An Etsy for the offline makers
GlobeIn lets artisans who can’t speak English, are offline, and without a bank account sell their products to the global online marketplace.
The platform has a network of scouts who find and profile amazing craftspeople worldwide, photograph their wares and connect them with local managers who can ship and reimburse them for any items sold.
The site, which launched in February 2013, already features 238 makers from 29 countries, many of whom are making objects from the more weird and wonderful end of the retail spectrum: you can find everything from jewelry made from old bullets and bomb shells, courtesy of Craftswork Cambodia, to musical instruments made of catfish skins by Uzbek craftspeople.
It is yet to launch a substantial consumer marketing campaign to attract shoppers to its services, preferring to focus resources on building relationships with makers and partnering other organisations who are already providing a similar service. But its founders say they are firmly committed to the user experience, and they already offer more than the usual transactional website would — inviting you not to just buy the products, but to find, nominate and provide the listings you meet on your travels whose work you think deserves a wider audience.
The project sprang from a roadtrip by COO Anastasia Miron, who took to posting items she found in Mexico onto eBay to see if they sold. ‘She proved that this can really work,’ says Co-Founder and CEO Vladimir Ermakov, ‘People were really interested in buying these crafts. Artisans were really happy. Shipping worked.’
He compares it to cultural conservation work: ‘Many of the artisans on our site would not normally be on the internet. They don’t even know what the internet is,’ he says. ‘You can look at different parts of the world and see what people are doing, what traditions they’re preserving, what new art forms they are creating. Because we’re telling the stories of the artists behind the products, too, we’re creating a living atlas of crafts.’
Image 'Kotomi jewellery - Preview Event' courtesy of Kotomi_
Last updated: 18th of July, 2014