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Creating impact driven marketplace for artisans

Updated : November 2020


  • NGOs
  • Textile and fashion designers
  • Textile industry sustainability professionals

Online platform to create global reach for rural textile artisans

Novica was started in 1999 with a dream to create a better world for artisans. Along their journey, they discovered that as artisans around the world succeeded, there was also a visible and profound impact on the communities around them. By creating an impact driven marketplace for global customers to purchase from, every small contribution directly and indirectly provides for education, helps with health care, funds basic needs, supports children, preserves disappearing arts, and more.

Every Novica item comes with certified clean packing environment, is quality tested and verified by their region teams, and adheres to established fair trade practices.

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  1. Novica



Year Established



The idea behind Novica came to a group of co-founders at Stanford University in 1995 who collectively felt there must be a better way for artisans in developing nations to sell their goods to customers around the world. In 1995, Roberto Milk, went to Mina Olivera and her mother, Armenia Nercessian de Oliveira, a human rights officer with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights who was later featured in Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel Eat, Pray, Love. And together, they came up with the plan behind Novica, along with Milk’s brother, Andy Milk, childhood friend Charles Hachtmann, Stanford roommate Jose Cervantes. In 1999, supported by Michael Burns and other seed investors, they took up an office in Santa Monica, CA and launched the NOVICA.com website. They have opened their centers across India, Guatemala Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Ghana.

Highlights and sustainability benefits

  • National Geographic is a major investor, giving NOVICA instant brand recognition, and allowing them to reach a wider audience of art and culture lovers.
  • Over the years, they have received extensive coverage from Los Angeles Times, investments and grants from IFC (member of World Bank Group), began selling in UNICEF catalogs, giving NOVICA artisans greater exposure throughout the world.
  • They are partnered with Kiva to expand the existing microcredit program, giving their artisans access to Kiva's 1 million lenders.
  • They have also partnered with Intrepid Travel, to offer tours and sweepstakes to their customers in the adventure and cultural travel space.

About the Work

Novica is the largest impact marketplace, improving artisans lives and uplifting communities who create incredible and traditional art, allowing the customers to purchase handmade products directly from global artisans. The company incorporates the principles of fair trade into the very core of their operations.


New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert has become their featured curator, helping them launch NOVICA curation to the world. They expanded their long-standing relationship with UNICEF in the US & UK to help run their e-commerce stores, offering goods from NOVICA artisans worldwide, many from communities where UNICEF has active projects. Novica is the new custodian of National Geographic's unique catalog of global treasures. They have partnered with Love Goodly, acquiring their company and integrating their team to offer non-toxic, cruelty-free beauty and skincare and continue growing their beauty subscription box. The company has won many awards including the YPO 2020 Global Impact Award, Schwab Entrepreneur Of The Year Award and CNN's Travel Innovator honor for their Founder Roberto Milk, featured in Best Online Shops 2020 of Newsweek, etc.

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