Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
With the likes of Fab and Made.com already bring their own unique spin to e-commerce and cool design, a new startup has emerged from London to help shoppers find new products based on where they are made, the material they’re made from and who made them.
Provenance is a free service featuring everything from scarves and sideboards, to gin and desert boots, and is designed to let users know more about where their products come from. You can click to browse products by location or category, follow your favourite creators, and even suggest new products. If you see something you like, you are transferred to the maker’s website to complete the sale. So this is isn’t a fully-fledged e-commerce business.
It’s certainly very reminiscent of Etsy, given that Provenance is setting out its stall to be a platform for makers who create their own profiles, add products, and connect with shoppers around the world. But co-founder Matthew Hussey says the one big difference is that with Etsy, you don’t always know who the actual creator is, even if you do know who the seller is.
“Provenance wants to keep the gap (between buyer and maker) as small as possible,” says Hussey. “So any product added to the site, whether it’s made by a big international company such as Burberry or a one-man-operation in Bognor Regis, it’s the place where the item is manufactured that gets logged. We found that to be a powerful way for people to connect with the things they buy, is by finding things made locally.”
Though Provenance is open to anyone anywhere, it is very UK-focused at present given that is where they are based. We’re told they plan to expand by “building informal networks of people overseas”, which they’ll call ‘Provenance Field Teams’, and they will assist in reeling in local makers to the broader network. “Our plan is also to work with brands with more complicated supply chains, to reveal the origins of the things they make,” says Hussey.
Provenance is live on the Web now.
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