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Israeli Crafts Market Sells Ukrainian Wares, All Profits Returned To Artists 

The Nopo team partnered with Ukraine’s Gunia Project to bring attention to the artists' work at a critical time.

The war in Ukraine weighs heavily on the hearts of Shanny Harel and Kelly Roth, the Israeli businesswomen behind The Nopo (Nomad Popup), a 2-year-old online marketplace for handmade crafts from Morocco, Mexico and Colombia.

In response, they curated a collection of ceramics, scarves, jewelry, candles and embroidery from artisans participating in Ukraine’s Gunia Project.

All proceeds from sales of Gunia wares on The Nopo website go directly to the project, with zero fees taken out.

Gunia Project was created in 2017 by Ukrainian fashion industry executives Natasha Kamenska and Maria Gavryliuk to preserve Ukrainian identity and culture by selling the works of 30 master artisans.

This silk scarf, made by a Gunia Project artisan, was inspired by International Children’s Day. (The Nopo/Zenger)

The Nopo team “spent time learning about Ukraine’s rich history of craftsmanship and the impact of the war on artisans’ [livelihoods],” Harel said.

The team believed that partnering with Gunia Project would perfectly align with The Nopo’s “mission of bringing the world’s most exceptional artisans to the fore,” while supporting local artisans during this time of great uncertainty.

“We know many people have been looking for meaningful ways to get involved, and this is as direct as can be,” said Harel.

Kelly Roth (left) and Shanny Harel (right) of The Nopo, an online marketplace for handmade crafts. (Dan Bronfeld/Zenger)

Kamenska and Gavryliuk told The Nopo that for the first three weeks of the Russian invasion they were in a state of shock.

“On the first day, we paid all our team’s salaries, suspended our production and closed our showroom. We stayed in touch with our family and team but were forced to leave our hometown of Kyiv,” they said.

“We volunteered, helped raise funds for the army, helped our family and local defense with everything we could and distracted ourselves as much as possible from all the horrors going on around us.”

Handmade candles are available for purchase through Gunia Project. (The Nopo/Zenger)

After those first three weeks, they renewed their focus on Gunia Project, aiming to resume order fulfillment and accept new orders, though production is currently suspended.

In fact, The Nopo notes on its website that given the current situation, it cannot guarantee every product ordered will be delivered — and unfulfilled orders cannot be refunded. The money is still sent to Gunia Project.

“There is a military front, there is a volunteer front and there is an economic front. We know that our mission to tell the world about Ukraine is now only becoming more valuable,” Kamenska and Gavryliuk said.

“We want Gunia to be in every home within independent Ukraine and all over the world. The brand will bring joy, warmth and education about our rich culture. … Ukraine has always been famous for its craftsmen, and we are doing everything possible to keep it that way.”

Produced in association with ISRAEL21c.

Edited by Fern Siegel and Siân Speakman

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