ANOU – connecting the public to the artisan directly.

13 09 2013

Anouis an artisan-managed platform that empowers illiterate artisans to sell their work with independence. Anou gives artisans the tools they need to overcome the challenges they face when selling internationally. Finally you can buy amazing crafts directly from the artisan who made it.

by Niza Saidi

by Niza Saidi

Anou’s Story

The idea for Anou was developed by Dan Driscoll during his Peace Corps service in Morocco from 2008-2010. When Dan started his service in Morocco he began working with a woodcarving shop that was deemed illegal by the Moroccan government. He opened up negotiations between the carvers and the government and an agreement was made that the carvers would plant a tree for every item they sold.

However, this created another problem: the woodcarvers couldn’t afford to plant the trees. The carvers had traditionally depended on middlemen and fair-trade organizations to sell their work. But these organizations would not provide the carvers enough profit to cover the cost of planting a $1 tree. The organizations would then resell the items for 400% mark ups.

With the Internet just introduced into the valley, Dan focused on training the carvers how to use Etsy.com, an American e-commerce website. After six months, the carvers were independently managing their own store and keeping all of the profit on sales. They also chose to reinvest the income back into their community! It proved that artisans, no matter how rural, could sell their work independently and then thrive because of it.

Unfortunately for the carvers, Etsy was not a long-term solution. The site was made for English-speaking, computer-literate users and was simply too difficult for artisans in Morocco to use. As a result, Dan and the carvers decided to build Anou, an entirely new platform, designed specifically for artisans throughout Morocco. Today, Anou is an artisan-led e-commerce platform enabling hundreds of Moroccan artisans to overcome the barriers that have traditionally held them out of the global market place. As a result, they can thrive independent of the middleman resellers.

See more at – ARNOU

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