I am on this quest to live more locally, to tread lightly on the environment, and to share my experiences on this journey. I have also decided to do some reviews, but only if the item or site fits within the framework of my ideals. I was recently asked to review a site by Novica.
As I have discussed, I think sometimes we have to allow "local" to include trade with other local economies. I think it bolsters both sides. My example was coffee. Coffee does not grow anywhere near most of us, but we do have local roasters who import and make their living from coffee. The locale where the coffee was grown also benefits, and individuals are earning a livelihood based on this exchange.
Novica is a home decor, jewelry, and gifts company that has partnered with National Geographic and NPR to connect artisans from the far corners of the globe with buyers interested in handcrafted goods. Novica works with artisans from the Andes, Bali and Java, Brazil, India, Mexico, Thailand, and West Africa, and prides itself on following Fair Trade practices. The website gives a face to each artisan by showcasing photos, videos, and narratives in his or her own words.
For example, there is an Eco-Friendly Gifts area that features reclaimed and recycled creations. I found there this fantastic 'Rustic Concert Pianist' sculpture made completely from upcycled auto parts. The artist, Armando Ramirez, has been crafting since childhood. Now that he has this outlet for connecting with buyers online, he makes a living from his craft. His photo and the information about him is located on the same page with his item for sale.
The Corporate Gifts section offers items such as art glass, travel bags, desk accessories, games, decor, and much more. One of my favorites there is the Saa paper journals set with pencils by Yooprai Kaewtui of Thailand. Saa paper is created using a traditional method of turning mulberry bark into handmade paper. The journals come with pencils carved from tamarind wood. If corporations would use the Corporate Gifts section and buy Fair Trade directly from artisans, I think they would be doing some good for individuals in local economic pockets across the globe.
In the Unique Gifts section, you can sort by price to find the perfect gift in your price range. I chose all gifts under $50.00, and one of my favorites there was this iron wall adornment entitled 'Solar Wind' by Marco Polo Serrano. I have a sun motif already in place on my east deck terrace garden, so this would be a good fit.
There is so much more to explore on the site, and I was lost there four over two hours the other night as I dove in to see it all. I support handmade, and I support fair trade. Even though I am gravitating to local living, I do shop at Etsy, Artfire, 1000 Markets, and other online sites. I have made purchases from the UK and Canada, as well as the United States. I had never heard of Novica before two weeks ago, but I have now added it to my list of places to shop if and when I am looking for gifts.