ST. GEORGE – The adventure of travel and the chance to explore the hidden corners of foreign bazaars is the focus of one of Southern Utah’s newest business ventures.
The International Gypsy website offers visitors the chance to experience exotic destinations and bring home a souvenir, all without ever leaving home.
The travel blog and shopping site began earlier this summer, the brainchild of Utah friends Stephanie Lee Panos and Allison Navar.
“I’ve had this idea for a couple of years as far as traveling and selling what we find online,” Panos said. “When Alli and I booked, we decided to go to Morocco. We booked our tickets really far in advance and I brought up my idea to her and she was on board. It’s been rolling ever since.”
International Gypsy was founded on the bohemian idea of wandering the world and sharing the work of local artisans to fund an unconventional lifestyle. The site will post profiles and stories of local artists the duo meets along the way as they tour Marrakesh, Casablanca and Fes next month.
“We really want to share their story and make it more about human connection and introducing new cultures and new ways of life,” Panos said.
To keep the tour on track and limit the distraction of commerce, items will be offered for sale during brief “flash sales” open for orders on the site for about 24 hours at a time.
“The platform is that we will arrive in these new cities and the flash sale will be open while we’re in that city,” Panos explained. “Once we leave that city, the moment, the opportunity is off.”
Panos and Navar will serve as tour guides and explorers for those who visit the site.
“We want it to be about connecting all of the different cultures, meeting different people and seeing the way different people live, seeing the art and décor that comes out of these different places,” Panos said. “We want to be more fair-trade oriented, culturally oriented. We’re not trying to go get the cheapest stuff to sell to our friends. We’re trying to meet the artist behind it and find a way to bring that back through the internet.”
Household items, art pieces and traditional garb are just some of the potential offerings that will be available. The site will offer suggestions on how to integrate your purchase into your personal style.
Panos and Navar are also happy to pick up a local item for you if you have a special request for an item made in the country they are currently visiting.
They hope to make International Gypsy a well-known hashtag and plan to open the site in the future to stories from other travelers living by the same design.
“We want other people sharing their stories,” Panos said. “Eventually we want it to be a community connecting travelers with craftsmen and a whole network of awesome people doing awesome stuff and sharing it.”
International Gypsy will travel to Morocco Sept. 8-16. Curious stay-at-home travelers should check the site for flash sale times and travel diary entries.
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