MIAMI, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- MyMela (www.mymela.com), just launched, is poised to become the leading interactive marketplace connecting global consumers with artisans from India who produce some of the world's finest crafts. MyMela is at the forefront of a new wave of social businesses, which use commercially viable models to address complex global challenges -- in this case, poverty among India's artisans.
MyMela showcases exquisite handcrafted artwork for sale online and works with field partners in India to promote fair trade practices. Consumers can offer micro loans, or "micro advances," to artisan groups. Purchases and loans made on the website allow artisans to preserve their art and livelihood. Twenty percent of the profits will be channeled to development initiatives focusing on health, education and the environment.
"My mission is to create a more scalable solution; to showcase the unique work of Indian artisans while supporting them with interest-free loans and community development projects, all in one ecosystem," says Founder Navroze Mehta, a successful entrepreneur.
"To move the needle on poverty, we need commercially viable solutions which treat underserved communities not as helpless victims, but as entrepreneurs fully capable of participating in local and global markets," adds Sonali Mehta-Rao, Co-Founder.
The word "mela" means "country fair" or "festival" in Hindi, and MyMela incorporates the best attributes of similar websites such as Kickstarter.com and Etsy.com in its model. The site has been a tremendous success -- benefitting such artists as Sanjay Prajapati, who practices the craft of blue pottery. "MyMela's orders have provided a livelihood for us," said Mr. Prajapati. "And the loan from MyMela has given me the working capital I need."
MyMela works with fair-trade partners to empower artisans through cost-efficient market access and promotion of healthy and fair workplaces. MyMela showcases distinctive handmade crafts for sale, while giving consumers the ability to offer "micro advances" to the creators. MyMela offers small, zero-interest loans to artisans, which allows them to increase production and expand their businesses to meet growing global demand generated, in part, by MyMela's online marketplace. MyMela pays back lenders in MyMela Credits equal to the loan amount plus a 10% bonus. Lenders can use their credits to shop or re-lend on MyMela.com. For more information please visit: www.mymela.com, www.facebook.com/MyMelaArts, and www.twitter.com/mymela.