Eka is a single mother of two young children. Her husband was an expert woodcarver and when he became sick and died, she was left alone to support her children alone. She decided to learn her husband’s craft. Now, Eka hand carves beautiful, traditional Balinese sculptures and masks to sell on NOVICA.com.
NOVICA.com (in part owned by National Geographic) is an online, fair trade marketplace based in Los Angeles that features more than 30,000 limited edition and one-of-a-kind handmade works of art, ranging from jewelry to textiles and home decor, with sourcing and direct shipping offices in eight regions around the world. NOVICA has given back nearly $50 million to artists worldwide (which means artists like Eka are able to earn a living wage).
So why have this featured on a San Francisco personal finance blog? NOVICA has a partnership with SF-based KIVA to provide a microfinance website where customers can purchase products and lend money directly to artisans, with loans at 0% interest. (This concept is possible due to the presence of Novica region offices. In addition to distributing all customer orders, these offices now also serve as disbursement centers for loans. To become a lender, see Novica's list of artisan loans here. (You will also get 15% off at Novica when you use your repayment funds for new purchases.)
To date, Novica customers have given out more than $100,000 in loans to artisans at 0% interest.