In this world of mass-produced items and fashion, here is Novica, an impact marketplace dedicated to showcasing unique home decor, jewelry, clothing, and gifts handmade by some of the most skilled artisans all over the world. Founded in 1999 by Roberto Milk, his then-girlfriend and now-wife, and his mother-in-law, Novica empowers artisans by keeping their tradition and culture alive.
Inspired by Robert’s childhood where he loved watching National Geographic and got to travel and see the arts and crafts made by artisans in the places he visited, Novica was created. And eventually, companies like National Geographic themselves, the World Bank, and Scripps Ventures saw the positive impact of what Novica were doing and decided to fund them. Despite industry experts telling them they wouldn’t be successful, they managed to prove those people wrong.
Fast forward to the present, Roberto shares the many challenges they faced working as a dot-com startup at a time when e-commerce wasn’t even a thing yet and how they overcame those and managed to rake in $111 million dollars in sales purely for their artisans. Roberto shares that they owe the success of Novica to the fact that they are, first and foremost, artisan-focused and customer-focused. Ultimately, there are many takeaways from this interview with Roberto.
Roberto’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:
In this episode, we also talked about: