over to ExclusivelyIn if you like these:

Bungalow 8 at ExclusivelyIn

Another option is Shop Latitude which is carrying Bungalow 8 right now too. I am soooo tempted by so much there, especially the jewelry. If I were going to Cabo next weekend, I’d load up on these things:

Bungalow 8 at Shop Latitude

They have pretty blues and pinks too! I just chose the neutral things I like. Shop Latitude tells you a bit more about Bungalow 8’s design sense on their blog.

These photos of the company’s founder, Maithili Ahluwalia, show hallmarks of Bungalow 8 style: flowy dress, necklaces with big personalities, a scarf worn here as a head wrap. The style looks effortless, cool and comfortable in steamy Indian cities.

Bungalow 8 Founder Maithili Ahluwalia via Marie Claire India and The Sartorialist

l, Marie Claire India; r, The Sartorialist

If you’d like to know where Bungalow 8 pops up around the world, including pop up shops as well as online, follow them on Facebook.

 





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It’s a Giveaway! Get $75 to Shop for Global Goods at Novica.com

Edited to announce the winner:

Wow! Thank you to the 260 people who entered the giveaway for a $75 gift card from Novica! I’m happy to bring you the chance to win, and to introduce so many people to the global goodies at Novica. It was so fun reading what you would get, and the diversity of things you picked. I read every one! So … drummmmm rollllllllll please … let’s announce a winner …

I purposely didn’t use Rafflecopter and make you like me all over social media in order to enter. If you like what you see here, I figure you can see the big orange social media buttons up there to the right, and you can follow me wherever it works for you.

So I used the Random Number Generator to draw a random comment. I included comments on the giveaway post plus the 9 comments on a Facebook post (minus my 2 comments there) in time-stamped order submitted. Imagine the 9 Facebook comments folded into the 251 blog comments in time order, for a total of 260. So everything is ranked in the order that comments were submitted. Fair enough! So out of 260 total entries, here’s the winner:

Novica Giveaway Winning Number

Yay! Candie L.!

She has been notified and received her winning gift certificate, in time for holiday shopping!


This one’s for you! Do you feel a chill in the air lately and could use an extra $75 for a scarf or a throw? Maybe you’d like $75 to get some blingy earrings for the holidays? Novica has tens of thousands of products with global flair, and I have one $75 gift certificate for a lucky winner. You can use the certificate to get whatever you want! Spend it when Novica has a discount, as they often do, and this gift can stretch even further.

Giveaway for $75 to spend at Novica.com

Novica sells items made by craftspeople from cultures around the world, direct from the artisans’ home country, including:

You can get jewelry, clothing and accessories for women or men, home decor and gifts organized by price level. They also have an extensive collection of paintings.


How to enter to win $75 from Novica:

Simply visit links above, then … 

Comment on this post telling us what you’d get if you won.

Comment by midnight eastern time on Sunday, Oct. 12.

On Monday, Oct. 13 I’ll do a random drawing from the comments and notify the winner via email with an electronic gift certificate. It might be the 13th but that will be a lucky day for somebody!

So when you comment, include your email in the private email field or your website address where I can find you. (Don’t put your email in the comment itself though unless you love spam!)

***If you get an error message when commenting here, head over to Facebook and comment on the giveaway post there! It’s pinned to the top of the page!***

Okay, ready to go for it? Scroll down or click here to comment! Thank you for following along here and good luck!


My Novica.com Story of a Thai Spirit House

I’ve shopped Novica since their very early days about 15 years ago. They were one of the first online shops where you could “meet” the artisans who made what you bought. Internet shopping was new back then, and it truly felt like Novica brought the world to your doorstep. So they’ve been at this a long time. They’ve since grown in association with National Geographic to have products from cultures on many continents.

Novica allowed me to choose something to host this giveaway, and I found something I’ll treasure. During our trips to Thailand I admired the spirit houses, just like these that Novica offers:

Thai Spirit Houses from Novica and a $75 Giveaway

They’re like little replicas of wats, or Buddhist temples. People place them outside their homes. The spirit house is supposed to attract a good guardian spirit to live in it and protect the home from evil spirits. Sometimes I feel my home needs protection from the world – something more stylish than a Brinks or ADT sign!

So I chose the golden Lanna Temple — it’s handmade by Jaifah Aksornsri, an artisan in Thailand who has been making carved wood products for Novica for about 8 years.

Jaifah Aksornsri Novica.com Artisan from Thailand

You can learn more about her and see all of her work for sale here. I was drawn to Jaifah’s work because it captures the style I loved most in Thailand. It’s clearly Thai design, but with a modern outlook that would fit in many homes around the world. Her guardian spirit house was the one for me. Here it is in our sunroom, which is full of teak furniture we found in Thailand, so it fits the style there:

Thai Spirit House from Novica

It came with gift wrap that was so carefully folded, it can be re-used for another gift or for crafts. And Novica always sends a little card with a story about the product and artisan.


Comment below with what you’d get from Novica if you win! 

 





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The Queen of All Tassel Necklaces Now Available on Etsy

Last year I posted about tassel necklaces and there was one necklace in particular that was pinned like crazy. It was this one from Etsy shop Mimoza:

Tassel Necklace from Etsy Shop Mimoza

If you look carefully, it’s not one necklace exploding with tassels, but many necklaces together.

Today I noticed Mimoza now has a very similar tassel necklace available on Etsy! It is five chains in one necklace, loaded with tassels:

Mimoza Etsy Shop Tassel Necklace

Because this look was so popular, I figured people might want to know, you can get this now! It’s $88 and available at Mimoza on Etsy. I promise to not buy it so you have a chance to get it. :) But I am soooo tempted. I couldn’t wear this to work but it would be crazy fun to wear in India!

While you’re there, she also has smaller tassel necklaces in various colors like this one for $32:

Tassel Necklace from Mimoza on Etsy

As with many Etsy sellers, it looks like you can also request a custom order if you want certain colors or a different number of tassels.





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