Anou: Bringing Humanity to Artisan Crafts

Traveling to exotic locales is exciting for many reasons: experiencing a vastly different culture, tickling your taste buds with new foods and snapping envy-inducing instagrams.

But for us art lovers, we love to browse and shop the local artisan markets; it’s such a great opportunity to find a rare treasure, and support the artisan directly.

Unfortunately, we all can’t hop on our private jets and fly to Morocco when we need a new rug. But now there’s an alternative.

Meet Anou: a new website launched in Morocco that helps rural artisans cut out middlemen. Think Etsy for the Middle East.

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A few years ago, founder Dan Driscoll and some colleagues were working as Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco and noticed that many artisans were living in poverty. Some make only around $100 a month. The Anou site addresses the technological hurdle of posting to the web — artisans can easily post products from their phone or a local Internet cafe, and receive notifications when something sells. The upload process is designed to be visual rather than text-based, breaking down any language barriers that exist across cultures.

Eventually Dan wants to leave Anou entirely in the hands of the artisans, letting the artisans he trained pass along knowledge to others.

Check out Anou’s selection of handmade rugs, housewares and art - along with photos of the artisans who crafted them.