DOuroPreto history in the
web is completelly linked to the PeopLink project.
Our comunitty is sprayed in the deeps of the rural area of Ouro Preto ,
and always had problems with comunication with the "external" world .
Since 70's , the only market we had was the fairs , all over Brasil.
Between fairs , no deals . Our customers cannot reach us ;
far ,unpaved hard roads and no phone.
The way our work is
produced , with all working in her own home , impose the need of a computer to
try to keep the caos organized , allowing physical control of the proccess ,
storage of information on sales to help planning , costs control , etc.
The natural choice
was a notebook , that can go door-to-door , as we needed
After some fights , the
system allow an organization level that increase the production highly.
good , but how about markets ? We've started to drop prices , to ensure
colocation of all
the production allowing keep the fractal growing rate of
the community intact.
Was a non-sense actitude say no to anyone that wants to
learn a hand-work ; the only way to the
community production grow
is adding , literally , hands.
But drop prices has a limit ,
and we was seeing problems in near future .
Suddenly , in 2002 , cell phone signal in the farm ... Very
weak , but better than nothing.
Lets buy a phone and an external
antenna. The guilt for this lines still remember the bright in the eyes of
for the little toy .Reading the manual someone say " this thing has internet capability !
was born. Let's buy a cable , we have a computer !
We learn that cell phones
connections was very slow
expensible and unstable , and that networks needs a completely different
and concepts , different of a machine working alone .
A new world , at first
view extremelly complicated.Much things to learn and very short available
Since our focus in the web was the external markets (Ouro Preto
receive visitors of all the world and the interest of
them in our work always is vivid , some of them
showing interests in re-sales ,etc) in our first try in a search engine we
"exportar artesanato" (exporting workmanship)
and find in the Brazilian Ministry of Industry web-site a link to Crafts Center
, were we was kindly redirect by Ms. Michelle Han to Mr. Salcedo , in
Dr. Salcedo show us a CatGen project . We
study the way they operate and , surprised , see that was exactly what we was
needing . Off-line work , simple to operate to people like us with no skills on
the web , specifically designed for artisans groups . Fly on the first
We , naturally , have problems . Cell
connections was very unstable and slow , speccialy with bad signal , expensive ,
and the files was growing . Here enter the CatGen Support Team , with his
After teach to
zero-starters all the proccess , they offer us a personal care , allowing us to
send our upgrades on the site in a ZIP format , with the crew taking the job of
So much thanks to Mr. Alexey , team leader !
This was done at night (low phone
rates) , when we go to a top of a mountain in the
farm to have better and stable cell phone signal .
put all in our truck , and using a car battery
charged during a day with a photovoltaic charger (heritage of our times with no
eletric lines too...)spend 2-3 hours sending our files ( later we discover the
Downloads Managers , that among with the team goodwill help us too much in this
(Notebook , car
battery , power inverter , 7160 cellphone , USB/Serial converter)
Meanwhile , in Ouro Preto , 35 Km away from
the farm , was instaled a public broadband provider ; this allow us work under
best conditions and give a holiday to the support. We start to save the
work in a USB flash drive and do the e-mail read and answer and the site update
in a public machine.
An evolution , but still
slow proccess ; we see a message in a day , respond 2 days before and see
the answer 2 days more.
And the visitation and sales growing ... What a
As a happy end (or a new
beggining ) we see a little provider of satellite conection borning in Rio de
Janeiro state , near.
After some contacts and calculations we see that
the site was deserving better resourses ; we was having many page-view/minute ,
contatcs and sales that , despite the slow proccess using cyber-coffees, was
allowing us to not only support the fractal growing of the community , but
research ways to speed up this.
We've had months with the site responding to 20% (!) of the
total sales .
More work for all , less pricing due to scale ; more
sales due to good prices ; inclusion of people even more far ,
core , turning economic agents people normally with few or none options ,
the rural women.
By now , we have sattelite 24hrs conection, cheaper
than we spend before montly with cellphone calls ; a good
By now , we offer Skype , messengers , and soon a IP
phone , freeing us from the cellphone high rates , as channels
between us and our customers ; we
have clients in USA, Germany, Portugal, UK and Spain , and we can talk to them
cheaper than calling the neighbour...
Please note that all the proccess not take more than 4
years , surprising us at each step.
We have now a fully
functional e-shop , allowing us , from the deeps of the rural area , reach our
customers on-line , real time , sometimes with people from the other side of the
Brave new world...
Our sincere thanks to all the people involved in the
proccess. Please be proud , all of you.
Thanks to your work , a more improbably enterprise that
could be access to the Web is selling his work worldwide , providing work and
keeping alive a tradition that was vanishing here , the manual embroidery. Keep
moving ! Do the same to more people !
And you , artisans
groups around the world , dream too ! Contact these guys , they are great
Crushing s for you all , from DOuroPreto Team !