Note: I was just contacted by a Novica Representative who informed me that the only reason my shipping cost as much as it did is because I live in Canada. For US destinations, the average shipping cost is $6, and is duty/tariff/import tax free. As well, there will be an adjustment of price for the items themselves. So my comments regarding the shipping costs are really only applicable for us Canucks.
It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I announce my first blog giveaway!
In August, I was contacted by the folks at Novica, an online shopping company that sells the wares of fair trade artists and artisans from around the world in association with National Geographic. Being a huge fan of N.G., I told them I’d be thrilled to do it, then promptly got around to NOT doing it until now. To Novica, my sincere apologies.
However, yesterday I finally got around to giving the site a good go-over, and made my selection of this gorgeous necklace.
But making a decision on this site wasn’t easy. In fact, the lucky person who wins the $50 Gift Certificate to Novica will have their hands full trying to decide which beautiful piece to import from abroad.
A rundown of the site: it’s pretty straightforward, with an Earthy colour scheme and easily-navigated menu. Since I was also shopping with a $50 gift certificate, I was able to select my budget from a bar on the left, so I only had to look at pieces within my price range. In addition to the menu on the left, there is a “Great Gifts Under” scrolldown along the top menu, making it even easier to stay in your comfort zone. I actually found that the easiest, since I had no clue what kind of treasure I wanted to buy.
Each piece is completely unique, and comes with a story about the artisan. For the shopper’s ease, if you liked a piece by a particular artist, you can follow the link to find that artist’s page, which features all of their works, regardless of category.
In terms of the prices, the site is surprisingly inexpensive. Those who know me well know that I am a little obsessed with teapots (I don’t know why, but a cute teapot will have me squealing louder than teenie boppers who run into the Biebs). Fear not, this site is teeming with teapots. Not only that, but gorgeous, handpainted or sculpted teapots. Take a look at this gorgeous coffee pot, which honestly costs a fraction more than what you’d pay at Sears.
The one downer about this site: the dreaded Shipping and Handling. For my $27.99 necklace, it cost me an additional $27 to ship from Thailand. So even with my gift certificate, I still owed another $5 for shipping. In addition to this, because I am shipping it from Thailand, customs may decide to slap me with additional import duties and tariffs. Unfortunately, Novica can’t tell you how much that’s going to cost, since each country varies, and duties are hit and miss. I’m hoping that if the government does decide to tax my necklace, it isn’t any more than $10, but you never know.
My boyfriend found the same thing. He wanted to give the site a whirl after I described my experience, and found a stunning Alpaca men’s sweater for $100, which he deemed to be a reasonable price. He decided to buy it, but just as he was checking out, discovered that it was going to cost another $30 to ship, plus potential duties and tariffs. As much as he liked the sweater, he couldn’t justify spending closer to $150 on it.
Verdict: Novica gives you the exciting opportunity to literally shop the globe from the comfort of your home. It has an unparalleled selection of stunning unique pieces, user-friendly features, and fascinating stories about the people behind the products. Novica has put some effort into suggesting some corporate friendly gifts, which would be a really special way of honouring treasured clients or employees. The shipping costs and unknown tariffs are a huge pain in the butt, but depending on the size of your order, could be worth it if it means avoiding the Mall to buy a gift (blegh! I hate malls!) Besides, it truly makes you feel like a one-person relic importer, which, in a way, you are.
So how do you win this $50 gift certificate, just in time to do a little Christmas shopping?
FIVE EASY WAYS TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY (Feel free to do as many as you like!):
1. Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
2. Tweet about the contest, please include @themoneyrabbit (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on my new fitness/health/travel blog, Rabbit on the Run (1 entry)
4. Follow my new twitter profile @RabbitRunnerTO, then TWEET at me to let me know (1 entry)
5. Leave a comment on my vlog on Youtube (1 entry)
The contest will be open until Wednesday, October 26th at Midnight. Winner will be selected at random.
Another Update I just went onto my Novica account, and it is insanely easy to track my package. Novica automatically links you to Fed/Ex, so I could see how much my package weighs, and it shows the dates and times of the shipping. This gave me huge peace of mind. So even though I was cranky about the shipping costs, this site is a well-oiled engine in terms of delivery, user friendliness and ease. WAY TO GO, NOVICA!