About

Anou is a community of artisans working together to establish equal access to the free market.

Finally, artisans are gaining the freedom to set their own prices and engage directly with you.

Anou represents a fundamental shift in the fair-trade industry. Instead of asking how organizations can help, we ask how can we build a resilient community of artisans where outside help and fair-trade organizations are no longer needed.

- Dan Driscoll
  Anou Founder, RPCV

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Our Process
  • 1. Artisan Led

  • When a new artisan expresses interest in joining Anou's community, they are connected with and trained by more experienced and successful artisans on how Anou's platform works. This builds the foundation for Anou's artisan led model.

  • 2. Technology

  • Training new members of the Anou artisan community begins by building their custom language-free account. The interface pictured above allows them to (from right to left) add products, manage inventory, and track orders. Using culturally responsive, language-free design, we adapt the user interface to suit first-time technology users.

  • 3. Training

  • All trainings take place at the new artisan's workshop to guarantee their work is authentic, and to address local obstacles to success. For the same reason, the training is conducted using existing technology and infrastructure. With this investment of quality time spent with the artisan, they become contributing members of Anou's greater community.

  • 4. Photography

  • During each training, artisans practice basic photography skills focused on emphasizing the connection between the product, where it was made, and the person who made it. All pictures on the Anou store are taken and uploaded by the artisan themselves using their own cameras or phones.

  • 5. Orders

  • When a product is purchased, the artisan immediately receives an SMS text message including the shipping address. Artisans then reply back with SMS text messages to confirm shipments and send in tracking numbers. Post office staff assist Anou's illiterate members in writing out address labels.

  • 6. Community

  • A small portion of every sale is set aside to pay Anou's artisan trainers as they support the existing community and train new artisans. This ensures that the cost of Anou's non-profit operations are reinvested back into a thriving artisan community. This practice adds a special beauty to every item that you place in your home.

The Anou Story
Panorama of the Ait Bougamez Valley

The Ait Bouguemez Valley, birthplace of Anou.

The only way the middleman dilemma can be fixed is to create a community of artisans that is able to do the work of selling by themselves.

- Brahim El Mansouri
  Wood Carver, Anou Director

Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Ait Bouguemez Valley of Morocco, Dan Driscoll grew frustrated when he learned that the carvers he worked with remained poor even after selling to fair-trade organizations. While working with the carvers, they showed him that the only way to grow would be to ensure that they were able to sell their work independently without middlemen.

As technology transformed the Ait Bouguemez valley (Dan had internet, but no running water in his mud house), he decided to train the carvers to sell on Etsy and eBay. The carvers had so much success selling online that they poured the excess profits of their sales into the local community.

Today, the carvers continue to self-fund their own solutions to local problems and have built a thriving community in the valley. For Dan, this represented true sustainable development.

Etsy and Ebay began as good solutions for the carvers. However, illiteracy, lack of confidence, and geographic isolation prevented the vast majority of Moroccan artisans from being able to benefit from these platforms. As a result, Dan and Brahim El Mansouri, the president of the woodcarving association in Ait Bouguemez, teamed up to begin building the community of Anou.

Team

My experience as an Anou trainer has taught me how to better sell and make my own products in order to help the women in my village. I now understand the problems artisans face across Morocco and I believe I can help.

- Rabha Akkaoui
  Weaver, Anou Trainer

FAQs
What is the official status of Anou?
Anou is a national service cooperative in Morocco. This structure enables Anou to be fully owned and operated by the artisans who use the site.
What does Anou mean?
Anou means a well of water in Tashelheet, the language spoken in the Ait Bouguemez valley of Morocco. Water wells serve as the center and source of growth of the communities that populate the valley. We believe that Anou will become a similar center for Morocco's artisan community.
How do artisans join Anou?
Artisans must reach out to Anou's artisan team (hello@theanou.com or local cell 06 73 75 31 63) and express their interest in joining Anou's community. To be considered for training, artisans must 1) be the one who makes the products that he or she sells or be an official member of an artisan association or cooperative, and 2) demonstrate a high level of motivation.
Do artisans pay to be trained on Anou?
No, Anou provides free trainings for all artisans.
Does the Anou store have listing fees?
Anou adds a 12% fee on each product sold through Anou. It costs artisans nothing to post their items on Anou's online store.
Where does that 12% go?
It covers all the costs of maintaining the site. All of our expenses are publicly available. Learn why, read our blog post on making Anou's expenses public..
Who selects the prices?
Artisans list their own prices and receive the full amount of their listed price. We provide a basic training on pricing.
Where do artisans ship?
Artisans ship everywhere! The prices listed on the site include shipping to the US and Canada. If you're outside these countries, just send us a message at hello@theanou.com and we'll provide you with a price that includes shipping to your country.
What about customs?
There are no customs on items sent to the United States and Australia. For customers in the UK, you will be required to pay VAT and a VAT handling fee to Parcel Post (Royal Mail). Other areas may be subject to customs. If you are concerned, just send us a message at hello@theanou.com and we can work out the specific details of your home country!
How long does it take for items to arrive?
Orders generally arrive within 3-5 weeks with standard shipping. Items can arrive earlier or later depending on your local postal service.
Is expedited shipping available?
Yes! All artisans can ship their items via DHL. It takes 4-6 days to arrive. Please contact us at hello@theanou.com for pricing.
What happens if my item is lost?
Very rarely is a package lost in the mail, but it has happened. If your order hasn't arrived in 60 days, please reach out to us at hello@theanou.com and we'll review the shipment and track it down. It is more than likely that your order is still on its way. If your item hasn't arrived after 90 days, we will provide you with a full refund.
Does Anou provide returns?
Yes! If there is a defect or problem, we'll cover the return shipping for you. If you no longer want the item for any reason, you're more than welcome to return it but we will not be able to cover the return shipping. If you're unhappy with your order e-mail us at hello@theanou.com and we'll try and work out a solution that works for you.
My Product Arrived! What should I do?
Yes! Post your product on our Facebook page.
Can I request a custom order?
Yes! Just submit a custom order request on any product page and we’ll take care of it from there.
Can I get a discount if I buy multiple items?
Yes! If you buy multiple items from the same artisans, we’ll pass the bundled shipping savings on to you. This can reduce the overall listed price of items between 9-50%. Just e-mail us the products you’re interested at hello@theanou.com and we’ll provide you with a updated prices.
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