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Connecting Village Handicraft Producers To Global Markets - OneNest.Com
[Adapted from Naeem Mohaiemen's article in the 28 Oct 99 Daily Star - see http://www.dailystarnews.com ]
OneNest.com is a New York-based Internet company selling artist- and artisan-made goods from around the world. OneNest's goal is to be the Internet's premier site for artist- and artisan-made goods-- including music, photography, video and other media, in a magazine-style format that informs, engages and entertains.
Two of OneNest's three founders are from Bangladesh - CEO Durreen Shahnaz, formerly an investment banker and then the youngest VP at Hearst Media, and chief technology officer Mushter Moin, most recently at IBM's flagship e-commerce site. The third co-founder is an American.
Durreen learned the importance of connecting artisans with the marketplace while working for Grameen Bank in rural Bangladesh. She was impressed by the gorgeous textiles that village women crafted so carefully, and by the high degree of skill and motivation of the women themselves.
Durreen learned that although the Grameen program addressed the women's credit needs, there was no system in place to stream their output to the Western market. She identified this as an oversight: "I really thought it was a long shot that these women who couldn't read or write were supposed to work out distribution for their product." So Durreen and partners developed OneNest to fill this gap, by linking artisans of the world directly to buyers.
OneNest is presently in talks with DRIK Bangladesh for multimedia, photography, and other products. It is hope that many more partners from Asia and around the world will follow.
Other prominent Internet startups led by South Asians include Hotmail, Junglee.com, Chaitime.com, EthnicGrocer.com, and Xing.