There’s nothing I love more than supporting artists. As an artist in London it doesn’t take long before you meet a host of really interesting creatives who’ve mastered skills you could never dream of, and there’s something inherently satisfying about being able to support them by investing in their work, as well as getting to own something crafted with care by someone you love. I find it is so rewarding to support the art of my friends, so imagine my delight in finding a place that gives you the opportunity to do this on a global scale.
Enter Discovered, an online hub that brings a variety of handmade items from artisans across the world into one, easily shoppable marketplace. Discovered was founded in 2012 by Gijsbert van der Sleen, based on a firm belief that people will use business as a force for good if they can. Gijsbert saw a need that Discovered could meet: while many artisans (who are so often women) have the skills to make beautiful products and run their own businesses, they don’t always have access to the tools to sell their products more globally, which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation of middle men. At the same time, it’s hard for consumers to source real craft based, ethically produced products. Discovered was created as a place to share unique products and their stories, with no exploitation, to audiences in areas such as Europe, the USA and Australia. In this way Discovered provides more visibility for global artisans, enables artists to make much higher profits from their work, models fair trade business and partners with pre-existing businesses and local economies. Discovered currently represents artists from over 25 countries, with a wide array of handmade decor and accessories available, whilst also encouraging their artisans to utilise natural, local or recycled materials as much as possible to create a more sustainable marketplace.
In August 2014 Discovered also became one of the first B Corporation certified companies in the Netherlands. B Corp is similar to a fair trade or GOTS certification, as organisations must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. These organisations use their strengths to take on social and environmental challenges, with the ultimate aim of doing business a different way; a new way that benefits the world and is mindful of both impact on the environment and society.
How Discovered Works
Discovered makes the process of artisans opening their shop as easy as possible, instead of trying to build their own website from scratch all they have to do is make a profile and upload pictures of their products. Customers can then learn about the products, who made them, where their money will go and essentially understand the story that goes into each item they buy, which also helps the product hold more value to a buyer. Sellers set their own prices, although Discovered works alongside them to help them set international rates in relation to their competition, and it’s free for sellers to set up an online store. Discovered takes a commission of 5-15% and transfers the remaining amount directly to their seller (Discovered doesn’t receive commission on the shipping cost).
Additionally, customers are also able to share their stories online, make inspiration boards and connect to artisans, as Discovered goes beyond being just a brand and instead fosters a community network. In the same way as my artist friends in London, Discovered enables you to connect with and understand the artists who make what you buy, giving it more character and value within your aesthetic life.
Discover Global Craft Without Leaving The House
Discovered stocks thousands of products, hand crafted by hundreds of artisans, whilst also always being on the lookout for new artisans across the world to add to the global family. I was sent a blanket from Kanika Bahl, a female artisan based in Pune, 3 hours from Mumbai, who manufactures with help from her father and husband. It’s quite a heavy blanket, making it super warm and snug and a much loved addition to a new flat that is fairly chilly. I love the colour and the general style of this blanket, it’s cosy but not overly fussy, its minimal and calming aesthetic adds the perfect touch to a room without being too much. But, more importantly, I can tell that it’s been made really well. Kanika used to work as a designer for a couple of Textile Design Studios in Delhi, and it’s obvious. The blanket is so well constructed, with little details I didn’t even notice until it arrived, and I love it. This is actually the first blanket I’ve ever owned, and I’m so glad that instead of getting something random, poor quality and unsustainable I’ve got an investment piece that looks good, will last the distance, and was made with quality and love. As much as I enjoy being warm and snuggly, I enjoy knowing that I can support talented artisans and emerging businesses across the globe in a ethical way even more.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.