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Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Novica Delivers Handmade Products and Social Impact at Scale


Novica is delivering handmade items from artisans around the world to customers here in the United States. This has enabled them to send almost $90 million to those producers in the developed world, creating a sustainable model and impact on diverse communites around the globe.

The business started with a focus on serving the artisans. The company operates offices scattered around the globe to provide a presence that allows locals to have direct access to an affluent market.

Founder Roberto Milk partnered with National Geographic to launch Novica. The partnership continues today.

Interview with Roberto Milk, the CEO and co-founder of Novica.

The following is the pre-interview with Roberto Milk. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: we are a retailer

Scale: To date, NOVICA has sent more than $89.1M to artisans around the world.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

Connect artisanal craftsmen from all over the world with a marketplace to sell and share their goods with a reach they would never normally have.

More about Novica:

Twitter: @novica

Facebook: facebook.com/novica/

Website: www.novica.com

NOVICA is a company based in Santa Monica established to create a fair trade global marketplace.

Roberto Milk

Roberto Milk’s bio:

Twitter: @robertomilk

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/roberto-milk-1686/

Instagram: @novica

When Roberto and his friends and family set out to establish NOVICA, nobody believed that they’d be able to simultaneously establish offices around the world, pay artists more than they’d ever earned for their goods, and ship products from all around the world — all while keeping prices down for customers.

It wasn’t until Roberto attended Stanford University and met his future wife Mina Olivera, however, that the final cast members stepped onto the scene: his future mother-in-law, Armenia, and his roommate, Jose. Together with Charles and Andy, they hatched the idea for NOVICA.

Roberto’s postgraduate years, meanwhile, brought the experience necessary to bring the idea for NOVICA to life. After graduating with honors with a major in international relations, Roberto worked as an investment banker on Wall Street and became a chartered financial analyst, learning enough about the world of retail and e-commerce to launch a revolutionary import and development model in 1999.

Besides loving everything handmade, one of Roberto’s biggest hobbies is talking to shamans in NOVICA regions to figure out the latest ingredients to add to his healthy herbal concoctions. He’s also a competitive soccer player (he played semi-pro), fashion photographer (photographing many of NOVICA’s own catalogs), and lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mina, and their four children (yes 4!).


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