If you’re planning on staying home this summer or just taking local trips, an online market called The Nopo might just satisfy your travel urge a bit. While shopping online doesn’t expose you to exactly the same sights, sounds, and tastes, this platform allows consumers to purchase a variety of items, including home dÃ©cor items, rugs, textiles, and home accessories. fashion created by international artisans.
Founded in March 2020 by Kelly Breakstone Roth and Shanny Harel, The Nopo, which is the abbreviation of “The Nomad Pop Up”, offers a selection of handcrafted pieces. This includes everything from tea sets to pillow cases and even pet beds. While items currently sold on the site originate from Morocco and Mexico, Colombia and Israel will launch later this year. Additional marketplaces are planned for 2022.
A platform for craftsmen
While the brand is very particular about who is on the site, it is surprisingly less strict on the products sold. âNopo maintains a careful selection process to ensure high quality craftsmanship across the platform, through interviews, referrals and a local partner who manages quality assurance. Once a craftsman has been vetted in terms of aesthetics, skill, quality of materials, authenticity and values, we rarely need to intervene in product selection, âsays Roth.
âThe beauty of our collection is that it is diverse in style, yet consistent in quality. We exploit the most creative people in the world, and they are the best curators. So, in most cases, craftsmen choose the items independently.
The conservation process
While Roth and Harel planned to visit Morocco the year they launched, closures due to the pandemic forced them to have a plan B. âInitially, traveling to Morocco was a critical part of our plan. How else were we supposed to find these craftsmen virtually invisible to search engines? But, once we realized that a trip to Morocco was out of the question, we had to find new ways not only to find artisans, but to validate them.
In the first month of business, women spent countless hours browsing Instagram accounts. âIt was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we kept plugging in and after about two weeks we found our first one – Soufiane Aissouni, a lamp designer from Marrakech who creates beautiful light fixtures in woven raffia by hand working with a collective of craftswomen from a nearby village. We sent him as a DM on Instagram, and he was immediately won over by the idea, “says Roth.
Once the founders are connected to their first artisans, they realize that they are opening up to a whole community. âCraftsmen refer us to new craftsmen all the time, and those referrals provide the best quality leads. Indeed, our craftsmen, who are all highly skilled, care deeply about who they are associated with and wish to maintain the level of quality across the platform.
A platform for craftsmen
However, as the women dug deeper, they realized that there was something very important at play here. âOver 65% of the 200 million artisans worldwide live in developing countries and do not have access to the same logistics and technological solutions available to sellers in the US and the EU. Roth reveals. “We were motivated by the possibility of truly democratizing e-commerce and creating a world where artistic excellence is borderless.”
The artisans with whom Nopo partners typically lack the resources or know-how to operate or promote their own websites, as well as the ability to handle the logistics of international sales, shipping, etc. They do, however, have smartphones and manage active Instagram accounts. . Thus, this platform gives buyers access to foreign artisans that they would likely only meet by meeting them in person.
Nopo takes responsibility for all international shipping and payment processing, as well as customer support. âWe are 100% responsible for customer satisfaction, so in the rare event that an item has been damaged during shipping or the customer wishes to return the product, we take full responsibility. This increases confidence and allows craftspeople to focus entirely on the creative process, âsays Roth.
The Nopo also enables artisans to give them the recognition they deserve not only by telling their story, but also by helping them communicate the value of their work in a compelling way to American customers. But more importantly, when family and friends inevitably ask customers of The Nopo, âWhere did you find this? They can take similar handmade items home without flying.
âWhen we started to develop the concept of The Nopo, our motivation was to make this experience more accessible, to bring the joy of discovery into people’s daily lives. We wanted to create a platform that would allow people to virtually browse the markets of the world, meet spectacular artisans and decorate their lives with beautiful objects that tell a story and reflect their values, âsays Roth.