About

Anou is a community of artisans working together to reshape Morocco's artisan economy so that it works for them rather than against them.

By purchasing direct from artisans through Anou you are supporting both an artisan's livelihood and their ability to shape the future of craft in Morocco.

Anou represents a fundamental shift in the fair-trade industry. Instead of asking how organizations or businesses can help, Anou asks 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 leaders to support the existing community from either Anou's HQ or out in artisan workshops. This ensures that the costs of Anou's non-profit operations are reinvested back into both the development of the artisan community and it's leaders.

  • 7. Supply Chain

  • A small portion of every sale is also set aside to invest in the research and development of the highest quality materials that are environmentally friendly and non toxic. These materials are then made exlusive to the Anou community. Learn more about our material work at Atlas Wool Supply Co.

  • 8. Systemic Change

  • As the community grows in size, influence and overall skill, artisans gain the capacity to organize and lobby for systemic change. Laws in Morocco are passed that stifle artisans and promote resellers and we're set on changing these.

  • 9. You

  • Everytime you order from Anou you contribute not only to income of an artisans, but you contribute the efforts of artisans across Morocco to reshape the Moroccan artisan economy so that it works for them rather than against them. With your support, Anou artisans can ensure the best days of artisans are ahead of them.

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.

Anou's Artisan Team

My experience as an Anou Leader 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 shape things for the better.

- Rabha Akkaoui
  Weaver, Anou Trainer

Artisan Team Mentors
  • Caitlin Stechschulte

  • Operations Mentor
    Developing artisan team capacity
    to manage Anou operations
  • caitlin@theanou.com
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 20% fee on each product sold through Anou. It costs artisans nothing to post their items on Anou's online store.
Where does that 20% go?
It covers all the costs of maintaining the site and covering the salaries of all Anou's artisan leaders. We'll soon be making all our expenses publically available again. Learn why by reading 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. Anou provides a basic training and advises on price but we have no power to set the price for artisans.
Where do you ship?
We ship everywhere! Just select the country in the dropdown menu on any product page and the pricing will automatically update.
What about customs?
There are no customs or duties on items sent to the United States. For all other countries, duties are often negligible. However, VAT may be applicable at your country's VAT rates though it isn't consistently collected. If you are concerned or unsure of the status of VAT in your country, just send us a message at hello@theanou.com and we will share what we know. Unfortunately the policy of many countries may change frequently and is often inconsistently applied if at all. As such we cannot be responsible for any VAT or duty related charges.
How long does it take for items to arrive?
Orders shipped express usually take 7-14 days,but can take longer as we continue to improve our internal shipping systems and partnership with DHL. All items are stored at Anou's HQ and when you purchase your order, Anou's artisan team inspects the shipment and then prepares shipping labels and Moroccan customs information before we hand it over to DHL or the local post.
Is expedited shipping available?
Yes! All artisans can ship their items via DHL. It takes 5-12 days to arrive but can take longer. If a product shows that the price includes standard shipping, you can upgrade to express during the check out process.
What happens if my item is lost?
No items shipped express have ever been lost. Very rarely is shipment sent standard lost, 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. No
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 or post it to Instagram and tag us using @the.anou.
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.
What is your privacy policy?
Anou has no access to any payment data on any order. All payments are handled by Stripe or Paypal. The only data we keep is the shipping address and phone number for each product sold. The shipping address and phone number are exclusively used to help deliver your shipment and the information is never used in any other way. We will only contact you via the provided email for shipping updates or any issues related to your order.
Partners and Supporters