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FounderRoberto Milk
Andy Milk
Charles Hachtmann
Jose Cervantes
Armenia Nercessian de Oliveira
Michael Burns
Area served

Novica is an e-commerce website that enables artisans to sell their handcrafted goods to customers worldwide. Partnered with the National Geographic Society,[1] Novica shows handcrafted works of art, ranging from handmade jewelry to handmade apparel and world-style home decor.[2]


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,[3] a human rights officer with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights who was later featured in Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel Eat, Pray, Love.[4] 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 website.[5][6] By the end of 1999, they opened their first six regional centers located in Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and Ghana.[citation needed]


Most products are based in specific cultures and traditions. Artisans make items that are familiar to them and oftentimes, the tradition has been passed down from generation to generation.[7]

Business advisory services[edit]

In 2009, Novica began working with the Grassroots Business Fund, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, with a mission to build and support enterprises that provide economic opportunities to people at the base of the economic pyramid.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "NOVICA Partners with National Geographic to Launch NOVICA Experience Reward for Battery-Powered Dynamics ePlate Visa Card". Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Health & Beauty Close Up. June 20 2013. Retrieved November 3 2017
  2. ^ "A Site Where Traditional Artisans Can Sell Their Works To The World". Laura Sydell, NPR. February 1 2016. Retrieved November 2 2017
  3. ^ "Armenia Nercessian de Oliveira". Bloomberg
  4. ^ "Cutting out the middle man". Jennifer Maas, Santa Monica Daily Press. August 24, 2015. Retrieved May 4 2018
  5. ^ "11 people changing the way we travel". Sucheta Rawal, CNN. July 3 2015. Retrieved November 2 2017
  6. ^ "MORE REASONS TO SAVOR THE GIFT OF GIVING PURCHASING FROM THESE ARTISTS HELPS TO IMPROVE LIVES".[dead link] Boston Globe. December 7 2000. Retrieved November 3 2017
  7. ^ "Web Firm Profits by Enriching Both Artisans and Buyers". Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times. June 14, 2000. Retrieved May 4 2018

External links[edit]