[digital market place


While only just 33% of women participates the workforce in Turkey, a decent portion of the rest participates to the economy from their home by making traditional Turkish craft and selling them via personal connections or physical marketplaces (at festivals).

However, these women often sell their products only in psychical marketplaces; which became impossible with long lockdowns and social distancing measures during the pandemic. COVID-19 has not only exacerbated existing inequalities between women and men in almost all areas of life but also increased the house labour which make it even more difficult for women to participate to the economy by creating crafts at home. As a social designer, human-centered design approach was used to map the needs and areas of intervention to design an end-to-end process.

How Might We?

While the living rooms transformed into meetings rooms overnight as a response to lockdowns we have faced with A Beautiful Constraint.

That is when we asked ourselves the question: “How might we enable disadvantaged women and promote their's crafts to increase their livelihoods? As the answer for this question emerged "Online Kermes", a virtual live-marketplace for women to increase their visibility, showcase their crafts and reach to customers with a 10x mentality.

By designing an online market place, limitations of lockdowns, cancellations of crafts festivals and closures of physical market places have transformed into an opportunity for women who create contemporary crafts using their traditional skills at home.

Design Intervention

The concept of online market place is a direct product of listening stakeholders need by designing a persona map and crafter's journey map. The project team wanted to equip project participants with digital tools to increase their customer base; but this would be less effective as big-players were aggressive in digital marketing. The design team reached out to makers and listened their stories. The common theme of these producers were, local community markets; especially in a festival settings were the biggest sales opportunities that were vanished with the pandemic. Therefore, the design team emulated a kermes - local marketplace - in a virtual setting. The first prototype was tested in a local workshop and implemented for with the project team to enable 20 women to expand their customer base and their creative confidence.


Online Kermes shows the potential of online and inclusive marketplaces that empower local makers and women crafters that are not an active agent of economy but an actor of sustainable creative industry.

As online barriers are removed with the design of online live-market place, the visibility of each profile has increased their sales. While the short term increase in sales were quite impactful, the longer-term impact was in the qualitative analysis.

Women who participated Online Kermes stated that they felt capable and confident. Also, participants of this project became an inspiration and encouragement to other women crafters to use digital tools to become an active economic agent.

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