I have had this NOVICA giftcode in my hands for over a week now, and I’ve been stalling on ordering something because I simply can NOT make up my mind. Each time I think, ok, that’s it, I am so going to go order that sugar bowl and get this giveaway posted… I head to the site to place my order and something else catches my eye. And now I can’t decide if it’s going to be a sugar bowl, or a wooden dragon carving (which is what hubby is rooting for), or a pair of amber earrings, or something else entirely. They have so many absolutely stunning things available on their website. Hundreds of amazing, unique, beautiful , handcrafted items. I have wasted many hours now browsing through their site, and each time I find something I didn’t notice before.
|‘Sweet Acatenango’ Wood Sugar Bowl|
I need to pick something and place my order, but I am worried I am missing out on that one perfect item, so I waste another 45 minutes flipping through page after page of amazing stuff. Some of it is simply out of my price range. No matter how lovely that $300 jewellery box is, I’m not going to be buying it any time soon. But a big part of the appeal of the site is that it is just so darn easy to browse. The new Gift Finder that NOVICA recently rolled out is brilliant stuff. You can browse for items under $100, under $50, under $30, gifts for her, gifts for him, good luck gifts (it is the year of the Dragon after all), anniversary gifts, etc. Or you can browse the gift section by category; bracelets, earrings, apparel, games, home decor, you name it. As I mentioned there is quite the selection. I love that you can sort everything by price, so I can save time by quickly eleminating the drool-worthy higher end items I know I am not going to be buying.
|‘Flying Dragon’ Wood Relief Panel|
Now here’s where I end up wandering off and getting lost in the site. Once you click on an item that catches your eye and you head to the item page, there is a short bio about the artist and a bunch of thumbnail pics showing you some of the other pieces they’ve made. Oh, shiny. There is also a list of thumbnail images with other “handcrafted treasures you might like”. The list is generated based on what you’re looking at, and thus tends to be a bunch more interesting looking items. Their search algorithm is spot on, which makes browsing the site fun (and potentially dangerous to my pocket book).
|‘Cutout’ Wood Mask|
Another thing that really struck me was the quality of the photos. The thumbnails are enticing. However, when you click on the item there is an option to view “larger picture”, and I was really impressed to find that it’s not merely a bigger version of the thumbnail picture. (Check out the item details page for these amber wine glasses to see what I’m talking about). There are multiple shots from different angles and close ups of detail work. It comes as close as possible to picking up the items and checking them out in person. Coupled with the artist bios, which provide a personal connection, it really feels like I am browsing through the biggest coolest artist market ever.
|‘Amber Sun’ Blown Glass Wine Glasses|
The one thing I don’t like about the site is that the low rate $2.99 and Free Shipping deals are for US only. Other then that I’m hooked. The hand-blown glass stuff blows me away, so does the handcarved wood, and the silver jewellery, not to mention the wrap bracelets and embroidered scarves. So many absolutely gorgeous items available, you have to go take a look for yourself.
|‘Summer Warmth’ Amber Dangle Earrings|
Which would you go for? Any guess as to what I ended up getting? I’ll let you folks know when it gets here.
Here’s a hint, it’s shipping from Bali. Which is going to cost me $14.95, for an estimated 2-4 weeks delivery time. Not bad. I could pay more ($21.95) for premium shipping, but I think I’m good with the normal time frame. When you choose “normal” shipping you also prepay the duty and import fees. There is no way to opt out of prepaying. It’s good in that you know right up front what you are going to be paying in total. It’s bad in that you are missing out on the chance that it might slip through customs without being tagged for duty. On the other hand, if you’re shipping it as a gift being able to prepay that duty is pretty brilliant, as you can rest assured that the gift recipient won’t end up owing anything. I should note that this option to prepay duty is based on where the item is shipping from. I played around with checking out with another item, because I was being so darn indecisive, and prepaying duty wasn’t an option for that country. Oh, and finally, I love that you can check out via PayPal! (Though they do offer regular credit card payments as well, I’m just a big fan of PayPal).
Disclosure: I received a credit to spend at NOVICA. As always, the opinions stated are my own and were not influenced by the free item received.