We have a simple goal, to introduce the traditional craft of Brazil to as many people in other countries as possible – that’s it.
Many people and even local government agencies have tried promote handmade items in Brazil internationally in the past – usually unsuccessfully – but we believe that our approach is different, because we are using modern social technologies to build an audience and we are right here on the ground in Brazil personally finding the best examples of craft.
Gift Brazil is making these items available to a global audience. We have built a collective of crafters on Etsy and this is the global standard for crafting the world over – so customers in Europe or the US or Asia can feel confident about buying from us. In the past, many of these artisans would either sell via local online platforms in Portuguese or only be able to sell to shoppers who walked past their workshop and took the time to stop and take a look – now they can sell to the world.
Gift Brazil doesn’t charge the artisans a penny. We ask them how much they want to sell the product for, how much it will cost to mail to a purchaser and we then help them to market the product within our collective store on Etsy with the descriptions in English – even if they have never used English or sold internationally before.
Gift Brazil is developing this global audience using social media platforms. We already have thousands of people in our social media channels and we only launched in December 2013. Everyone who ‘likes’ or follows Gift Brazil on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest has an interest in craft and Brazil so these are the people we want to keep on talking to about the items we find when talking to artisans.
But we believe that what we are doing is far more important than just selling items via an online platform. Gift Brazil should grow to be a resource for anyone with an interest in artisan craft in Brazil. We are constantly searching Brazil for new items to include and we are not just listing the items, we want to tell the story of the craft itself and the artisans and related subjects of interest to those who love craft – architecture, interior design, travel.
And giving these people the ability to sell internationally helps to preserve craft traditions that can easily die out. We have talked to several artisans who were on the verge of giving up and getting a regular job because the income from craft traditions is too sporadic – we can help to maintain the art and craft of many remote areas of Brazil and create jobs for the people making these products.
So our mission may be simple, we want people all over the world to know about Brazilian craft, but the consequence of our curation and promotion should also be the preservation of traditional culture and jobs. Now that really is something worth ‘liking’ on Facebook! 🙂
About the founder
Gift Brazil was founded by Angelica Mari, a Brazilian technology journalist and crafter who moved back to Brazil in 2011 after living and working in London for a decade. She then set up her own business to help foreign companies in the media and technology sectors develop their presence in Brazil through content production. Since starting this first venture, she has worked for many businesses with an interest in Brazil and introduced many foreigners to the unique Brazilian culture.
Every time Angelica has shown business and leisure visitors around Brazil, there was always a last-minute, rushed request to find interesting gifts that they could take home to friends and family. But those visitors would invariably resort to the gifts of t-shirts and decorative items that often bear the clichéed toucans, parrots, the famous Rio tourist spots…but the worst thing of all is that those items are, quite frequently, made in countries other than Brazil.
The issue of not being able to find original, unique gifts that represent Brazilian identity and culture was also noticed at many events organized by local and foreign companies, where a gift was required. Often, marketeers would be stuck between offering customized Brazilian flip-flops or distributing bottles of cachaça, the local sugarcane liquor. But there was always something missing, a beautiful gift that would encapsulate memories and experiences of a country of such cultural and natural richness.
Gift Brazil is a venture that intends to showcase and support continued craft production in communities all over the country and give an international shop window to local artisans. At the same time, we will build the world’s largest source of information about Brazilian handmade and other themes that are of interest to anyone who likes Brazilian culture and craft. In 2014, we will be visiting every single Brazilian state to find the best handmade products and makers in the country – follow our Travel posts to find out more.