It sounds silly as a person who works online but I hate online shopping. Very few people I know have had a good experience – the shipping was delayed, the items were the wrong size or colour, or the delivery just didn’t turn up at all – so I’ve remained skeptical and not tried it, unless it was from a chain store where I was sure I would have no issues.
When NOVICA approached me about working together to promote their brand I was still a little hesitant but with the backing on National Geographic – a brand I know, use and trust – I decided that a girl has to take a chance every once in a while and in this instance it paid off.
Full of fun pieces which show off each persons beliefs, heritage or something about their country – think weaved pashminas from the Andes or Batik printed clothing from Indonesia – the artisans on NOVICA didn’t make it easy for me to choose which pieces I wanted to buy. Scrolling through pages of items I finally settled on two items which excited me: something pretty and something tea related.
The first items I bought were two twin beaded bracelets created by Tiraphan Hasub. Inspired by traditional Thai jewellery, Tiraphan puts a modern twist on her creations. I loved the contrast of the colours against each other, the coconut shell button and just how pretty they look against my skin – a perfect reminder that sun and summer is just around the corner.
The second item – and my favourite item in the store – was the Buddah and the Jade Elephant tea pot created by Putu Oka Mahendra who is based in Indonesia. It is said that when you see Buddha riding an elephant you will receive good luck and health… and in this instance, very good tea as well!
Despite my fears everything was delivered fast – it took three-days for the items to be shipped from both countries – and they were carefully wrapped and sealed to ensure there was no breakage.
One thing I didn’t take into consideration was that Thai women’s wrists are significantly smaller than my Australian wrist, so the bracelets are a little tight on me; but being made of leather they should loosen over the coming weeks. Aside from that I am very happy with my purchases!
NOVICA really places the emphasis on the artisans. On each items page you can read about the artist, where they are from and some of their story. Each item will also be accompanied with a small card explaining with some more information about the artist and the piece.
Instead of receiving a nameless piece I know share a little knowledge of who they are and why they created it, and without the knowledge I would have never known why Buddha was riding on an elephant.
To further support the artists affiliated with NOVICA they has partnered with Kiva to offer small loans to help improve the businesses, families and lives of the artisans.
Another feature is that you can ‘curate’ boards of your favourite items. This can be for yourself or to enter one of the competitions which are frequently held on the NOVICA site. If you need some inspiration check out some of these lists;
- Beautiful Pieces from Around the World (my curation)
- Unique Gifts for Women
- Unique Gifts for Men
- Cooking Gifts
- Photography Prints
You can’t always bring gifts home from overseas but with NOVICA you can find similar-styles or pieces that inspire the memory of travel.
Want a Chance to Win?
NOVICA was kind enough to give me $50 to spend in their store but also want you to share the experience so are giving an extra $50 to one lucky winner.
To enter just follow the prompts on the widget below, ‘Like’ Bitten by the Travel Bug on Facebook and leave a comment with which item you think you’d like to buy if you won the $50 gift voucher. The winner will be announced on Sunday through Twitter, Facebook and emailed.